{} Control & relationships

Excerpts from (and links to) our most popular posts about control and relationships.
 
Most controlling behavior is covert — hidden or disguised.  Why? The reason is obvious.  Nobody likes a controller.  So nobody wants to be seen as “controlling.”
As a result most controlling behavior is buried beneath a careful attempt to control other people’s reactions to the controller’s attempts to control stuff.
Got that?  Maybe examples will help.
~ From Silent Farting, Stuff/Stuff/Blow, and other forms of covert controlling that visited my office so far this month
*
Steve, explain what a monkeyship is.
It’s any relationship that becomes dysfunctional because both partners are struggling for control.
And the theory behind it?
Simply that most (maybe all) relationship problems are monkeyship problems, since at one time or another all relationships turn, well, monkeyish.
~ From Monkeyships.
*
All these examples (and the variations are infinite) illustrate what I call the Second Paradox of Control:
The more you try to control somebody, the more you force them to control you back.
This is the interpersonal version of the First Paradox of Control, which we explained here several weeks ago:
The more control you need, the less control you have.
~ From Monkeyships, Part 2: The more you try to control somebody
*
I think you can have communication, or you can seek control. But you can’t do both at the same time.  And I think that, to the extent any party to a conversation seeks to control it, healthy communication becomes impossible.  Which makes healthy communication pretty rare.
What’s “healthy” communication?
The sort that permits people to give up control — to risk being honest, vulnerable, spontaneous, authentic — without fear of the consequences.
Not easy.
Not easy at all.  And it can be terrifying.
~ From Monkeyships, Part 3: Can we talk?  No, damn it
*
So the narcissistic partner says “Me first,” and the codependent replies, “Yes, dear.”
And the two personality types end up together with remarkable regularity. (Remember Archie and Edith Bunker?)
Watching such couples interact, one is struck by their weird predictability. In almost every situation the narcissist finds a way to say “Me first,” and the codependent finds a way to reply “Yes, dear.” It’s as if they sat down and signed a contract at the start of the relationship.
~ From Monkeyships, Part 4: Me first. / Yes, dear.
*
Narcissism is like trying to drive a car that has a mirror instead of a windshield.  You look out over the dashboard and you see, not streets and traffic and sidewalks and pedestrians, but only your own preferences, feelings and needs.  You’re so preoccupied with those things that you’re don’t see where you’re going, or who you’re running over to get there.
That’s why it’s so painful to be in relationship with a narcissist, either the covert type (like Sally) or the overt type (like Tim). Because both types will run right over you and not even notice the bump.
~ From Scratch a codependent, find a narcissist 

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