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Why People Feel the Need to Control Others

Updated on September 21, 2016
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K.D. Martel is a writer, published author and artist working from her studio in the province of Québec, Canada.

Control in Relationships, Why?

What is it about people, men or women that makes them need to control others? Control comes in many forms, from outright domination, violence, oppression to subtle forms like the way one may speak to another, or manipulate people through means that prey on people insecurities. Examples that come to mind are cult leaders, dictators, governments, religious leaders and yes, even advertising!

Both the controller and the person being controlled have issues. The controlling personality often has problems with trust. Having probably been abused, hurt, lied to, or anything else relating to these situations. By controlling the environment and essentially that of the person being controlled, gives the controller power and ups their self-esteem. They know that whatever the other person does or says, they have control of the situation and can manipulate the other person to do what they want.

The person being controlled has obvious weaknesses and wants that often, are apparent to the controller. They are easily preyed upon, dominated, threatened into doing and reacting the way the controller wants them to. This often happens even in child- parent relationships with the children picking up on the weaknesses in their parent’s armour and working the chinks to get exactly what they want. Kids notice this instinctively and sometimes even we, as parents, use the same methods to get our children to do what we want.

More that often enough, controllers get off on the power they feel when they know that the other person or people are completely under their influence. If the controlled becomes unruly or does or says something out of line that could lead to them realizing that they are being controlled; well the controller just chooses a few choice words and manipulative phrases that will rope the other person back into their corral of domination.Worst-case scenarios are when controllers lose their hold over their subject(s) and all hell breaks loose. A good example that springs to my mind is the Jonestown massacre in Guyana, South America during the seventies. Or day-to-day event news that you may hear occasionally of someone killing his or her spouse and children. all in the name of control.

Get help, admit to it, take the time to check it out, it works if you give it the time, will and passion to be a better person towards the ones you love. It doesn't matter if you are a parent, spouse, child, friend or co-worker. Control exists in all walks of life, are you a controller?

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© 2009 K D Martel


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      think 24 months ago

      welcome to your government

    • profile image

      Leanne Strong 2 years ago

      I was more controlling when I was younger. But the part about being abused or lied to was not true for me. I have Asperger Syndrome, so I tend to take things literally. For me, something is either always right or always wrong. Either it's always this or it's always that, with little in between. I'm also my parents' firstborn child, and firstborns are stereotypically (but not always) more controlling than their younger sibling(s). My brother (who is only 2 years younger than me) was happy to just hang out and be a buddy. If someone did something he had learned was 'wrong' he didn't make a big fuss about it. With his teachers, he was just happy to learn and be a student. All he seemed to care about was that you were being nice. For me, on the other hand, I would make a big fuss if I saw anyone (peer, teacher, parent, etc.) do something I had learned was wrong, I would get on them about it (and I'm usually a kind, caring person). I think it might also be in part because I'm a lady and my brother is a guy. Us girls are usually more controlling by nature than guys.

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      Chris 3 years ago

      While most of what was said is true about the controller and the one being controlled, there are situations when the one being controlled is not resulting from any weaknesses. Sometimes the one being controlled is skilled, talented, nice and have a lot going for themselves. The one who tries to control them may do things to try to sabotage such as name calling, turning people against them or trying to ruin their reputation to bring them down. Some people who try to control don't necessarily do it because they think that the person is weak but do it because they are nice and don't want a confrontation with this person.

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      donald reed 4 years ago

      I'm finding that a lot of churches are like this

      and curtain a person that likes to pray control over people

    • profile image

      Moe 5 years ago

      Because people won't listen to my demands

    • profile image

      Jon 6 years ago

      Because stronger people are needed to control the people who are weaker!

    • profile image

      Intoxicating 6 years ago

      I have a problem with control myself, I have very few friends if any at all and a fiancé that bends over backwards to make me happy, I am often unappreciative and callous, I am this way because I know that if I do this to her it will only make her more attatched. But now it has come back to haunt me. We have been together for four years and I am a master manipulator, it has gotten to the point where she is not comfortable unless she is around me, she is smothering me and every time I mention this we end up in a huge fight, so I use the "key words or phrases" in order for her to snap back under control. While I realize this is a temporary solution and in the long run I am probably making things worse, I want to stop but I fear it is too la

    • kmartel profile image

      K D Martel 7 years ago from Quebec, CANADA

      Yes Desiree, you can't change ingrained behaviour *unless you go through hours and hours of therapy and even then...

    • profile image

      Desiree 7 years ago

      Will a conrollere always be a contorller even to another person (another relationship down the line)??

    • kmartel profile image

      K D Martel 7 years ago from Quebec, CANADA

      Lana, sorry about the area, it happened in NE South America, I don't know why the heck I was thinking Africa for? Thanx!

      Adrianne, yep, you got it! Try to find a support group to help you if need be!

    • profile image

      Adrianne Hemenway 8 years ago

      So do you think the best thing for the person being controlled is to stay away from the controller at all costs?

    • profile image

      Lana Hanna Levarity 8 years ago

      I thought the Jonestown massacre occurred in 'Guyana' and not 'Africa.' Please clarify.

    • kmartel profile image

      K D Martel 8 years ago from Quebec, CANADA

      thank-you Bellah! :)

    • Bellah's profile image

      Bellah's 8 years ago

      Great article! Very informative and put together well.

    • kmartel profile image

      K D Martel 8 years ago from Quebec, CANADA

      your welcome reggie tull! :)

    • reggieTull profile image

      reggieTull 8 years ago from Virtual Space

      thanks Kmartel for responding to my request. I found your response refreshing and to-the-point. I enjoyed the read. Thanks again


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