Posts Tagged PsychCentral
If you’ve ever been in a controlling relationship, you know how easy it is to get caught in its web. It usually starts out with a simple suggestion like, “Do you think that outfit is the best you can do for the banquet tonight?” or “I think you’re better off ordering the salad,” or “You should get a real job and stop all that nonsense about making it as an artist.”
At first, you take their suggestions as a reflection of their love and concern for you. After all, their comments are not that far off base, and you certainly don’t want to appear unappreciative or defensive. At this stage of the relationship, you want to please your mate, not alienate him or her. It’s more important to appear receptive and understanding of your partner’s opinions than to challenge them.
Some time goes by. You now notice that your significant other’s opinions of you continue to be critical. Only now, there is an emotional undertone that suggests if you don’t abide by his opinion, he will be angry, punitive and emotionally manipulative.
The scariest times come when you believe the threats of rejection and abandonment.
The cycle has repeated itself in such a way that somehow, you’ve become sucked in and are believing the rhetoric. Or, at the very least, you’ve been trying to manage the critical outbursts. You’re now so consumed with keeping your partner’s emotional judgments at bay that you have trouble considering if his demands have crossed over into an abusive and inappropriate arena. Your judgment is clouded.1
You continue to ask yourself, Is it me or him? You feel anxious around him, believing that somehow you can make things right again; you want to feel the love you did when the two of you first got together. Deep down, your biggest fear is that his opinions of you are right … that there really is something wrong with you, and you just may not be lovable the way you are.
The bad news? You are now caught in the web. The good news? There is a way out. It is so important to understand what control is really all about. Let me show you the way.
Why Do People Want to Control Others?
- Their own sense of helplessness and powerlessness
- Getting someone else (like you) to make them feel okay
- Wanting to hand-off their own anxieties so they don’t have to deal with them themselves
- Ensuring that you will never abandon or reject them
- Projecting their deepest fears of being inadequate and unlovable
A person’s controlling behaviors are virtually never about you.
Take Control Back
Here are five steps to getting out from under a person’s control:
1. Get your power back.
The quickest way to do this is to be willing to walk away from the relationship if need be. This enables you to move forward with the next steps from a place of power, not a place of fear.
2. Set limits on his criticism and emotional outbursts.
Let your partner know that you are open to hearing his concerns about your actions and how they impact him, but will no longer engage in conversations that attack who you are as a person.
3. Consider your partner’s concerns.
What are you willing to do for him? What is completely off the table? Make sure you align these requests with your personal well-being and integrity. Don’t agree to do things simply in order to keep the peace or save the relationship, especially if deep down you know it isn’t right for you.
4. Be clear and honest with yourself first, then your partner.
Consider your values, goals and needs. Make sure your decisions are in alignment with your highest self, needs and all. Let him know what you can and can’t do for him. Whatever you do, do not be intimidated. Have a powerful “no” and make it clear that he will need to accept the “no.” If he can’t, then it may be best for the two of you to part ways.
5. Find people and experiences that celebrate who you are.
Find ways to reconnect with the powerful person you truly are, i.e. someone that would never tolerate being treated in such a manner. Engage and connect with other people that support and love you for exactly who you are.
At the end of the day, only you can decide if his controlling behavior is something you are willing to live with or not. Relationships should be something that supports your growth, not something that diminishes it. Love celebrates who you are; it does not put you down. You deserve to have a powerful and loving relationship. So start with yourself. Love yourself enough to take the first step in reclaiming you.
Most couples deal with issues of control; it is a common tension that arises from time to time. However, if you and a loved one are struggling with how to deal with control issues constructively, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here to help. I want you to have the best possible outcome when it comes to strengthening your relationships.
Joseph Burgo, one of our bloggers here at Psych Central, has recently inaugurated a new series of videos about psychodynamic psychotherapy, aimed at people who may be considering treatment and don’t know quite what to expect from this particular type of therapy.
