When you control others because you can’t control yourself – you lose

I came across an interesting article the other day by psychologist Dr. David Schnarch. The title truly struck a chord in me. It read simply…

“People who can’t control themselves control the people around them.”

Facing our own shortcomings and insecurities is never an easy path of self-discovery. Far too many times people need to emphasize their dominance over others, whether in words or actions, simply to placate themselves. I’ve witnessed this time and time again in not only relationships, but in the places we work as well.

I’ve personally battled insecurities for a majority of my life – and eventually they found their way into my marriage early on. Looking back on it now, I was trying to control my wife because I felt as though I had no control over myself. When I look back and think of all the wasted time we had because of my emotional preconditions, it saddens me greatly.

But after seeking professional counseling to better understand and accept myself, that desire to control others because I couldn’t control myself completely disappeared. I’m not saying it happened overnight and didn’t require battling the demons from the past, but the outcome far outweighs the inconvenience.

Is it pride that keeps us from trying to change our behaviors?

Is it naivety that prevents us from seeing the way in which we respond to others?

And most importantly, is controlling the people around us really a sustainable lifestyle?

The answer is no.

Our lives will never cease to encounter individuals who look to control us on some level – be it in our personal relationships or our professional careers. But as I said above, it’s not a sustainable lifestyle – something you’ll discover when people hold in in the lowest possible regard.