Is your husband showing a strong need for control?
Here is a little discussed aspect of a passive aggressive relationship: when one person has a strong need for control another person, doing controlling behavior, and the other resists and escapes doing passive aggression.
What is the dynamics involved? This is an egg and chicken dilemma, because is difficult to separate the hiding from control, from the need to steep up control to avoid evasions...
If you are the person wishing to control an evasive passive aggressive partner, it is best to review the basics and find a way to escape this trap.
Perhaps you simply have been raised believing you need to control all aspects of life for those around you? Then this person is a good candidate for you, because he will be more evasive and less straightforward than others...his reticence and long silences will work as incentives for you to imagine new ways of controlling him. Beyond training him to get better at resisting you, this position is not a good one for you.
There are many negative effects that come with being the domineering party, or having a compulsive need to fix everyone’s problems, and they can have a severe effect on your life in general.
So what is the need to be in control really about? In addition, what are its negative effects? And how can you help yourself to give up the need to be in control and live in a more relaxed way?
You could need to control if any of the following applies to you:
- You compulsively go to someone’s rescue, regardless of whether they ask for your help or not, just because you believe it is the way the task or situation should be dealt with.
- You strongly believe that things have to be perfect or just right for people; otherwise, they cannot possibly be happy in life, and you are responsible for their happiness.
- You strongly believe that you know what is best for others and try your best to make them see things your way.
- You cannot help but give advice to others or offer your help to them.
- You have a strong need to feel wanted or needed which leads to you becoming overly involved in the business of others.
The most common negative effects that compulsive domineering behaviour such as this can have is that you develop relationships where people become overly dependent on you, but more mature people don't want to be with you. If those you have helped don’t show enough recognition for what you have done for them, you can end up very angry and resentful! and you are seen as a very controlling husband!
And you end up neglecting your own needs in favor of dealing with others around you. So, how can you terminate your need to be in control?
- Have the belief that others have the ability to fix their own problems;
- Don’t get hooked on needing recognition from others;
- Accept that the only person you should control is yourself;
- Realize that people can change themselves if they should want to;
- Only offer help to those who clearly ask for it.
I agree with Linda, this is an excellent piece you have written.
It is so easy to focus on my husband’s behavior but really, where I need to be looking is at myself. Your tips on relinquishing control are priceless.
I can see that your ideas can extend even beyond the marriage relationship. They can help in navigating through many different kinds of relationships: friends, children, co-workers…
Good work, Neil. That may be the best piece you have written. Controllers want to be the victim as much as passive aggressives. We all have to own our part of the drama and learn how we lay the foundation for the dysfunction and perpetuate the very situations we complain about.
I have abandoned all strategies aimed at getting what I want from my husband. My coping method focuses on clearly expressing what feel and need. If he does something that feels unacceptable or inconsistent with his stated goals, I say that he is confusing me by sending mixed messages. I give concrete examples of recent things said and done and ask for clarification without making any demands.
He is an acknowledged passive aggressive and says that this helps him to understand my frustration and analyze his own motives for the behavior. He has also become more willing to speak up when he is feeling controlled. We are both learning to be responsible for ourselves and to quit blaming the other for our disappointment.