Control, Helplessness, and Love

Written by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

The following article is offered for free use in your ezine, print publication or on your web site, so long asrepparttar author resource box atrepparttar 126235 end is included. Notification of publication would be appreciated.

Title: Control, Helplessness, and Love Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: Copyright: © 2003 by Margaret Paul Web Address: Word Count: 1092 Category: Relationships, Emotional Healing


During my 35 years of counseling individuals, couples, families and business partners, I have discovered that an important purpose of our controlling behavior in our relationships is to avoidrepparttar 126236 feeling of helplessness. One ofrepparttar 126237 hardest feelings to feel is helplessness. Most of us are unwilling to even know what we are and are not helpless over. Our controlling behavior toward others generally comes from our unwillingness to accept our helplessness over others' feelings and behavior. We do not want to know that we are helpless over whether another chooses to be loving and accepting toward us or judgmental and rejecting toward us.

If we truly accepted our helplessness over others, would we continue to get angry at them? Would we continue to blame, to judge, shame, criticize? Would we continue to comply, or to be nice instead of honest? If we truly accepted our helplessness over whether others loved us and accepted us, would we work so hard to prove our worth to others?

Sometimes - because we often manage to have control over getting approval or avoiding disapproval - we may confuse approval with love and think we can have control over getting love. But love is always a gift freely given with no strings attached. We may receive attention and approval when we try to control getting love from another, but that is generally short-lived and not fulfilling.

Moving beyond our controlling behavior, as well as our core shame (the belief that we are inherently bad, inadequate, unlovable, unworthy, not good enough), happens easily and naturally once we fully accept our helplessness over others' intention to be open or closed, loving or unloving, accepting or judgmental. Our core shame is one of our deepest, oldest false beliefs and one of our oldest protections against our feelings of helplessness. Our shame gives usrepparttar 126238 illusion of power over others: that is, we tell ourselves that if we are not being loved because we are not good enough, we can continue to strive to be good enough and then we will have control over gettingrepparttar 126239 love we want. Believing in our core shame allows us to believe that we cause others to be unloving to us, that it is our fault when others are unloving because we are not good enough. It takes us out ofrepparttar 126240 truth of our helplessness and into a sense of control - if only we change ourselves we can then change others. This illusion of control over other people's feelings about us is difficult for most people to give up.

Paradoxically, accepting our helplessness over others leads us to our personal power. Once we fully accept that we cannot have control over others loving us and taking care of us, we may then finally decide to learn how to take care of our own feelings and needs.. This major step moves us out of being victims of others' choices and into control over our own lives, which is what we do have control over. We do have control over our own intent to learn about loving ourselves and others, or protect against pain with some from of controlling behavior. You will feel incredibly empowered once you fully accept your helplessness over others. Try it! For one week, try throughoutrepparttar 126241 day reminding yourself that you are helpless over others' feelings and behavior. You will be astounded atrepparttar 126242 results!

Anniversary Blues

Written by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

The following article is offered for free use in your ezine, print publication or on your web site, so long asrepparttar author resource box atrepparttar 126234 end is included. Notification of publication would be appreciated.

Title: Anniversary Blues Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: Copyright: © 2003 by Margaret Paul Web Address: Word Count: 1110 Category: Relationships

Anniversary Blues By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

Jamie and Kurt are a sweet, successful couple in their early thirties. In spite of loving each other deeply, they often find themselves in conflict over seemingly minor issues, as most couples do. Recently, just one week before their wedding anniversary, they had a particularly hurtful argument. Jamie had expressed her unhappiness about Kurtís busy schedule andrepparttar 126235 limited time he finds to spend with her. As usual, Kurt promised to try harder and they got through it. But having not dealt withrepparttar 126236 real issues at hand,repparttar 126237 problem was bound to resurface. Jamie unknowingly began plantingrepparttar 126238 seeds for their next bout when she decided to bring uprepparttar 126239 subject of their anniversary.

"Kurt, I just wanted to remind you that next week is our anniversary and itĎs really important that we plan something special for us."

Kurt took a deep breath and responded, "Jamie, you know I donít really like celebrations." "Oh come on Kurt. Itís really important to me." Nearly pleading, Jamie continued. "When you really love someone, you try to do what is important to them, right? I maderepparttar 126240 plans last year and now itís your turn. Why donít you surprise meÖsomething really romantic! Okay?"

Silent and distant, Kurt gave a slight nod, which was allrepparttar 126241 assurance Jamie needed that this anniversary would be exceptional. She could barely work that week fantasizing about what Kurt would do to demonstrate his everlasting love. Finally,repparttar 126242 day arrived! Kurt had agreed to be home by six o clock. By twenty past six, Jamie was anxious. With each glance atrepparttar 126243 clock, her pacing quickened. At last, Kurt walked throughrepparttar 126244 door looking tense and clutching a bouquet of red roses. Jamie tookrepparttar 126245 roses with a wary smile, anticipating what was coming next. Without even so much as a glance, Kurt turned around, got a beer out ofrepparttar 126246 fridge, and sank intorepparttar 126247 couch, grabbingrepparttar 126248 remote control.

Jamie watched intently, feeling her blood turn to ice. "Thatís it?" she asked.

"Thatís what?"

"Thatís it? Itís our anniversary!" Jamieís tone grew sharp. "You said you would plan something special and romantic and thisÖ" shakingrepparttar 126249 roses in her clenched fist, "this is it?"

"I never said I would do anything," Kurt retorted. "I told you it wasnít my thing." "Don t lie to me! You nodded yes!"

"No, I didnít. I didnít agree to anything. You always want me to prove that I love you. I hate that! Even if I did want to do something for our anniversary, I certainly wouldnít want to after you tell me you expect it! Sullenly, Kurt turned back torepparttar 126250 TV. You take allrepparttar 126251 fun out of everything.

Jamie dissolved into tears. "Well if you knew how to show me you loved me, I wouldnít have to say anything."

Without a word, Kurt turned offrepparttar 126252 TV and leftrepparttar 126253 house.

Once again, Jamie and Kurt were left feeling unheard and unappreciated. Their conditioned response was to blame each other for their hurt feelings and angry behavior.

In order to understand how things went so wrong, we need to look atrepparttar 126254 interaction in terms of their intention to learn or their intention to protect.

Jamie starts out trying to control Kurt by making him feel guilty. Kurt, not wanting to be controlled and not able to communicate how being controlled makes him feel, moves into resistance, which is his form of control. Jamie thinks that laying on more guilt (control) will accomplish her objective to have a romantic anniversary. Since Kurt is frustrated with his inability to express his brewing feelings, he moves into silence (control). Finally, when Kurt comes home late and sits onrepparttar 126255 sofa, he demonstrates passivity (control) to which Jamie responds with anger (control). Kurt uses more resistance (control) and Jamie uses more anger and guilt (control). Kurt gets defensive (control) and disappears (control). Attack, resist, blame, defend, on and onÖSound familiar?

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