"Hole in the Floor" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
I've worked with and for controlling people. I've been peers with controlling people. Heck! I've been a controlling person.
In fact, who doesn't want to control their world? It's wisdom to be aware of this primal urge and understand what you can legitimately control and what you can't and what you shouldn't.
I'm aware of" my deep desire to control my world. Why? Because I'm afraid of pain. I don't want to experience it. For example, I had to learn very early on as a parent that my desire to control my kids was my attempt to protect them from experiencing pain, and therefore me from experiencing pain, and therefore to protect them from life, and therefore to prevent them from living.
Most leaders, religious/ spiritual or otherwise, don't mean to be controlling. But they are unaware of it. The think manipulating people to achieve a higher good is legit... even if that higher good is simply following them to their higher good.
I remember one pastor asking me what my problem was with him. It took every bit of courage I had to say, "I find you very controlling." That's the point when he poked his finger into my chest and told me I needed therapy and proceeding to try to make my life miserable over the next several years. Another spiritual leader asked me the same thing. I guess I never learn, because I said the same thing. That's when he fired me.
In every case they asked me what I thought and encouraged me to be honest. I guess I didn't have the answer they were looking for.
So don't tell a controlling person they're controlling unless you want them to open up a can of controlling on you. They just can't see it. They can't see that their rage and retaliation for accusing them of being controlling is the perfect manifestation of their controlling nature.
Do you have a story to share about this?
Our online community, The Lasting Supper, has a private and confidential Facebook group where we talk about these kinds of experiences and learn how to move on from them. I invite you to JOIN US.