Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Control Freaks & Passive Aggressives 101...

Do you suffer from exposure to a control freak? First, it is ok to say: "I have a control freak problem." Go ahead, say it. Say it! Sorry... what I mean is that of course Y-O-U are not a control freak, but you do seem to have lived a life in which they make regular appearances. These power-hungry folks will gladly jam your system, cross your wires, uproot your vines, and generally use every manipulation in the book in order to assert their own dysfunction over yours. In the process of being controlling, their actions say, “You’re incompetent” and “I can’t trust you.” (this is why you hate them). The control freak is usually fighting off a deep-seated sense of their own helplessness and impotence. By becoming proficient at trying to control other people, they are warding off their own fear of being out of control and helpless. Controlling is an anxiety management tool.

So how do you get these meddlesome lamprey out of your face? Challenging a control freak can go south fast. Then again, if you assert yourself as a fellow control freak the playing field will be equal - but volatile and truly dysfunctional. If you really aren't the overly assertive controlling type, best not to pretend to be one. Your face might get stuck that way.

Subliminal confrontation is a good place to start: Peppering straightforward conversation with your control freak (which will inevitably reveal some triflingly pathetic control maneuver) with lilting, playful, chiding remarks such as "my, you are... powerful, in control, alpha, etc." will serve to loosen the soil so at least you can plant your shovel under this aggressive weed. At the very least, the controller has been made uncomfortably aware that you are on to them. Or, if they are completely unconscious beings, these remarks will haunt them in their dreams. Either way, a good place to begin.

Now you are ready for advanced tactics. You must master the art of allowing a control freak to think they are in control. You must harness their control as a form of energy that traps its owner and sets you free. This might require a bit of role playing, even perhaps a submissive gesture or two, but hey, you want out from under this gallumpf, right? Silence and surrender and patience will be in your toolkit. You are building false trust, sending a message that says: your controlling behavior is ok. The control freak will gradually get soft and settle like a pudgy pasha into their imagined superiority. When the moment to act comes you will know it: The control freak will be out of control. Their inherent weakness will be oozing from the cracks in their armor. Here, a subtle move by you, a simple sentence, the tiniest tap, deftly placed, can swing the polarity of the relationship forever (or at least a very good while). You must choose your words and your actions wisely. You must be ruthless and draw metaphorical blood. A clean straight razor swipe approach is best. No need to use a chain saw. Let the control freak know that the tables have turned. Offer a clean kerchief to clean and protect the wound. Smile. Ask yourself: what will I do while I'm in control? But oh how different things look from this side of the coin! And thus the cycle continues...


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