Who’s Controlling You?

As you can probably tell, I’ve been interested in the topic of power and control in relationships.  I just finished Carol Rogne’s book, Who’s Controlling You? Who Are You Controlling?  I’ve typed up 22 pages of gleanings you can find here.

I am personally using Carol’s ideas as a springboard to examine the dynamics in my own relationships.  She’s very thorough, and whether you’re on the controlling end or the being controlled end, you are sure to find something interesting here.

Here are a couple things of hers that you might like:

Pg 274:  I learn that [in relationship] surrender and being humble is more important than being strong.

Pg 275:  the competitive paradigm [often found in the world of work] has certain requirements:

1)      We must be the best, the person who has the most knowledge, the right answers, and is skilled in problem-solving.

2)      We must listen for the most important points to assess the problem and fix it.  Paychecks depend on this skill.

3)      Expressing feelings is a sign of weakness and unwelcome in the work setting.  Self-control is important.

4)      Admitting mistakes and ignorance shows weakness.

Opposite skills are required in personal relationships where affiliation and cooperation are necessary.

1)      Listening to conversations respectfully, providing solutions only when invited to do so.

2)      Functioning as a team with a partner who is viewed and treated as having equal power.

3)      Sharing personal thoughts and feelings.  Realizing that one does not have to be always right.

4)      Solving problems together.

5)      Admitting mistakes and making amends.

6)      Affirming others.

Pg 287:  The basics of being assertive:

  • Communicate in a neutral, middle power position rather than a superior, one-up, aggressive position, or an inferior, one down, passive position.
  • Start sentences with “I” rather than “You,” to avoid blaming statements.
  • Be honest, respectful and kind.
  • Speak in normal voice tones.
  • Listen as well as speak.
  • Being assertive also means affirming others.  Thank your partner for listening and for her/his time.

Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship:

  • The power structure is reasonably equal.  We can feel when our relationship is out of balance.  A good relationship is often 60-60, because partners enjoy going the extra mile for the other.
  • There are minimal controlling or enabling behaviors.
  • There is emotional intimacy, which is not smothering, caretaking, or merging with another.
  • There is mutual sharing and concern for the other.
  • Each person’s true identity is respected and treasured.
  • Communication involves speaking clearly as well as listening intently.
  • There are equal benefits for both partners.
  • Trust, support, and affirmations are provided to the other partner.
  • Partners are available to each other when experiencing individual difficulties.
  • Partners work together as a team, take time for each other, and have fun together.
  • Personal boundaries are respected.
  • Participants share on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level.
  • There is an understanding that we cannot expect more than we are willing to give in relationships.
  • There is mutual appreciation.

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