Taking The Judgment off ControlBy Dr. Margaret Paul
May 29, 2023
We all have a wounded self that wants to control. Moving from judgment to learning about control is vital to healing.
Marilyn, after attending an Inner Bonding Workshop, had been practicing Inner Bonding on her own for a couple years when she became totally stuck and sought my help. "I've done everything right," she said between sobs, "and it's not working. I'm not happy. I'm not getting where I want to go in my work. I'm not in a relationship. What am I doing wrong?"
It became apparent to me as we worked together that, even though Marilyn believed that she was open to learning, her deeper intent was to control by doing everything ‘right.’ She wanted to control how people felt about her - to make sure that they saw her as an open, good, and loving person. She wanted control over the outcome of things - over making more money and finding a relationship. She believed that if she was nice and giving to everyone, she could get what she wanted. She was continually explaining herself to others, telling others about the good things she did.
When I gently confronted her with her controlling intent, she was angry. How dare I see her as a controlling person! She was so open, nice, and caring! How could I say such a thing!
What kept Marilyn from seeing her intent to control was that she had a huge judgment about control.
The very word "control" meant something horrible to her. In her mind, if she was a controlling person, she was a bad person. As long as she was judging herself for controlling, she could not see what she was doing. This was keeping her stuck.
"How can control be such a bad thing," I said to her, "when we all do it? We all have a wounded self whose entire reason for being is to control. This wounded self came into being as we were growing up to try to manage all the painful situations in our lives - the loneliness, rejection, engulfment, abuse. We needed our wounded self for our survival. This part of us is not bad - it just doesn't serve us well now. What originally was our survival is now causing our pain. But in order to move beyond our controlling behavior, we have to know we are doing it. It needs to become conscious. You can’t change something that you are doing unconsciously, and you will not see what you are doing if you judge it. Instead of judging yourself, why not see it as a wonderful adventure, a treasure hunt to discover all the creative ways your wounded self has discovered to try to control?"
As Marilyn opened to discovery rather than judgment, she came to a shocking conclusion.
"I think that everything out of my mouth is controlling. Is that possible?"
"Yes," I answered. "What a wonderful discovery! Isn't it exciting to finally begin to see what is causing all your pain and limitation?" Marilyn wasn't quite as excited as I was - keeping the judgment out was hard. But as I encouraged her to just notice her behavior without judgment, and even try to control on purpose to make it conscious, she started noticing that everything she said and did was to get approval or avoid disapproval - her explaining, her niceness, her giving to get, her anger. Instead of sharing her love with her friends and family, she was trying to get love and avoid pain. Instead of expressing her being, she was trying to define her being through others' approval.
Marilyn had no choice but to continue doing what she was doing that was causing her pain, as long as she didn't know she was doing it. By making it conscious and without judgment, she now had a choice to shift her intent to loving herself rather than controlling others. Never in her life had she been loving to herself. It had always been about giving to others so they would give to her, but she never received the love and attention she wanted and needed. Now she had an opportunity to begin giving herself the love that she was always seeking from others.
Becoming conscious of our intent to control and moving more and more into an intent to love is an ongoing process.
We all have many layers of controlling behavior that we need to discover and release. But so what if it takes a lifetime? This is what we are here to do. This is what healing is all about. This is what Inner Bonding is all about - compassionately embracing our wounded self so we can heal the false beliefs that lead to controlling behavior and move into love. Let's release the judgment regarding control and join in the treasure hunt of discovering our controlling behavior. By taking the judgment off our controlling behavior, we can make the healing journey a really fun and enlivening experience.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
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