This week I would like to take time each day to explore the concept of control dramas. For those of you who haven’t read The Celestine Prophecy I will explain what a control drama is in a moment.
I’m slowing learning that my happiness is my responsibility. Emotional bonds with others can sometimes leave me feeling powerless over my own moods. When I was young it was much worse. For example, when my high school sweetheart dumped me I felt devastated. His rejection left me feeling unworthy of love. I was so distraught I made myself feel physically ill! I kept thinking, how could he stop loving me, when I still love him? I felt shattered. It was truly dis-empowering , and I now understand that it was entirely self-imposed.
The happiness of others is not my responsibility. I am learning that I have a tendency to try control the people around me when I think I know what’s best for them. I don’t consciously manipulate others, but I nevertheless I use various tactics to get what I want from people: love, support, attention, etc… As sad as it sounds, I want people to need me. After all, what good am I if no one needs me?
These deep rooted feelings of insecurity and neediness are within all of us. Here is another way to think about…
Everyone has a natural tendency to rely on a form of control in their dealings with others. It’s within our nature to have these styles and feel inclined to use them in response to real or perceived threats.
The ugliness of this mechanism becomes clear when self-preservation stops being the motivation and a desire to shape another person’s personal progress, compromise their free will or guarantee a desired outcome, becomes the underlying reason for these manipulations. – Reluctant Spirit
As I move into a more conscious existence I recognize the need to overcome, or transcend, these basic tendencies. Just because it is part of my nature doesn’t mean I have to let it rule over me! Understanding my style of control and where it came from is the key to moving beyond it.
If you have never heard the term “control drama” this brief description from The Relationship Specialists should help lay the groundwork:
The sixth insight states that childhood dramas block our ability to fully experience the mystical. All humans, because of their upbringing, tend toward one of the four “control dramas”: intimidators steal energy from others by threat. Interrogators steal it by judging and questioning. Aloof people attract attention (and energy) to themselves by acting reserved or withdrawing. And poor me’s make us feel guilty and responsible for them.
The above description from James Redfield’s book, The Celestine Prophecy, defines four ways that people are in relationship with one another. All are attempts to control another’s behavior.
Keep in mind that there are basically three levels of personal control dramas (I found this at Reluctant Spirit):
These individuals are aware of their natural style and inclination to control, but instead make a conscious effort to use alternative ways to communicate their needs and desires in a way that supports a healthier interest for those concerned.
These individuals employ control dramas and genuinely don’t realize they are victimizing another person by doing so. There is no ill intent here as these individuals come by their styles naturally and unconsciously but may still be considered harmful or dangerous.
These individuals pose the greatest risk to those they interact with. They have an awareness of their actions but have little regard for the implications. They will rely on a combination of the following styles and tactics to manipulate and control people and situations.
Before I read the Celestine Prophecy I was completely unaware of my control drama. I am mostly an interrogator. I can easily find fault in others. In the past, I deployed it unconsciously. I would take things others did personally and thus “fight back” by pointing out their faults and shortcomings. Not only does this habit strain my relationships, it also keeps me from learning how to accept my own deficiencies. I was unconsciously-dangerous because I didn’t even realize what I was doing, and thus often feel victimized. I also make others feel uncomfortable due to my interrogation tactics. I do not want to allow this habit to continue.
I will change.
Awareness is the first step.
Take a moment to ask yourself: What could my control drama be?
Each day this week I will write a post investigating each one of the four control dramas more fully. I will start with the most submissive drama and move towards the most aggressive drama: poor me, aloof, interrogator, intimidator.
In the comments sections please share stories about people you know or experiences you have had that fit each control drama. Remember, awareness is the first step!
Once you understand the dramas you can use your knowledge do diffuse situations in which someone else is trying to manipulate you. We must understand that attempts at manipulation occur because the manipulator feels low in energy and thus attempts to “steal” it from others. This is unnecessary! There are tons of ways to get energy, without stealing it from people around you.
We all just want to be heard and to feel empowered. Even the most aggressive asshole in your life is probably teeming with insecurity and fear. I hope that you will join me this week in sharing and learning about control dramas so that we can promote healing and positive communication in our interpersonal relationships!
I will leave you with this quote from Vortex Quotes:
Over the last decade, I’ve realized that many of the interpersonal difficulties we encounter at home, at work, at church and in other spiritual communities are related to unconscious power struggles, which can feel quite devastating, especially to highly sensitive people. Yet I’ve noticed that once highly sensitive people learn how to recognize these power plays, many of which are purely instinctual among humans as well as horses, these same clients don’t take the resulting behavior so personally. Through the nonpredatory wisdom and power of the horse, we learn how to turn these confusing interactions into trust building opportunities where everyone feels heard and empowered. It’s truly magical what happens in our personal relationships when we learn how to handle the power dynamics that we’ve been taught to ignore by a society that does NOT want us to claim our power and vision. ~ Linda Kohanov, Power of the Herd (from her newsletter, June 2013)
Safety, support, honesty, cooperation, trust and accountability are the foundations for respect. Empower yourself. Learn to truly respect yourself and others and your life can only change for the better.