The following article is offered for free use in your ezine, print publication or on your web site, so long as author resource box at end is included. Notification of publication would be appreciated.
Title: Control, Helplessness, and Love Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: email@example.com Copyright: © 2003 by Margaret Paul Web Address: http://www.innerbonding.com Word Count: 1092 Category: Relationships, Emotional Healing
CONTROL, HELPLESSNESS, AND LOVE By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
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 avoid feeling of helplessness. One of 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 us 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 getting 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 of 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 throughout day reminding yourself that you are helpless over others' feelings and behavior. You will be astounded at results!