His first video deals with the intake or initial consultation, focusing on the anxieties felt by both client and therapist as they embark upon a new relationship with a total stranger. His next video will focus on the types of issues that come up during the first few sessions; in future, he plans to cover other issues such as: the emergence of the transference, vacation breaks, the role of humor, therapist errors, etc.
These videos will appear on his YouTube channel and Dr. Burgo will announce each new one via his Therapy Case Notes blog. Even if you’re already familiar with psychodynamic psychotherapy, his thoughts about first sessions apply to all types of treatment and may be of interest:
- The Geezer’s Dirty Dozen on Interpersonal Psychotherapy (jajsamos.wordpress.com)
- Psychotherapy to Treat Erectile Dysfunction (everydayhealth.com)
- Finding a Good Psychotherapist (my.psychologytoday.com)
Learning Works Best When You Rest
By JANICE WOOD Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 25, 2012
A new study shows that sleeping soon after learning new material is best for recall.
Notre Dame psychologist Jessica Payne and colleagues studied 207 students who habitually slept for at least six hours each night. Participants were randomly assigned to study declarative, semantically related or unrelated word pairs at 9 a.m. or 9 p.m., and returned for testing 30 minutes, 12 hours or 24 hours later.
Declarative memory refers to the ability to consciously remember facts and events. It can be broken down into memory for events — known as episodic memory — and semantic memory, which is memory for facts about the world.
People routinely use both types of memory every day, such as recalling where we parked or learning how a colleague prefers to be addressed, Payne said.
At the 12-hour retest, memory was superior following a night of sleep compared to a day of wakefulness, she said.
However, this performance difference was a result of a pronounced deterioration in memory for unrelated word pairs, she said, noting there was no difference for related word pairs. At the 24-hour retest, with all subjects having received both a full night of sleep and a full day of wakefulness, memories were superior when sleep occurred shortly after learning, rather than following a full day of wakefulness.
“Our study confirms that sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory,” she said. “What’s novel about this study is that we tried to shine light on sleep’s influence on both types of declarative memory by studying semantically unrelated and related word pairs.”
“Since we found that sleeping soon after learning benefited both types of memory, this means that it would be a good thing to rehearse any information you need to remember just prior to going to bed,” she continued. “In some sense, you may be ‘telling’ the sleeping brain what to consolidate.”
Titled “Memory for Semantically Related and Unrelated Declarative Information: The Benefit of Sleep, the Cost of Wake,” the study was published March 22 in PLOS One.
Source: University of Notre Dame
A Warm-Weather Mindfulness Activity
By SUMMER BERETSKY
Happy Autumn! The leaves are beginning to change colors and there’s a cozy chill in the air that invites jackets and light scarves. Isn’t it nice?
But did you stop for a second to look at the calendar? You know, just to make sure that May through September didn’t blindly pass you by?
You can’t find seasons at the Lost and Found
It’s true: you can miss an entire season if you’re not paying attention. Have you ever taken a shower (yes, I hope, but let me continue…) in which you’re completely blind to the fact that you’re even taking a shower until the second you shut off the tap?
This is what happens when we let our minds hang in the past or scurry to the future. We forget where we are, what we’re doing, and what the present moment holds for us.
I like showers. They’re warm and refreshing. But, sometimes, I miss them. And by “miss”, I mean this: an entire ten minutes of showertime passes until I realize that I’ve just completed a shower. I missed all the warmth. I missed all the refreshment.
You know what else I really like?
Summer. (That’d be summertime, thank you. See my name at the top of this post? Yeah. Just wanted to clear that up. My own self-esteem is nauseatingly mediocre, but that’s another day and another blog post.)
I love the warm weather. I love the flowers and the trees. I love the vacations and the camping and even the sticky air (sometimes).
I don’t want it to fly by without realizing it! Do you feel the same way? If so, this week’s video is for you:
This video is based on Christy Matta’s “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year? A Seasonal Mindfulness” post from her PsychCentral blog, Dialectical Behavior Therapy Exposed. Her latest book, The Stress Response, is available on Amazon.