The “Need” to Control Others – Part 1 of 5

The “Need” to Control Others

We all have a “need” to control others.

Everybody does it.
Some more than others.

Sometimes it’s healthy.
Sometimes it’s not.

We can do it consciously.
Other times, we are unaware that we are controlling others.

It’s possible to be highly aware of why we are controlling others.
For many of us, we’ve never considered the internal animating feelings and emotions that cause us to be controlling.

Control is like a “teeter totter”.  For those of you younger than forty, it was a playground device where two people sit on either end of long board with a fulcrum in the middle.  One goes up, the other goes down. It was a bummer when the one on the down side would jump off suddenly.  With the counter balance removed, the person on the up side would come crashing to the ground.  Perhaps spinal chord compressions were why it was outlawed.

To be overly controlling is toxic and too little control of others is toxic as well.
The goal is to grow toward a place of balance just like the teeter totter.  Up and down, over and over, a rhythmic alternation of pushing and yielding.

What is control?  Control: 1. the power to direct or regulate 2. the ability to use effectively, 3. the ability to restrain or show restraint (Webster).

Why do we control others?  Because the behavior of others (or the lack thereof) causes us to become agitated, insecure or fearful inside and we seek to modify their behavior to make ourselves feel more comfortable.

Generally (not always) the need to control is directly proportional to our internal security.  The more insecure and fearful we are inside, the more controlling of others we become.  In contrast, the more we’re internally secure, the less controlling we are of others.

A close companion to this is the ability to tolerate difference.  The more secure we are the more we can tolerate differences in others.  If we’re less secure, we want high levels of conformity to our ways, thoughts, ideas, plans and feelings.

Over the next five weeks we will look at each of the attachment styles and discover how each of them is controlling in their own unique way and how to grow and become healthier.

Thanks and blessings,


Milan & Kay

Next week:“How and why Avoiders control others.”