Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Me? A Controller?

I doubt that anyone thought of me as a controller—at least no one ever used that term to my face. But I was and learned ways of controlling without appearing to do so.

The first time I became aware of that reality was when I met with a group of professionals in the publishing business. We held a variety of jobs, but all of us were involved with that industry.

We met in a restaurant, where we sat at tables and got to know each other, and later we heard the organizer’s message. Within minutes, I realized the other seven people at my table were hesitant to speak up, so I took charge by introducing myself and then asked each of them to do the same. After that I threw out questions and kept the discussion moving.

At one point, a couple of them opened up about personal problems connected with their jobs. After a pause, I made a humorous comment and moved on to asking why they came to the meeting.

Afterward, I realized I had taken charge of the group, not that it was wrong, and someone needed to do it. But I also realized I had manipulated the conversation to keep it on safe subjects—in that case, away from personal problems.

Over the next few weeks I was able to admit that at times I manipulated others and dominated the decision-making process. It was still a long time before I had the insight into my motivation.

Eventually, I faced the reality: I needed to be in control—not that I used that word. I would have said, “I needed to feel safe.” As a child I had been helpless and powerless and I had that deep, unconscious need not to be dominated by others.

I still struggle to manipulate the outcome. The more secure I am inside, the less I need to dominate.

As I grow more secure,
I manipulate others less.


Mark said...

Yes! A 100 times, Yes!

Jesus said...

Hi Cecil, Is 1000 times yes. As I reach more mature senior years I start to think what damage or fear that I have emotional abused my wife. I did ask her recently and she told me do not worry, you haven't. But feel she does not want to talk about it. All the years in my survival of abuse and marriage, have wanted to take control and win my argument, creating uneasy feelings inside, e.g. angry. I know this came from my lack of security in my infant days with my family situation as my mother was mentally ill and an older brother who had to take care of the family while my father was serving in the Army. I think goes back 3-5 years old and my older brother had to grow up quick (18 months older) and I suffered a lot of bullying. After the WW2 there was a lot of control around, fathers returning damaged from the war and children only spoke when asked, etc. With my feelings of lonesomeness e.g. no parent input, brotherly love and the sexual abuse I carried, plus the emotional abuse from mother and brother, I think then I arrested. As I was needy and the first human touch was from a lodger that we had to sleep with and argued with my older brother turn it was to sleep with the abuser. I held onto that feeling or misplaced pleasure. I know as a Christian that God gave us the ability to feel whatever the circumstances but not knowing the consequences as an infant of the abuse would have on me. I still have those have misplaced dreams in the night, especially as my own relationship as been struggling. I find it hard to explain them here but it is as though one changes place - I am the woman and the person beside me is the woman. I have tried to tell this to my wife but cannot find the words and therefore am going to buy your book Cecil - How partners can help husbands of abuse, etc. I think most of my awareness, has come from searching my own "self" and realise that I had to find out why, where, when, how etc to cope otherwise I would have created havoc in my family that not only affect my wife but my two children also. I do not even today can say that I am no longer a - "slumdog", i.e. came from not an eminent background but as my father was damaged from the war and drank a lot - I do not drink and have a Father in Heaven. I pray The Lord, made a room for my parents, I think they did their best under their difficult circumstances.

Cecil Murphey said...

Thanks, Mark, for your comment. And Jesus, thank you for opening yourself to us. I'm sure many men feel many of the things you've felt. Keep going forward--it's worth it.


Jesus said...

Hi Cec, Thanks for acknowledging my post, it is always a feel-safe day when we have such a outlet to talk over our - not quite healed yet - journey. Moving on....Bless J(Anthony)

Roger Mann said...

I am a terrible controller. I am desperately trying to change that but I must know six ways to sunday on how to get my way or ruin it for others if I don't. God help me.

Zale Dowlen said...

I'm not a controller! And don't be using the fact that I have a law degree to try to prove otherwise! My reasons for being driven/called to law lie elsewhere, are entirely selfless and altruistic and have nothing to do with a need to control! :)

Mark said...

Haha Zale! Your comment brought a needed smile.