Sunday, April 03, 2005

Controlling Behavior

Posted by Hannah at 4:04 PM

This article is about controlling behavior, and a person that needs to be in control. The tone of the article is more sarcasm than serious. I don't think the author literally wants to 'control' you. I think it is part of his points. Controlling behavior is one of the main characteristics of domestic violence or domestic abuse.



Public Enemy Number One

Kurt R. Howland


Welcome! I hope you've found yourself a comfortable spot to read this little paper on controlling behavior. If not please do so.... go on I've got all the time in the world. Good and comfortable? I hope so, because after reading this you may not be feeling so comfortable. Now myself! I’m very comfortable, but I’m the one that’s writing. I’m the one who’s in control. That’s right I’m the guy that’s going to be telling you what’s right, and how you should be thinking. How do you like that? Well, I guess it really doesn't matter does it? I mean, you can’t do anything about it, this paper is already written, it’s finished, you don’t have anything to say about it. You see I’M IN CONTROL, and you’re helpless to change it.

Now you could stop reading, but that wouldn't change anything. You’re curious now, you need to see what this is all about. Boy! I love being in control. The power, the feeling of being better, almost God like. Do you know what I mean? But of course you do! You've felt it before, at work, with your kids, maybe your spouse. I know you've controlled someone during your lifetime. Yep, someone's felt helpless under your rule, just like you’re helpless now.

Hey! Let’s talk about that. How does it feel to be under control and not in control? Inferior isn't it, maybe a little hopeless to. How about oppressing? Whatever it is you're feeling, I bet it’s not good. So as you've probably guessed by now, what we’re going to talk about in this paper, is why we do it, how we do it, and how to stop using controlling behavior. So let’s begin. (Oh! And that’s just a suggestion not an order.)


Where Does The Need Come From.

There are many reasons and sources for this behavior, but generally it starts very early in life, and comes about from the way we are raised. Everyone is in control of us. Now for the most part, this is for our own good. The problem lies in the way it is explained to us in our childhood, and if we really understand that the authority figures in our lives are acting out of love and caring. Another problem here is that these figures many times aren't acting out of love and caring, but are just finishing the cycle that they have been taught to complete. Many times the child gets answers like, “because I said so” or “just do what you're told” and “who pays the bills around here anyway” and of course “don’t you talk back to me.”

Now what my source of truth for this paper says about this, is this, Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, provoke not your children [to anger], lest they be discouraged.” Children and adults need answers that encourage not discourage them. We crave explanations, our curious nature needs to know.

Our next lesson comes from the school “Bully“, now everyone has run into one of these characters. They seem to have already graduated from the ”College of Controlling Behavior”, and they’re only nine years old. Anyway... you know how it goes, give me your lunch money or else!!! In retrospect we can laugh at those kind of experiences, but the feeling of helplessness never goes away. Many of us vow never to let that happen to us again. Never to be out of control as long as you live. (Let me give you a little advice here, ”Forgive” it works miracles.) The point is this, before we even get out of grade school we are being bombarded with signals that lead us to think controlling behavior is normal behavior. Hey, maybe it is! It does seem that without God’s intervention in the matter, we all take that turn to some degree. Without that wisdom from above we all seem to get lost in the ways of the world. But I digress, so let’s move on.

We know by now that we want to be in control. So we grow up, and go to work. What a let we've got some sniveling little wet behind the ears, fresh out of college assistant manager breathing down our back. (“God, just shoot me now and get it over with.”) Ya get the picture, and it doesn't get any better. The more we move ahead, the further we get behind. There’s always someone in front of us, someone cracking the whip, steering the cart, in other words controlling us.

So what do we do as the intelligent adults that we are. Easy, we take it out on the ones we love!!! I bet you wish you hadn't started reading this, Huh! Can’t stop, Ha, Ha, Ha, I love it. We can be so stupid sometimes, that to be in control we will inflict the same type of control that we hate, upon our family. Whatever it takes to ease our discomfort, that is what we will do. Now many times we will try to get to the top of the heap in our job, and be the controlling force there, but even if we do, there are usually casualties on the home front anyway. And once controlling behavior has infiltrated the home it’s very hard to let go of. Even when one feels remorse for using control on a loved one, It’s still hard to quit because most of the time we feel there is more discomfort and pain, by not being in control.

I want to give you something to think about right now. It is the base, the ground floor to resolving this problem. Ephesians 5:21 “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” We are going to talk more about this, but for now just think about the equality that this scripture is telling us about.

