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Types of Controlling People

Reading Time: 12 minutes

Are you a controlling person? Are you sure? I would reckon that you try to control more people than you realize. I didn’t think I was a controlling person until my son graduated from high school and moved out. He would be doing many really dumb and odd things that most young men do when they have their first full taste of freedom. It was also a huge wakeup call on how controlling I was. We all at one time or another are trying to control a situation, especially when that situation involves our kids.

So why do we feel the need to control people in the first place? I also want to talk about why controlling other people brings you more suffering and pain than it could ever do in the way of good. Yes even controlling people out of love, does the very opposite of what we intend for it to do.

With today’s times and the Wuhan flu, it is easy to feel as if we are losing so much control over so much of our day-to-day life. Everything is changing and often on a daily basis and we are powerless to control any of it. This lack of control causes anxiety and resentment. That is because the majority of us are very change-resistant.  

Why do we try to control other people so much?

Let’s get the big question out of the way first, and that question is why. Why do we try to control people who are the closest to us? There are several reasons why we control people.

Before I dive into that, I want to say this. This isn’t about young kids. There is a huge difference between a 12-year-old and a 5-year-old. When we are dealing with young kids, we as parents have to parent our children. We have a more hands-on approach to keeping the kids safe from day to day harms and dangers that are out in the world. While kids from the age of 12 years and up is when we are dads transition from lording parent to mentor. Our Job description changes, we are dealing with humans that know they have a free will and can make decisions. I say this to mark a defined line of demarcation when I am talking about kids

Now there are three reasons as why we try to control other people. These reasons are insecurity, the feeling of power, and to impose our will over people.

Insecurity

We are all at one time or another insecure about something. This could be from as trivial as what the neighbors think of us, to something as major as feeling though our life is a ship without a tiller. We all need to feel as though we have some control over something in our lives. Though many times the items we need and have control over we either relegate it to others or we just flat out ignore it. Like our food intake, How many light lunches are you having in a day?

When we are feeling insecure, we try to find ways to control other people. Those people are often the closest to us. That is because we know how to push their buttons and we may have a higher level of influence. It is easy to try to get a person to do something and it allows us the pleasure of feeling like we have a hold of something. Yet that something may be a log that isn’t connected to anything. Yet that influence will only go so far and I will talk about that a little later in the article.

To Feel powerful

This can apply to feeling insecure but crank it up a few notches. When we are feeling as though we are a victim or we are suffering from a major bout of scarcity mindset we want more than just security we want to know we have the power over somebody. What will make you feel the most powerful? When you can make a person do something, they don’t really care to do.

How many times have you had a huff and puff match with your son when he doesn’t want to mow the lawn? I have several. Sometimes my will would win out and he would go out and do just the bare minimum of mowing. Then there were times that his will won out and I was out there mowing.

Photo by Binyamin Mellish from Pexels

Many of these arguments were from the wrong mindset. Yeah, when my son was younger, I was the king and my influence was great enough to get him to clean his room or Wash the dishes. Yet as he grew up and became a young man, my influence on him waned and he had other people who, in my opinions were inferior to my thoughts of who my son was to become. Talk about having a power crisis on your hands. I was in one and I did as many kings did when their power and rule were threatened. I became a tyrant. If you want to cut as many possible bonds to help your son navigate the dangers of life, become a tyrant.

There are a lot in insecurities I was battling with during that time and I made every possible mistake you could make when raising my son, yet thankfully, I was able to successfully dislodge my head from my ass and correct the problem before I ran my son off completely. I did learn that power corrupts. Not only yourself but the essential connections you need with your son.

To impose our will

This is the most common reason we try to control people. We want to impose our will on other people. We see people doing something that we find wrong, we call them out. Now I’m not talking societally wrong but what we think is wrong in our opinion. You find out that your son is going to a pasture party. You forbid him from going. Why, because you went to your fair share of pasture parties when you were his age. You know what happens there you know there will be drinking maybe some pot is being passed around. Then there is the very likely possibility of Junior finding a girl who wouldn’t mind going behind some sagebrush. Yet you know the danger that all this holds from Getting busted by the law to hearing a phone call from some girl’s dad saying that you will be a grandpa.

What does all this danger hold? Well in all truthfulness, it holds nothing for you. You are worried about your son’s future. Then you are also worried about what the neighbors will think. Perhaps there is some talk if you are in a small town about your son being a pistol. You worry or have fear as to what other people will think of you. Therefore, you impose your will on your son. He is not going out tonight. You have arguments. There is yelling and stomping around with the occasional door being slammed. You want to control your son, all because you do not want him to do something particular.

