I had an epiphany today about these words: “You are out of control.”
What is often meant by that phrase is that we are acting in a way that is not okay—too aggressive, too wild, too selfish, and so forth.
However, the deeper meaning is: “You’re not in my control—and I don’t like it.”
Being out of control is dangerous to a society based on order and civilized behavior. But, it’s also dangerous within a relationship that is based on one or both partners conforming to each other’s expectations.
An abusive relationship is marked by one partner trying to control the other partner. I would argue that some form of control exists in most relationships. This is why the concept of unconditional love is extremely difficult to achieve.
We can’t have unconditional love when our “love” requires our partner to act a certain way in order for us to be happy.
Control, especially when subtle, can be extremely difficult to spot. And, if you dare to point out someone trying to subtly control you—be it a lover, husband/wife, sibling, or parent—you may be hit with a variation of the following response: you’re being too sensitive.
Permitting these seemingly innocuous words to stand uncontested in your relationships is far more pernicious than I can possibly convey.
You see, much of life is becoming accustomed to a baseline of behavior, which becomes the norm. And once we buy into the baseline of “you’re too sensitive,” “you’re selfish,” or “you’re out of control,” and so forth, it can be extremely difficult to reverse the tide of controlling behavior without severing, destroying, or transforming the relationship.
(Of course, the latter takes a ton of work, most likely in the form of therapy. Because it will require one partner/person to change their whole view of you, as well as how they relate to you. And most people can’t or are just unwilling to do that.)
And once a baseline of control is set, and you allow your partner/parent/sibling/friend to exercise control—notice I used the word “allow,” because it can’t happen without your permission—the other party is most certainly going to keep doing it. And when “love” is involved, it will most likely only get worse, as they will naturally desire more control.
So, what can we do?
>> Be sensitive.
>> Be on guard for subtle forms of control.
>> Be bold.
>> Be out of control.
And if your partner doesn’t like it…don’t conform. Leave.
By the way, this goes for everyone—not just women. Men are often controlled in their relationships, as well. And this goes for all relationships, not just the romantic ones.
Author: Alex Obed
Image: Unsplash/Ayo Ogunseinde
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy Editor: Travis May