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          Dealing with Control Issues

          September 12, 2002

          Is control a problem in your relationship?

        • Start taking responsibility for your actions. It’s time to examine how your behavior might enable your controlling partner.
        • Negotiate boundaries with your spouse — not when you’re arguing, but during “peace time.” Agree to have a consequence if these boundaries are crossed. For example, if your controlling partner starts to dominate a discussion, call a time-out. Revisit the conversation only when you’re ready.
        • If you’re being pushed to your limit every day and you think about giving up, you will someday cave in. Giving up cheats you and your partner if you haven’t both made a concerted effort to improve your relationship.
        • Ask yourself, “What is it costing me to be in this relationship?” If the answer is your dreams, identity, or dignity, the cost is too high.
        • Controlling people often participate in emotional extortion: “Agree with me, or else….” For the good of your relationship, sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree.
        • Look at all of your options. You don’t have to engage in explosive arguments when dealing with a controlling partner. Refuse to participate when your partner is trying to control you.
        • Suffering in silence isn’t love. By not dealing with a controlling partner’s behavior, you’re only enabling it to continue, and are therefore cheating the relationship.
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