Types of Control

There are several different types of control that can raise up. Many are based on different emotions. Emotions are created by a thought so what causes the emotion can vary but the emotion that the control comes from is very evident.

Fear

The number one emotion that causes trouble in people’s lives, makes a return visit in. Fear is often why we try to control people. We are afraid that our opinion of our son’s life is going to be messed up. Not that his life will be messed up but we fear that he is going to mess up his life.

That fear is all based on an opinion. He gets a girl pregnant his life is going to be put on hold right. No! His life will keep on going he will make whatever choice he wants to make, and that thought that his life is going to be on hold is an opinion.  You are not living your son’s life. Even when he is living in your house, he is a fully autonomous human being. That human who shares half of your genes has his own free will. He has his own thoughts and often they don’t align with your thoughts. You have to learn to be OK with that.

Therefore, because you are afraid as to what your son is going to do to his future you try to control his actions. You don’t want him to go out drinking. You don’t want him to be hooked on drugs, we know what the ramifications are, so does your son. The difference is that his will is to go to the party

The fear based control can also be shown in other parts of your life. They can show up as abuse. Now when there is abuse in relationships society likes to show the man abusing and controlling the woman. Yes, that happens often but it also happens the other way around. There are plenty of women who abuse men by controlling them. Often abuse is done out of fear but also out of Jealousy and anger. Yet if you distill the root emotion that is created by thought it is normally fear that morphs into jealousy and anger.

There are different types of controllers that fall under the emotion, fear. These same types of controlling people can also fall under other emotions. So as all humans, nothing is set in stone.

Mind Reader

These people assume almost everything. They take meaning into the slightest action. We all know the old saying of when you assume you make an ASS out of U and ME, and they take this at every single instance they can. These people will often make vivid stories in their heads. So that the only way you can prove them wrong is by cutting ties to people and places. When you are doing, what they want you to do then they are OK. Yet when you exercise, you own will that is when they start trying turning on the control.

Our brains will help with the controlling aspect by saying that they are acting out of love. Yet that isn’t the case they are controlling you or you are controlling others out of fear of being left alone. They will do anything to protect what is theirs by doing everything they can to control those they “care about”

Victim

This person is one who is always finding themselves in a bind. They use their story to see if they can produce pity and wrangle power from those around them. The victim is prevalent these days evident with the #metoo movement, and the rise of socialism, even Social Justice Warriors. They all run under the moniker of being a victim. Social Justice Warriors claim to be standing up for victims but they use the very same tactics as the victims themselves.

 All of those people who line up to tell their stories of how they were victimized by somebody who has more power than them. They may have been a victim of a crime or some traumatic event but they glom onto the whole identity of being that victim out of being able to gain control. If you start to question why they are always in some sort of trouble they become defensive and attack you. This attack is to make you feel bad for even questioning their victimhood. Some people even try to use their victimhood as a means to gain fame but that is always short-lived because people become tired of feeling bad for the victim. Therefore, those being controlled often just cut all ties leaving the victim alone.

The People Pleaser

Well, well, well…

The people pleaser is making an appearance on this list because they too want to control people. They want to control what people think of them. If the target of this controlling person isn’t in their favor then they do all they can to make sure that they are liked. They play the folly of thinking that they can control a person’s emotions. They want to manage what is thought about them. They attempt to do superman feats to make sure the boss likes them and if the boss likes someone else the people pleaser has been known to try to sabotage that relationship so that they can be in the limelight.

Physical violence Abuser

This is one of the worst types of control freaks around. That is because they use brute force to control a person. They use fear as a weapon to make sure other people under their control are managed. Many dictators around the world use this tactic on a daily basis. North Korea is one example. While Russia is another example of using the power of the state to make outspoken homosexuals disappear. Wife beaters are yet another example of people who use physical violence to control how others act.

Photo by NEOSiAM 2020 from Pexels

These people often use multiple control methods. From isolating the people, they control from friends and family. They use the interrogator to confuse and humiliate. They will even dip as low as blackmailing to ensure they have a leash on their subjects.

These people not only operate in a theater of fear. Their thoughts are often of what if they lose this person, but they also use fear as a weapon. If you don’t do as I say you will feel pain. Pain is an incredible motivator. Sadly though to use it as a weapon to try to remove another person’s will is reprehensible.

Interrogator

This person is often the one who makes you justify your very actions. Maybe you have done this with your son when he did something you don’t find favorable. You barrage him with questions and when he answers, you twist and belittle him with your superior knowledge and expertise. People who use emotional abuse as a means of control also do this. They will just keep at it until the subject is worn down and gives up. These people need to feel as if they are the smartest in the room and are intimidated when someone other than them comes up with a good idea.

