Friday, August 14, 2009

Control: It's Not Personal, But It Feels Personal


Relationships gummed up with controlling issues are complicated. As I write this series I recall all the pain I came through as God freed me from these coping means. As I've mentioned in earlier posts I was born in a home struggling with addiction issues and mental illness. The scientist would label my
upbringing as dysfunctional.

My mom handled her tough issues with passive aggressive behaviours. As I studied this for today I was hit up the side of the head with my own passive aggression. I was a bit surprised. Truth is that we all have some of these behaviors and in moderation this can be a cultural nicety. But I hope we can see the serious control factors that these behaviors hold that can prevent us from the free life Jesus Christ has secured for us.

According to MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia -
“Passive-aggressive personality disorder is a chronic condition in which a person seems to passively comply with the desires and needs of others, but actually passively resists them, in the process becoming increasingly hostile and angry."

According to Wikipedia-
It can manifest itself as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is, often explicitly, responsible. It is a defense mechanism and more often than not, only partly conscious. For example, people who are passive-aggressive might take so long to get ready for a party they do not wish to attend, that the party is nearly over by the time they arrive.

Passive Aggressive controllers could say or think the following:

  • When I am frustrated I become silent, knowing it bothers other people.
  • I am prone to sulk or pout.
  • When I don't want to do a project I will procrastinate. I can be lazy.
  • I do things in my own timing and if I am too slow or if I do things in a different manner, then others are just going to have to adjust to my way.
  • If they don't like it, that's too bad.There are times when I am deliberately evasive so others won't bother me.
  • I sometimes approach work projects half-heartedly.
  • When someone talks to me about our problems, I'll say what they want to hear then do what I want to do.I complain about people behind their backs, but resist the opportunity to be open with them face to face.
  • Sometimes I become involved in hidden misbehaviors.
  • I may not follow through on the favors people want me to do as a way of letting them know I didn't want to do them in the first place.
Passive aggression is usually caused by a need to have control with the least amount of accountability. This form of anger is different from suppressed anger because the person is deliberately doing something knowing it will agitate the other person involved. Also, when people use this form of anger, it represents a fear based manner of handling conflicts.

Healthy relationships welcome openness, but passive-aggressives fear
that openness will be accompanied by too high of an emotional price.

(This came from http://www.drlescarter.com/angerpassive.asp
Dr. Les Carter, author, of The Anger Trap)

What Is the Behavior of a Passive-Aggressive Person?
Here are some of the obvious ways in which a person expresses anger or aggression passively.

  • Lateness and Forgetfulness: One of the traits of passive-aggressive behavior most difficult to tolerate is the person’s tendency to be late for appointments or other scheduled events. Being late may reflect both the person’s need to have the control in a situation and underlying feelings of inadequacy. And there is always an excuse...like, “I forgot what time it was”...when the person wants to explain away his or her actions or avoid an obligation.
  • Procrastination: The passive-aggressive person will commit to a project or deadline...and simply never get it done or else complete the task much too late. Other people who depend on the work being done, meanwhile, become infuriated.
  • Sending Mixed Messages: The person seldom communicates clearly and unambiguously, so that he or she can’t be pinned down. For example, “Maybe we can go out for dinner Friday night,” could be a plan or maybe just a suggestion or perhaps it’s just a way to keep you guessing. If you make a definite plan to go out, then the person can come back and say that he or she was just thinking out loud, and if you don’t make plans, then you are blamed for never coming through.
  • Pouting, Sulking and Lying: When the passive-aggressive person fails to keep promises and is confronted, a common response is to sigh, to withdraw from interacting, and to act as if they are being blamed unfairly. If they must give a response, there is often a fabrication of reality involved...and it is masterfully done. Open, constructive communication is virtually impossible when the other person is emotionally unavailable or deliberately distorting reality.
  • Feeling Victimized: When you finally put your foot down and expect a firm commitment, then you are the one to blame for trying to be controlling and demanding. The passive-aggressive person acts as if he or she is the helpless victim.



No one lacks value. Each of us is unique and precious.
Showing up, being present, being on time says, "I am worth your time, and you are worth mine." Jesus Christ spent His pain, His
life, His blood to prove worth and value to each of us. There can be no question that each person believing in Him is of incredible value.

Today may we all be mindful of our time and pray for God to show us how to be responsible in using our time. May we please the Lord with our time. Human control needs: hands off. Our time is in His hands!!!


1 comment:

Kelly Combs said...

I recognized a few people in your discriptions. And I loved the clock, although I realize it is meant as an example of the chronically late, it was funny.

I am always on time or early, and am a puncuality freak. I think I'm the only one left on earth. No one seems to be on time anymore.

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.