Control or Connection: It’s a Choice

The Oxford Dictionary describes Control as “the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.” For me this goes very light on addressing and describing Control and almost presents a level of acceptability of its place in the world.

My personal description of ‘control’ suggests that it is something we feel rather than using logic.

In my own experiences I have felt control was like an invisible hand around my throat: it comes across as a threat even if the words do not indicate it as such, it suggests non-compliance has penalties, it’s a squashing of who I am, it demands I be submissive, it’s manipulative, it’s a secret game where the rules are known but never spoken, it uses fear and intimidates, and it creates self-doubt to thwart truth. In essence, controlling behavior makes my skin crawl.

I grew up in a household where I was controlled by the continuous threat and actualization of violence, perhaps the ultimate control. It is here that I first learned to be submissive and compliant. Speaking up about how I was feeling or what was truly going on came with a punishment, and it became clear to me that staying silent was the way to go.

After 18 years of living in this environment and by then incredibly angry as a person (although smothered with ‘nice’), I discovered that control continued in the workplace and into my relationships – there always seemed to be somebody there, waiting to control.

I learned to keep myself small and I became withdrawn, sad and depressed. I can now say that this way of being was a form of protection because it emitted the energy of “please don’t come near me because I have been hurt by others.”

It was a way I could control others to feel sorry for me, and in that they would not be cruel and then I would feel OK. This is not to say that the many things that have happened in my life have not been utterly atrocious, and I will never condone them, but whilst I was in sympathy with myself, I was failing to acknowledge just how irresponsible I was being with other people, and the harm that I was causing by being controlling and abrasive myself.

Of course, nobody can really control me – I am only controlled when I allow myself to be controlled – and with this I began to wonder if there is some payoff for playing this sinister game, which of course, there is.

The payoff for me was to be liked and accepted by others, so I overlooked another’s controlling ways and learned how to work around them in my own controlling way. This meant that I always had family, a friend or a partner – someone to give the impression that I was cared about and that I belonged. I opted for something far less than love.

– Control at Work –

In the organisation where I work, the environment is one of extreme control. The whole organizational structure is built around control with complex policy to keep the mind busy jumping through hoops, administering strict procedures and protocol, and controlling what can be said and how people behave.

Lately in my own team we opened up a conversation about control, and most people admitted to being controlling when workloads get out of control. Stress is a good indicator that we will turn to control as a means of getting by – controlling in our work and controlling people.

I have partaken in the game of control myself, where I have placed more importance on outcomes than people. For instance, I know that there have been times where I have wanted to get something approved at work, but I knew that the other person would not approve it if they felt that I wanted it too much or if the idea did not come from them.

I played to their arrogance and purposely dulled myself down by making myself submissive, small and even unintelligent, so that others felt important. And yet selling out like this was no different to those who I may have accused as controlling… it’s on the same scale and it comes from the same place.

Many years ago I was given a role in the organisation for 12 months which had a higher level of positional power. There was something so tantalising about power and the chance for recognition, particularly when you have spent a lifetime feeling suppressed. I became arrogant, self-important and demanding. By the time I left the role I was afraid of myself.

 – A Bitter Pill to Swallow –

Instead of addressing issues at work around control or abuse, generally I would bring it home and control my family. I became caught up in getting things I wanted, and in how and when I wanted them done. None of this was about love.

This realisation was a bitter pill to swallow, but it was enough for me to make immediate changes in the home. I started by allowing time when I arrived home from work to process the day, by having a bath or going for a walk. This alone was powerful as it allowed me to come back to myself, where I was connected, not controlling.

My relationship with my child became more intimate, open and playful and we talked about some really difficult topics with absolute honesty. What a relief it must have been for my child to feel a deeper connection that allowed him to express with his mum.

Removing control from the home had the added effect of sending the issue back to the place where it should have been addressed in the first place – the workplace or the person with whom the tension was initially felt.

It was time to start talking things through and not holding back from expressing myself in the moment that the control was felt.

– Reclaiming the Power Within –

The missing ingredient all along was a deep and tender love for myself.

