Thursday Thought — Which Kind of Controller Is He?
Almost everyone gets a little controlling sometimes. We all can get caught up in wanting things done in a particular way: here’s how to fold a towel, here’s when to shift the gears. We want to say, “What are you doing? Here, do it like this.”
So when does controlling behavior become a problem? There are people whose control is a bad habit (“annoying controllers”) and people whose control is a style they are committed to (“coercive controllers” or “bullies”). How do you know which category your partner fits into?
The key difference is that the annoying controller doesn’t retaliate against you when you tell him to stop controlling you. The coercive controller, on the other hand, is angry when you resist his control, acts entitled about it, and gets you back for standing up to him. And if you continue to refuse to give in, he gets nastier and nastier about it, saying that your resistance shows all kinds of things that are wrong with you.
Some of the most common ways in which a coercive controller retaliates include:
- Putting you down for not wanting to do it his way (e.g. “That’s ridiculous, that’s stupid, you don’t know what you’re doing” and so forth)
- Being cold, distant, and irritable after you resist his control
- Blaming you later (“Well, if you’d done what I told you to do, this wouldn’t have happened.”)
- Turning mean or scary because you won’t do what he tells you to do
In short: If you ask yourself, “I wonder whether I should just give in, because I know he’s going to make my day h*** for me if I don’t,” then you are involved with a coercive controller.
[excerpt from Lundy Bancroft’s book, Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That? * pp 118-9]
***IMPORTANT NOTE: While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the ‘healing retreats’ Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his ‘Peak Living Network.’ See our post, ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network for more about our concerns.
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