Trap 8: Changing you


This continues a new series of posts excerpted from Monkeytraps in Everyday Life: A Guide for Control Addicts (in press).  It’s about psychological monkeytraps: what they are, how they work, and how recovering control addicts can learn to notice when they’ve trapped themselves by trying to control what cannot or should not be controlled. Read the introduction to the series here.



Trap 8: Changing you


Step 1: I experience discomfort

I am unable to accept you as you are.


Step 2: I misread the discomfort.

“This person needs to change.”


Step 3: I try to control the discomfort.

I try to get you to change.


Step 4: My attempt fails.

You resent and resist my attempt to change you.


Step 5: I misread the failure.

“You don’t love or respect or care about me enough to meet my expectations.” 


Step 6: I experience discomfort.

I am unable to accept you as you are.


Footnote: Acceptance & control

Any time we let the actions of another person control our emotions to the point that we are offended, angry, etc. we have given them the power to disturb our peace. What we are really saying is, “Your behavior has the power to upset me. Therefore, my happiness is dependent upon you behaving a certain way. Unless you act like I want you to, I am not happy, therefore I am always at your mercy.” Anytime our own happiness is left in the hands of another person, no matter how great we get along with that person, it is never a good idea. There will always be a time when they don’t act exactly according to our own agenda and therefore it is almost assured that we will get upset by them at some point.

~ From “Conscious relationships: Accepting others as they are” on the blog Fractal Enlightenment



Trap 9: Character


Monkeytraps: Why Everybody Tries to Control Everything and How We Can Stop
is available here.

Monkeytraps: Why Everybody Tries to Control Everything and How We Can Stop by [Steve Hauptman]


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