What do we do when we find ourselves in a position of being controlled by others? When others control us, they can exercise certain levels of power over another’s emotional well being. Others control us through money, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation and even obligation. As a child my grandmother would give me a special gift. Shortly thereafter, she would begin to remind me of that gift, and how I owed her back. A perfect example of subtlety when others control us. Emotions can be wrecked and hearts can be broken so easily. Over the past few weeks we have had the opportunity to share observations of the inhumanity of mankind over their fellow man or woman. We keep the folks in Colorado in our thoughts and prayers. First it was Columbine, and now they are dealing with a deranged gunman in a movie theater in Aurora, killing infants, soldiers… just randomly taking the lives of so many who were innocently watching a movie. But, it’s not limited to being a national thing. On July 22 a suicidal maniac entered a church in Nigeria for the sole purpose of taking out Christians. It was reported by CNN (click here to view). It is not political, or even exclusively religious, but rather, it seems to be consuming the entire planet. So few people are willing to take ownership of their actions toward others. We just seem to think it’s okay to say or do anything and everything we want without ever considering the repercussions that may follow. The important thing is to take control. When others feel they are losing control, they bear down even harder to regain it over their prey. We addressed this in a panel discussion recently on RAW TV, a nationally syndicated program produced by Southeastern University in Florida. PEOPLE – the younger generation is looking for answers. What do we tell them when they ask about when others control us? (To view panel discussion, CLICK HERE)
There’s the whole bullying issue. It is prevalently reported as going on among young children and teens, but let’s face it, bullying also takes place among adults. And that stinks. We should know better. We should be teaching our own children better, as well. It is not okay to indiscriminately rattle off at the gums just because you feel like it, or want to speak your mind. That is another mode of others to control us. There is an old saying: “Some people may consider you a fool. Do not open your mouth and prove them right.” It takes a lot more self-control to remain silent than to blow. Anybody can release their anger, that’s the easy way out. It’s using restraint and displaying perhaps the examples of oh, I don’t know, maybe Jesus or Gandhi or Mother Theresa that show the true measure of a person.
People! There are poor souls who are taking their own lives because of others trying to control or abuse them. The rate of suicide is ridiculous.
So, how do we avoid letting others control us? First, we start by knowing ourselves—I mean, truly and completely knowing ourselves. Who are we? What are the desires of our hearts? What are the intentions of our hearts, as well? What motivates us to act the way we do? How much do we value ourselves? You see, if we hold ourselves in some place of value, we realize we are worth more than allowing an abusive person to mistreat us. We set boundaries and parameters. As I have said in the past, if someone is toxic for us, we have the right to take away their rights to play in our sandbox. They can earn the right to return, or they can take their venomous actions and try working them on someone else. It was a tough decision, but I made the choice to restrict toxic people from my sandbox. My heart often yearns to have them back in my life, but I know the definition of insanity, and the same actions that have been repeated, over and over again, just can’t be tolerated.
Yes, we deserve to be treated considerately, and honored for who we are. There have been pastors and presidents I did not care for, but I never refused to honor their position. They deserved it—right or wrong, they deserved to be honored for the position they held. That did not mean I agreed with them, liked them or respected them personally, only that I honored the place they held.
What would resolve this whole issue of compulsion to control others? Simple—Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If the entire world would embrace the Golden Rule, what a great planet this would be!
When others control us, perhaps it would be best to remember that childhood adage: STICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES, BUT WORDS WILL NEVER HURT ME. If someone begins to control us with words, walk out. Or, send them packing. Remove them from your playground. When others control us, TAKE BACK THE CONTROL!
Carolyn S. Hennecy recently received a certificate as Designated Victim Services Practitioner through completion of a 40-hour course conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Florida. She is recognized nationally as an expert survivor spokesperson on domestic/intimate partner abuse and violence, sexual assault and child molestation and abuse.