Jealousy

Jealousy is an emotion and it is a fear-based emotion. Yet this fear often causes specific problems. People do many drastic acts when they are jealous of what another person has. Yet this is the fear that they will often lose something. So, in other words, you will commonly see people who are jealous have a scarcity mindset. They fear that they will lose their subject.

Maybe your son displays a jealous streak when he sees his girlfriend talking to another guy. Now at our age, we can see that being afraid of losing a girlfriend to another guy is actually not a bad thing. If you can’t trust your girlfriend to not sleep with every guy then that is not a good girlfriend to have. Yet your son may actually realize that but fears that he will never have another girlfriend.

This emotion is the basis of the abuser, the assumer, and the interrogator. They all often have a fear that they are going to lose the subject of their control. The sad point is they will lose that person. That is because you can’t control a person, at least not for very long.

Isolator

This person works very hard to make sure the person they are controlling cuts all ties. This means not only family, friends, and coworkers, but also hobbies. The isolator can get so bad that they control who comes and goes into their house. They often do this when the person they are controlling is starting to realize that they will never be able to fully show the controlling person they can be trusted.

The isolator works out of jealousy. They can’t have the subject having anybody else in their life. It is about them and only them.

Physical violence

As I mentioned before jealous people can often resort to physical aggression if they feel that they are losing control of their subject.

Assumer

People will often resort to assuming the worse and start using this form of control if they see that someone is not acting or saying something they find agreeable

Interrogator

People also resort to the interrogator if their subject starts to show acts of having a will. They will question the subject until they are worn down and stop whatever action the interrogator doesn’t like.

Anger

This emotion often is one of the extreme emotions but is associated with physical aggression.

Physical Violence

They are often in a fit of rage when they start abusing. They lose all control of themselves and lash out at the person they are trying to control

Blackmailer

These people will use a tool to keep a person under their control. Often it is an embarrassing fact. Revenge porn is perpetrated by a blackmailer. They will put out this embarrassing detail in hopes of regaining control of a person. Yet Victims also will use the tool of blackmail when they believe that they can control someone that they feel has wronged them. This tool often will backfire on a person because a blackmailer believes that having this person under their control will bring happiness. Yet often they find out that it doesn’t and they fall into their old routine of being a victim.

Love?

Odd to hear that love could be a reason for controlling a person yet people fall to this reason for the wrong reasons. The biggest example is below the Guilt tripper. However, let me do a little explaining here. Love doesn’t cause people to try to control others.

What controlling people want is for love to be expressed to them. They have the notion of love all wrong. It isn’t that you can get love from another person. Love, as with all emotions, can only be felt by you. Therefore, it is futile for people to try to receive love from others.

Controlling others is the biggest killer of the feeling of love. People are in our lives for us to love. That is all. Simple as that. I can no more make a person love me if they don’t want to than I can run up Mount Everest. It simply can’t be done. Yet If I want to love a person, they can’t make me stop. I can love them all the time and they have no power to change that. That is because I am the only one who feels that love.

Now you can have actions that show your love to another person but that isn’t the same as the feeling of love. That is simply an act. That can actually be interpreted in many different ways because actions are neutral until a through is applied to it. You can give flowers to show your love but then your wife could get mad because she may think that you did something wrong.

Guilt tripper

We have all used this means of control for our kids. Many adults do it to their children still when the kids are grown and have kids of their own. Nevertheless, this is still a manipulation tactic that is designed to control. Now they may perform acts that are to get you to feel guilty. They may say something out of hope that you will feel guilty. Then again, they may give you the silent treatment. This is also designed to make you feel sorry for whatever you have done. I have had this used on me a few times by the wife when we were younger.

This tactic is to make you feel insecure and produce a feeling of guilt. Hoping that you will emotionally prostrate yourself before them is often the point of this maneuver. If they can get you to feel bad for no reason at all then good, they feel as if they have some sort of power.

Now controlling others is not a good act as you can see from these examples. Controlling other people rips lines of communication and feelings of connection instead of building those essential lines. We may tell ourselves all sorts of stories as to why we are trying to control our sons and wives but if you are honest with yourself, you can see where you are going wrong.

If you see or feel that you are not getting the result you are looking for you can always find help from other folks. It takes work and dedication with lots in internet reflection to get out of that controlling manner and even then, you will find yourself trying to control others.

You will also find others trying to control you. Remember that being controlled by others is a choice. You can choose to follow their control suggestions or you can choose to not. Now failing to allow yourself to be controlled by another person may cause you to lose them as a friend or set boundaries and then stick to them.

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About Bryan Goodwin

I like being able to help people find their "why" and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.

1 Comment

  1. This is a very well written and thought out post. Thank you for sharing it Bryan.

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