Another reason for controlling behavior can be a lack of an authority figure in our life, or the loss of one. This type of situation can bring out the need to become a strong “In control” kind of person. Let’s face it if you have two or three kids, and you’re the only one they can depend on, you take control. Later when someone else enters into a relationship with you, you may not want to give up control as easily as your new partner may want you to. There’s a safe feeling being in control. You think about what might happen if this partner leaves, or dies, or whatever. So you fight it, you try to stay in control never quite submitting yourself to one another.


How Do We Control, and Who Does The Controlling

I may make a few enemies in what is to follow, but I wasn't mister popularity to begin with, so here we go. The way we control ranges from the very subtle to blatant outbursts of physical violence. Here are some of the ways we control, but in no way is this list complete. We come up with new ones all the time.



Control normally starts at emotional and verbal levels. It also follows a pattern of escalation. As this pattern or cycle progresses, the one who is doing the controlling... No, the equality of the battle for control, changes.

You see at it’s base or in the beginning, the battle for control is quite equal, and either sex has just as good a chance at coming out the winner. My reasoning here is that women can be just as emotionally and verbally, controlling and abusive as men. In fact many times they are much better at it than us. As men we don’t want to think so, but I’m sorry guy’s, it’s true, women ain’t stupid.

Now taking this into consideration we must also realize that this area of controlling behavior can be just as much the woman's impropriety as the mans. This statement is not to place blame on either party, but to let it be known the Sin that both are capable of.

Remember we mentioned a winner earlier, well that’s another problem with control. Unlike equality, with control there always has to be a winner. This is why we see the cycle of escalation in controlling behavior. If the man can’t gain control through emotional or verbal means, he will move on to the next playing field. This may be economic control, or intimidation, whatever it is, you can bet the odds will be stacked a little more in his favor. Along with this move we generally see anger increase.

Please make a mental note here not to get the two confused. Controlling behavior and anger can very easily be mistaken for each other. Many times people will become so good at concealing their controlling behavior that we just think they’re angry. When they’re really mad because they feel they are not manipulating you enough, or losing control of you. It can become a very fine line, and sometimes almost impossible to discern between the two.

As I was saying when the move from emotional and verbal control is made the equality of the battle moves into the males court. It’s not hard to understand, and there’s no complicated formula. The fact is the male of the species is generally bigger, stronger, and more aggressive. Another fact about the male is he usually doesn't play fair. If he did he wouldn't move out of a playing field where everything is fair and equal to where he is physically superior.

This escalation of the battle for control will continue all the way to physical violence if the female or weaker subject resists. This is why what our society calls domestic violence is so hard to get a handle on. We really don’t know what the statistics are because much of the abuse (which most of the time is controlling behavior) never gets to the physical stage. There are many more abusive relationships, that stay at the emotional and verbal stages and never get reported. Even the ones that go on to isolation and intimidation are rarely reported to anyone for intervention.

This can be the worse kind of control, and the worse kind of abuse. It’s kind of a limbo, a life of living under threats, name calling, blaming, ridicule, mind games, jealousy, sarcasm, isolation, and whatever else one partner can think of to keep the other under control. This is where we also see the most equality in the battle for control. You may have seen it in a neighbor, or a relative. You know, one week your mother-in-law isn't talking to your father-in-law. The next week it’s the other way around. The following month they’re threatening to leave each other. At their anniversary party they manage to publicly humiliate each other in front of all their friends and family. All of this over control, and because with control, you must have a winner.

At this stage both parties need to look at why they are doing what they are doing. Again this is not to blame anyone, but to get both parties to understand how they should be treating each other. The truth is this, Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” And 1 Corinthians 7:3 “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.” Here we see equality in a relationship, this is the way we are to treat one another.

When we go beyond and do physical harm, we get to the areas of control where the weaker partner doesn't have a chance. Here we are crossing a boundary that God has defined. When this happens the male has over stepped his bounds and needs to be held accountable for this trespass. Again the truth is, Ephesians 5:28 “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.”

At this point there is no blaming the female partner, because no matter what she did, or said, it does not give you the right to use physical violence on any human being. In fact you have a responsibility given by God to deal with these kinds of situations. You as the head of the household are to use your God given wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to show your family how they are to act, and how they are to communicate in a Godly manner. The truth states it like this;

Ephesians 5:22-33, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband. “

As you can see you are to treat your wife with the same love that Jesus gave the church. Even as far as he did in giving his life for us, you should be ready to do the same for your wife and partner. You are the teacher not the jailer. Here we see more of the equality that I told you to think about before. Submitting to one another with love, kindness, and caring. When we submit like this we put ourselves at a very equal, but vulnerable position. But if all parties can do this, you wind up with a very open relationship that follows Gods will.

