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Control and Relationships

Welcome back KarryOn Caribbean! It’s a new year, and so inviting you all to take a ride as we explore Control and Relationships.

Relationships are hard work; one of those truths that can hardly be over-stated. Fortunately, though there are some proven helps and hindrances that can act as a GPS while journeying through our relationship.

Imagine you are driving your car and sighted someone who you felt absolutely compelled to give a ride. The person notices both you and the car, and they too feel compelled to ride in this specific car with you. As you both journey along though, no questions are asked of the other’s desired future destination, of their need for particular pit-stops. You are the driver and so you are the default GPS. How do you think the other person would be experiencing the ride? What sort of feelings might be provoked within them? Yet you the driver are elated to have them accompany you on the journey and feel a sense of warmth and appreciation for their presence.

Control and Relationships

Now, of course, some might be thinking, “but suppose the reason for it all being as is, is the fact that the other person is incapable of driving.” Yet, is there not a difference between controlling on the front lines or in the background? Can’t the non-driver, if in fact that is what they are, maintain a voice, that influences the direction, speed, and pit-stops of that car?

Surely, power is a part of relationships. It is meant to be, as control is meant to be. But when this control is one-sided, what sort of relationship is that really?

What about too, when there is the driver, and another who might be a driver but choose not to drive, or actually not be a driver. And the driver, because of threatening looks, or discouraging comments or both, feels pressured and almost under duress to give the one who is not behind the wheel, free overall control. Is that not a set up for a disaster of some sort, after all who can really concentrate well under such conditions? And imagine when the weather outside makes it even more difficult.

Okay, so how do we journey along in our relationships while managing this potential bump in the road? It’s good to appreciate that all actions do not create equal impact. Therefore it is imperative to master COMMUNICATION in our relationships. Communication when it is proactive might involve exploring who takes control of what based on the strengths they bring to the table and existing circumstances.

Communication being responsive, once there is no threat of harm present, might involve, simply bringing the observation of the imbalance to the attention of your partner. Of course, with some suggestions on the way forward.

Add to that Adapting. Have you ever been in a situation, where the driver might come out and let another driver in the car drive for part of the journey because of their skill level or experience on such roads? And what about when the parties in the car, decide to consult a GPS or a Map, or another to help give some better directions for them to reach their desired destination? The key in the motor here is flexibility along the journey. Therefore, nobody’s role gets cast in concrete because needless to say, then there is no further movement.

Finally, in relationships whether we are the one driving the car at the time, who feel compelled to give another a ride, or the one who feels compelled to accept the ride, remember to RESIGN

Resign from the idea of high-level control. The minute you enter a relationship and focus on building that relationship, you have entered a partnership where the wheel of power is shared. Let’s face it “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

As we go forward in our relationships or go about forming our relationships, remember to allow some time share at the wheel. Until next time KarryOn Caribbean, do enjoy your journey and drive safely. Drive Well! And if in doubt, why not turn to your partner and ask, “how’s my driving?”


By: Kerriann Toby - CONTRIBUTOR

Therapist, Trained Mediator and Educator

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