Control Is Fear Of Losing - Grasshopper
If you haven’t exhibited controlling behavior, you’re probably not human. We all do it, but to what end?
“I’m losing control” is a statement of fear - fear of losing something precious to you. Control is what we attempt to use to keep what we want in place.
What I’ve observed personally and professionally is that the person using controlling behavior is the person who senses he/she’s at risk of losing something.
Controlling is transparently apparent in parenting, but it’s a bit more subtle is relationships. Take the controlling partner. They may not seem overtly controlling until you start paying attention. There are understated clues - hand gestures, touch, eyebrow raises, etc.
Reminds me of a story . . . Back in the 80s, there was a self-appointed pastor who, along with his wife, was accused of non-criminal neglect charges. He refused to allow treatment for his 4-year old daughter for a head cut and hip problem. The state took custody and admitted the child for treatment. The pastor and his wife were granted visitation rights by the Department of Children and their Families at the hospital on a monitored basis. He violated that order on a number of occasions and caused disruption at the hospital. There was a court case scheduled.
I had occasion to interview both he and his wife on my radio show before the matter went to court. When I questioned him, he went off on non-stop breathless rants. I can’t remember exactly what he said but it was very similar to the shouting match he had at the preliminary hearing with the judge. Here’s just a portion of it: “It is God you have violated. I will always disobey the state when the state says disobey God.” “You should read your Bible.” “You’re in trouble for blaspheming the Lord.” “I will not abide by any court order that violates the order of God.”
I could sense that his wife did not have the same passion on this issue as he did, as she sat there quietly as he bellowed on. When I asked her a question, he began to answer. I interrupted him and said that it was her child as well and I would like to hear her answer. When I redirected the question to her, he put his hand on her forearm as she was about to speak - a textbook controlling gesture. I called him on it. She went on to say nothing of substance and I knew if I badgered her, I would be as guilty of abuse as I thought he was.
He had to be in control of everything because he was about to lose everything. His wife finally left him and filed for divorce. I hear he’s remarried and still doing his pastoring somewhere in Mississippi.
This isn’t about the substance of their court case, which could cause endless debate. It’s about attempting to control someone you fear you are about to lose. It’s more than, “follow my rules.” Underneath that dictate is the fear of losing.
It’s not about control at all; it’s about fear - the fear of losing.
If you use an abundance of controlling behavior, you are in fear of losing. It’s worth your attention to notice that fear and feel it fully. It’s natural not to want to feel fear, but allowing yourself to feel it, metabolizes fear and allows it to pass. Attempting to control fear keeps it in place. Controlling others is a game we play so we don’t have to feel fear, and it gives us a false sense of winning.
I wonder if the pastor ever read Job 3:25. “What I feared has come upon me. And what I dread befalls me.”
Unmetabolized fear will control us and cause us to attempt to control others. Controlling another is a fairy tale - one that doesn’t have a happy ending.
All the best,
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