In all personal relationships, whether they are intimate or simply close friendships, trust and freedom are like the pillars that hold everything together. It's essential to recognize that trying to control every aspect of someone's life can lead to the unraveling of even the most loving connections. When you start trying to control and regulate every little thing the people you’re dating do, you risk pushing them away.
It's natural to care deeply about the people we love, and sometimes, this care can take the form of wanting to control their actions. We might feel that if we can shape their behavior and choices, it will keep them safe and ensure that the relationship remains strong. However, this approach often backfires. As psychotherapist Carla Naumburg writes, "The more we try to control someone, the more we communicate to them that we don't trust them to make good decisions."
People who feel like they can't control what happens in their lives are often driven by a state of fear. They’re afraid because they are not aware of the fundamentals of success and high achievement and don’t know how to navigate their lives. So, they try really hard to make things happen in a way that makes them feel certain and safe. This might mean they try to force things and make people act in ways to maintain certainty in their lives.
Deep down, they worry that nobody wants to be around them, and this worry makes them anxious. When they don't get attention or love from people they care about, they get even more anxious. They might start doing things like calling or texting too much, trying to be around those people all the time. But doing this can make the other person feel like they're losing their own space and freedom. Nobody likes it when their freedom gets taken away from them and when their rights get infringed upon.
In any relationship, there's a need for personal space – a time when individuals can be themselves, pursue their interests, and recharge. A lack of space can make people feel suffocated, leading to frustration and resentment. Psychologist Dr. Ryan Howes points out, "People need breathing room to figure out what they want, and they need to feel like they can be themselves." Striking a balance between togetherness and individuality is crucial for a healthy relationship.
Never forget, the key to a successful relationship lies in open communication and mutual respect. Instead of controlling our loved ones, it's important to have honest conversations about our feelings, fears, and expectations. Listening and understanding each other's perspectives can bridge the gap between the desire for control and the need for freedom.