As love became my new foundation, it unleashed a power within, a true power, with absolute responsibility not to harm, nor to play the game of compliance. This true power comes from honouring oneself, re-connecting to love, speaking Truth and trusting without any doubt what I feel in each and every moment.

It no longer mattered to me if another admitted to the issue or not, it was just about responding to the situation and providing an opportunity to express myself and deepen my relationships.

I observed how expressing from the power within was exposing for those who felt secure that our arrangement would never expose the truth. There were times when people appeared uncomfortable, but I was committed to making life about love and about truth and from there everything changed.

I discovered that my ultimate power, far greater than positional power, is the power I hold within myself to not be swayed by manipulation, control and abuse; to not dull down who I am and pander to the arrogance of another, but to take command of the one thing that I can actually control – or CHOOSE – and that is the quality of the energy that I live.

If we re-connect to ourselves and live life through the body and not just the head, if we speak from the inner heart, then there is nothing to control as control dissipates as we surrender to the flow of life.

Living in a way that honours our connection can give obstacles a new perspective: there is space to achieve whatever needs to be achieved, we express lovingly and truthfully, we stop looking for recognition and our drive for an outcome is a thing of the past. We can then read the behaviour of others around us and bring a deeper understanding as to what is really happening in any given situation.

Re-Connection – that’s the answer, and that’s my choice.

Thank you to Serge Benhayon for reminding me of the love that I am.

by MAS

Further reading:
Learning to Let Go of Control Over Life to Being Open to People
Love
First Time Mum: Realising Control is just too much Hard Work

977 thoughts on “Control or Connection: It’s a Choice

  1. The true power and authority we innately have is through our re-connection to our inner heart that magnifies through our body. From this perspective we understand what is happening for everyone and what is required will be clear and accessible for all because of the truth and simplicity that can be felt.

  2. Control and subservience are two sides of the same coin; we usually oscillate from one side to the other. Connecting to who we truly are is the only way to step off this treadmill.

  3. I appreciate your comment about control and feeling stressed and that it’s actually one and the same thing. I certainly relate to this. There is a level of wanting to fix the situation that might be going on and that if something looks a certain way then it’s all ok. But it’s not and actually doesn’t work because nothing is going to look like how we imagine it to be and with this we taking away someone else capacity to understand the part they are also playing and what is there for us all to learn. I agree, It also feels awful in the body too.

  4. What becomes so clear in your story is how there is an interaction between what comes towards us and what we put out, and unless we let go of what we put out we will be an attraction for that same behaviour.

  5. I worked with a group of people yesterday, and I was deemed the’ go to person ‘ with all the instructions and thus the answers. But it soon became clear that as the timing of everything was adjusted the planning went out the window and we all had to respond as was needed. It could have gone two ways, one go into hyper drive and try to get control or choose, as I did to surrender to the natural flow which left everyone equally responsible and committed, working in a joyful light way. Control would have just got in the way of feeling what was there to be responded to.

  6. When we connect to ourselves we are able to read the behaviours of others with so much more clarity. This is a great teaching for me and my workplace as it stops me from going straight to reaction. Reading others dissipates any control they have and allows us to stay connected to what is true.

  7. Great blog MAS, the games we play in order to be recognised. Over the last year I have started to recognise how deeply engrained we are in control, and even though I thought I had made great in-roads into letting go there are still some deeply rooted and subtle parts of control that need to be let go of.

  8. It’s interesting how control is such a big part of relationships based on arrangements, as opposed to living from the love we natural are in essence and relating that way. When we take the love (ie our true selves) out of the equation, things like abuse, control and manipulation naturally take up the space. It really highlights the responsibility to be our full and true loving selves in every relationship we encounter. Personally I can feel the subtleties of control in my relationships and though it’s not stated out aloud, it’s communicated very loudly. More areas for me to be aware of how I’ve settled for less than love and am not living the true essence of myself.

  9. Great blog on a very important topic, one we are all aware of and are/have been affected by. I find control rarely comes alone – it brings with it intimidation, manipulation, passive aggressiveness, imposition and a host of other ‘friends’. It makes the controller feel safe and in comfort knowing that things will happen the way they want to.

