Control Dramas: The Intimidator

The most aggressive control drama is the Intimidator’s strategy. We can tell when we enter the energy field of such a person because we not only feel drained or uncomfortable; we feel unsafe, perhaps even in danger. The world turns ominous, threatening, out of control. The Intimidator will say and do things that suggest she might erupt in rage or violence at any moment. She may tell stories of harming others or show us the extent of her anger by breaking furniture or throwing items across the room. – James Redfield

Obviously a person who uses this strategy won’t be like this ALL of the time. Like any of the control dramas types, Intimidators use manipulation to get energy when they feel low. Intimidators pick up these habits from their own experiences. Usually he or she will have a parent who was also an Intimidator. These are bullies, individuals who use physical or psychological violence to control others.

The world the Intimidator sees is one of random violence and hostility. It is a world in which one is lost in supreme isolation, where everyone rejects and no one cares – which is exactly what these assumptions bring into the Intimidator’s life, over and over. -James Redfield

Due to the possibility of violence dealing with Intimidators can be especially tricky. Redfield says,

Confronting the Intimidator is a special case. Because of the obvious danger, in most cases it is better simply to remove oneself from the presence of an Intimidator. If one is in a long-term relationship with an Intimidator, the best course is usually to place the situation in the hands of a professional. The therapeutic plan of action, of course, is much the same as with the other dramas. Success with such an individual usually involves making her feel safe, giving supportive energy, and bringing the reality of her drama into awareness. Unfortunately, there are many Intimidators still out there who are receiving no help, and who live in alternating states of fear and rage.

Many of these individuals wind up in the criminal justice system, and certainly it is wise to keep these people away from society. But a system that keeps them locked up with no therapeutic intervention and then lets them out again does not understand or address the root of the problem.

Of all the control dramas I have the least first-hand personal experience with this one, however, I know many friends and family members who have lived with an Intimidator. They are very controlling and usually pick on more passive individuals. I agree with Redfield’s advice that sometimes leaving the presence of an Intimidator is a good strategy. Intimidator’s look pretty silly when there is no one around to Intimidate and they will eventually lose steam and try something else.

Walking away can be hard, but if there are no victims to intimidate the Intimidator can begin to try new strategies. Someone has to stand up to these people in order to show them that their drama, their game, is not healthy for any of the parties involved, even the Intimidator himself.

Here are some final thoughts on overcoming our control dramas:

Most of us, throughout life, hear various complaints from others about our behavioral patterns. The human tendency is to ignore or rationalize away these complaints in order to go on with our preferred style of life. Even now, when knowledge of self-defeating scripts and habits is becoming a greater part of human awareness, we find it very difficult to view our personal behavior in an objective manner.

In the case of severe control dramas in which a person has sought professional help, crisis reactions can undo years of progress and growth in counseling as the old patterns, once thought conquered, reappear. In fact, one of the emerging revelations among professional counselors is that true progress takes more than the catharsis that occurs during the personal exploration of early childhood traumas. 4 We now know that to end these unconscious attempts to gain energy an security, we must focus on the deeper, existential basis of the problem and look beyond intellectual insight to tap a new source of security that can function regardless of external circumstances.

Here I am referring to a different type of catharsis – one that the mystics have pointed to throughout history and one that we are rapidly hearing more about. Knowing what we do about the energy competitions in human society, our challenge is to look closely at ourselves, to identify our particular set of assumptions and the intentions that constitute our drama, and to find another experience that allows us to open up to our energy within.

To those of you who are struggling with an Intimidator or who use intimidation to control others I would like to share these words from the Tao Te Ching:

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”
― Lao TzuTao Te Ching

With Love,



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