In many places I have written about the harm that comes from controlling people, both for the controller and for those being controlled. One day I was talking to Alex about some ways he could respond to his wife when she attempted to control him because this pattern of behavior was ruining their marriage.
Finally he said, “So it’s my job to stop her controlling. So I can quit being a doormat.”
“Not quite,” I said. “You can point out when she’s controlling you, but primarily that is so she can begin to see it and make more loving choices. Your goal is not to stop being a doormat, although that is certainly a positive side effect. Your first goal is always to be more loving yourself, and second, to help her see her unloving behaviors—for HER benefit.”
If our goal is to stop people from controlling us, we’ll end up controlling them and defending ourselves, which doesn’t contribute to loving. Loving is always the goal, first for ourselves, and second to assist others in that effort.
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