“If I can’t be in control, ain’t nobody gonna be in control!”

September 10, 2012

in Be a grownup, Seeing Clearly, Series

Big explosion! freedigitalphotos.net

The “scorched earth” or “nuclear option” approach to control is the ugly result of deciding that if you cannot be in control, the next best thing is to make sure your spouse is not in control either. It becomes okay, more or less, that you have no control because you have ensured that they do not have any control. Any hint of control is attacked, and fairly stupid things get done in the name of making sure your spouse has as little control as you have. The methods for doing this are most of the ones I listed in “Everyone relax, I got this” and Control – poor solutions .

The less extreme and far more common form of this is to do it selectively; either in a few areas, or only when you are feeling especially out of control. This form is also less obvious, both when you are the one doing it, and when it is being done to you. Think about it a bit, does this explain something your wife does from time to time? Does it explain something you do from time to time? Does it explain some problem area of you marriage?

If you are on the receiving end of this, study your spouse and try to learn to anticipate when it is going to happen. Realise that once it happens, you are not dealing with them at their most rational, and your best options are to try to de-escalate the situation or just walking away as best as you can. If you realise you have done this to your spouse, try to figure out what triggers it so you have a chance of preventing it before you get too far to see or care.

Image Source: Big explosion! freedigitalphotos.net

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