How to Distinguish Between Caring in a Relationship and Unhealthy Control?

You must have met people who always know “the right way” and like to control everything. But what is actually hidden behind the desire to dominate, and how can such behavior be dangerous for a relationship?

There is nothing wrong with the wish to have power. Another thing is when it comes to the neurotic desire to control everything. This condition usually arises from feelings of anxiety, hatred, and even feelings of inadequacy. Simply put, a healthy drive for power comes from strength, courage, and responsibility, while a neurotic drive comes from weakness.

From anxiety to wanting to take responsibility into your own hands

What kind of a man do you dream of seeing next to? It is not difficult to assume that he is brave, strong, successful and ready to take responsibility. And what kind of a woman do men dream of seeing? Men are no exception. They also want to see a mature, strong and fulfilled personality next to them. Such a partner is of great interest. You want to call and write such a woman as soon you have a free minute. You want to spend an evening together rather than come up with excuses.

Yet nothing lasts forever. At some point, the partner’s interest may fade away. He has already memorized all your monologues and claims, he predicts your behavior in typical situations – in fact, he has read you like a book, and more than once. His gaze is increasingly at the phone. At best, he is looking for news there.

Of course, you can feel these changes. You can feel frustration, resentment, and misunderstanding. When in panic and trying to “save” the relationship, you turn on the “total control” function automatically.

Care VS control

Consider the situation of some John, who is tired of being controlled by his wife. The young man was fond of writing texts and attended a creative workshop. Seminars and lectures were held in the evenings and on weekends.

Ten minutes after the end of the class, his phone would ring. Usually, the corners of his lips would raise from a smile and slowly slid down. Then he replied: “Hello.” Almost in a businesslike tone, he reported: “The class is over. I’m leaving for home.” The classmates mentally admired the relationships in his family because it is great when you are loved and welcome at home. However, they were surprised by the lack of joy in John’s eyes when he answered the phone.

Once the lesson dragged on, and John was noticeably nervous. That evening his phone was muted, but the “controller” apparently was calling him. The man did not want to answer the calls, and it was obvious that he was angry. The classmates’ idea about warm and trusting relationships in his family shattered like a porcelain vase. He was closely controlled, like a child who must constantly ask for permission to leave and report on the situation.

This story is not uncommon. As a child, our character was always controlled by his mother. At the first opportunity, he moved out, and now they hardly communicate. The future wife seemed to him the complete opposite of his mother, and at first, they were happy. But after the birth of the children, everything changed, and she began to command. The man is angry and wants to run away, the family is on the verge of divorce.

Why do we want to control everything?

Each kind of behavior has its own root cause. Both women and men love to dominate in relationships. In a stressful situation, in a state of anxiety, because of the fear of losing the spouse or the attention of the loved one, total control seems to be the only way to save an elusive relationship. That is what our character’s life was. He failed to notice the fear and anxiety behind his wife’s overprotection. Realizing this, he drew the appropriate conclusions and was able to change the situation.

Of course, there are other circumstances. The military leader’s regime is turned on due to the provocations from the other half. Some people see constant monitoring as a manifestation of love and care.

But you don’t have to play these games if you don’t want to. A person who has an active life position knows how to correctly delineate boundaries, openly contacts and speaks about their preferences and needs will not become a victim of the dominant partner and will not control others. A healthy relationship cannot be built on control and the desire to manage your partner.