Like it or not, we all have difficult people in our lives. Maybe it’s a family member. Maybe it’s a co-worker. Maybe it’s a neighbor. If you’re like me, there have been times in your life when you’ve had to deal with people from all three groups at the same time!
Difficult people come in many varieties. One of my least favorite kinds is the controlling person — you know, the one who must always have his way regardless of the thoughts, feelings, and rights of others.
These people can be manipulative, conniving, and downright mean — whatever it takes to get what they want.
Here’s what I’ve found to be true in most cases:
Controlling people are extremely insecure.
They have never learned how to love and be loved. They have also never accepted the fact that they’re really not in control of anything — including themselves. Therefore, they exert an inordinate amount of effort and energy trying to convince themselves — and others — that they really are in control. They are often motivated by fear — fear of failure, fear of success, fear of abandonment . . . . the possibilities are endless.
Controlling people distract others from the things and people that really matter.
The best way to defuse a controlling person is to remind yourself of one truth: No one can control or intimidate you unless you allow them to do so. This is something many Christians struggle to understand. Just because you seek to model Christ does not mean you become a doormat to be walked on and abused. Don’t let the controller rob you of your joy and sense of purpose in life.
Controlling people don’t really like themselves.
Think about it. Jesus taught that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. We must first have a love relationship with ourselves — the very person He uniquely crafted us to be. No matter how good a controller is at pretending he likes himself, the way he treats other people is the best criterion for judging that.
Controlling people don’t win in the end.
Sure, they may get away with a lot of crazy things for a while. But ultimately, their rudeness, pettiness, abusiveness, and selfishness end up biting them in the butt. What goes around really does come around in the long run. Sometimes you won’t be there to see it, because controlling people always look best in the rearview mirror. They have a hard time keeping friends, employees, and even close relationships with family members. They often end up miserable and alone.
So, who are the controllers in your life? How are you dealing with them? Are you perhaps one of them? (Wow . . . I bet I’m hitting close to home for somebody out there.)
I look forward to your thoughts.