If we adopt this doctrine, we are able to hear our partners opinion without becoming angry because it doesn't agree with ours. Verbal control turns into family discussions. Discussions that allow all parties to express their feelings, and let out their frustrations about a certain subject. The escalation of control stops because no one is looking to be the winner. The violence stops also when the male understands it is an ungodly type of behavior, and the cowards way out. The male, at this point will search out knowledge of how to handle different situations, so he is able to teach his family. Here again is an area where all parties involved in the relationship are responsible for their behavior. Why? Because we are operating at an emotional and verbal level where all those involved are equally capable.


How Do You Stop Controlling Behavior

Well it’s not easy! But it can be done if you really want to change, and learn a new way of behaving. As we went over before most of us have been learning about controlling behavior for a long time. Our society has been basically telling us that it is normal behavior. The big American message has been be strong, get what you want, be in control. The biggest problem here is the source of this information. It’s coming from the secular world, but we know that the truth is, 1 Corinthians 1:25 “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” That’s right we can screw things up pretty good when we try to do it on our own.

To make the change takes a strong commitment to become better. What most of us don’t understand also is that it is a long term commitment. You don’t change years and years of habit overnight. And once you have changed your behavior to more what God has intended it to be, you have to maintain it. Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

Wisdom and understanding are two of the most important things in life. You need to get out of the secular way of thinking that learning stops when you get out of school. It should be just beginning, and it should never stop. Face facts, the things around you don’t stop changing, and things don’t get easier. Technology changes, people change, attitudes change, the whole world changes. If you don’t keep up, if you don’t have an understanding of things and people around you, you become frustrated and angry.

How do you cope with all this? By understanding there is one thing that never changes, and that is the truth. If something is true it’s always true. It may not be popular, but it’s still true. So we need a source of truth that we can go to. A source that we can study, and become expert in. A source that throughout our entire life we can depend on to solve, and guide us through the trials we may face during our lifetime. Here is that source, John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

As a person using controlling behavior it may be very hard to surrender control to Jesus, but believe me from personal experience, it’s much easier than surrendering to the police when you find you have over stepped your boundaries. And that’s the next thing I would like to talk about, so on with the show.

You need to understand that everything has a starting point. You also need to understand that the starting point of Domestic Violence and Physical Abuse is Controlling Behavior. We have such a large problem in the world today because most people don’t understand that simple little fact, or they just don’t want to admit it. What is happening is this, controlling behavior is being ignored in our society today. Only when it reaches the physical stage is the problem being dealt with. The sad part about that is, much of the time it’s to late. Not only to late to resurrect the relationship, but many times to late to save a life. It’s a serious problem that is destroying our families, and that we are afraid to look at. We seem to find it easier to deny the real root of our problems today. We are all looking for answers in new Pop - Psychology, and from men with great theories. Remember what I said, the truth is always the truth. Well, the truth is we want to do it on our own, we want to be in control. We can’t believe that it could be so simple, that God could have had it figured out all this time. We just can’t fathom that he could have done it without us. Well he did, and he had it all written down for us in a nice neat little book. All we have to do is surrender to it, give up control for once, and trust in him to know what is best for us. Because again the truth tells us, Romans 7:18-20, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” (NIV) No matter how hard we try we can’t do it on our own.


So Much To Say, So Little Time

I never thought of it this way, but I guess a good rule of thumb might be this. If you can’t stay, and play on the field of equality, you are most likely overstepping your bounds and probably disrespecting the rights of another human being.

You men out there reading this, listen up!!! You have the God given authority to be the head of your wife, and the head of the household. With this comes a great responsibility. Because of this you need to know how to fulfill your obligation to this position in a Godly manner. When you don’t do this, you give up the authority that God has given you. The consequences that come from this, are your own. It is not your wife's fault, it is not your girlfriends fault, it is not your child's fault, it is not your bosses fault, and it is not Gods fault. It is your fault!!! WAKE UP!!!

Before I go let’s take a quick look at some differences in behavior and relationships.


Jealousy, Mind games, Put downs, Withhold money, Denying work freedom,

Limiting friends, Limiting travel, Making all decisions


Trust, Honesty, Understands feelings, Sharing finances, Freedom to work,

Respects partners needs, Shared responsibility

Deny no longer the things that are true, for they will always be true, your denial will only ensure the sealing of your fate. Matthew 10:33 “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

Well, my time is up, and I must relinquish control, I just hope you can do the same. God Bless!


It was a bit of different style of writing, and felt it had some good points on controlling behavior. What did you think?

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