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s with many aspects of addiction, the concept of power and control is very paradoxical in nature.
When we think we’re in control, we’re really not; and when we feel out of control, we’re most likely
exerting control in a way that results in others feeling powerless.

As with parents and children, the parent has the power, but how often does a parent feel controlled by
the child? If you have children, you know what I mean. The child cries, you go running. The child has a
tantrum in public, you feel frustrated to the point of panic. The child, on the other hand, is trying to be
in control, but innately knows that he can’t handle it so pushes the limits until control is imposed.

Couples do this all the time. They feel out of control – frustrated, hurt, angry, unimportant – and so act
out in a way to try to control each other. This is the essence of what is often called co-dependence. It
goes to what I call locus of control. When I try to meet an internal need through controlling external
factors, I will inevitably fail. The only thing I can really control is myself – my thoughts, feelings and
behavior. I can control how I view the world. I can control how I view myself. I can choose what I want
my life to mean. What I cannot control is you – what you do, say, believe, or how you feel about me.

In trying to control anything other than myself, I put distance between myself and others and this is
often an unconscious dynamic between couples who have a fear of intimacy. They believe they want
to be intimate, but they are afraid for a myriad of reasons, most of which are rooted in childhood, when
they had no control and felt powerless.

Power and control help to maintain distance and prevent intimacy. Next time you have an argument
with someone, take a moment to explore how you are putting distance between yourself and that
person. What are you trying to control? Ask yourself if that is really what you want, or do you want to
be more intimate and close?

Do you want to be Connected?