Couples do this all the time. They feel out of control – frustrated, hurt, angry, unimportant – and so act out in a way to try to control each other. This is the essence of what is often called co-dependence. It goes to what I call locus of control. When I try to meet an internal need through controlling external factors, I will inevitably fail. The only thing I can really control is myself – my thoughts, feelings and behavior. I can control how I view the world. I can control how I view myself. I can choose what I want my life to mean. What I cannot control is you – what you do, say, believe, or how you feel about me.
In trying to control anything other than myself, I put distance between myself and others and this is often an unconscious dynamic between couples who have a fear of intimacy. They believe they want to be intimate, but they are afraid for a myriad of reasons, most of which are rooted in childhood, when they had no control and felt powerless.
Power and control help to maintain distance and prevent intimacy. Next time you have an argument with someone, take a moment to explore how you are putting distance between yourself and that person. What are you trying to control? Ask yourself if that is really what you want, or do you want to be more intimate and close?
Do you want to be Connected?