  10. ‘I was failing to acknowledge just how irresponsible I was being with other people, and the harm that I was causing by being controlling and abrasive myself.’ Sometimes the level of control we go to to protect our hurts is so buried and insidious that it has to take another to lovingly and supportingly call it out. It can be hard in such circumstances to admit that the protection we are in is actually harmful to another but in allowing ourselves to go to the hurt, feel it and nominate it we can get to the root cause and start to shift things.

  11. It is said that when you truly know God, you know longer hold onto individuality. To the seeker that is at first a scary thought. Who am I if I am not an individual? And in a world where individuality is encouraged on every level, it is a fair enough question. The truth, however, is even in perfect brotherhood, where all are truly equal, as is the case in heaven, there you are still an individual. It is just that you don’t act or express individually without ever considering the all and the whole. And that is the difference between creation, or life as we have come to know it in this physical form, and co-creation. So how is this relevant to this blog? Control exists because of our desire for individuality, and our need to meet an image or picture of how we think life should be. For without that picture being met, or without the striving to meet such a picture, we have no idea who we truly are.

  12. We use control to sabotage our connection with our own divinity. Down here on planet Earth we all have a direct line to Heaven and it is our connection with our Soul that keeps this channel of communication open. We don’t have to work hard to achieve it or be special in any way; it is simply there ready to be used when we are ready. What we do have to work very hard at is shutting down this line of communication. Indeed it takes enormous force to not hear what is being constantly communicated to and through our physical body (3rd dimension) from the plane in which the Soul resides (5th dimension) in and with Thy Father we know as God. It is our spirits (4th dimension) that wield this force and use it to thwart the clear communication that would otherwise happen between our 3rd and 5th dimensional selves, Earth and Heaven. In this 4th dimensional realm of the human spirit lies every trick in the book that we draw upon and use to not feel the true majesty we are from because we are so busy indulging in the spoils of the self-created ‘self’ and thus do not want to return to the true Oneness we are from.

  13. “Whilst I was in sympathy with myself, I was failing to acknowledge just how irresponsible I was being with other people, and the harm that I was causing by being controlling and abrasive myself.” Great to expose the illusion in allowing this pattern of behaviour when we do not choose to stay connected to the true quality of being ourselves.

  14. Through connection we are able to look at our control issues. I used to keep myself small and fly under the radar most of the time, surfacing when it felt safe to play the control game but the truth is that playing small is also a form of control because no one gets to see who you really are and you don’t have to stand out and take responsibility for anything. The more I stay connected to me the more my controlling ways get exposed, and once they are exposed it becomes easier to see how uncomfortable, and for some how devastating they can be.

  15. This is an absolute gem to read and exactly what I have been realizing and connecting deeper to: “I discovered that my ultimate power, far greater than positional power, is the power I hold within myself to not be swayed by manipulation, control and abuse; to not dull down who I am and pander to the arrogance of another, but to take command of the one thing that I can actually control – or CHOOSE – and that is the quality of the energy that I live.”
    To read this is like music to my heart and soul, a confirmation that choosing my qualities is ‘the choice’ and with this all the power and support will follow rather than following someone else. Life is not a game of follow the leader it is a purposeful responsibility to respond to what is true.

  16. ‘…someone to give the impression that I was cared about and that I belonged…’ Wow, you really expose us all here MAS. This is spot on. I can clearly see how I have been such an active participant in the control game as controllee and controller.

  17. The way you described what control feels like in the body was so familiar. Behaving and playing small is equally a control and once again both sides are working to not feel hurt, or pain. To make a choice to choose the energy we live in and the energy that impulses our thoughts words and actions is far more powerful and long lasting. It simply allows us to be and to be with all others equally.

  18. ‘The missing ingredient all along was a deep and tender love for myself.’ For all my controlling behaviour – how I put myself down especially, and being honest about the extent of this – it’s beautiful to feel how it’s not through becoming more controlling that I relinquish control but become more tender and loving with myself that I return myself to myself. It is from a re-connection with myself that I then feel the joy of being with others, open and fragile – rather than fear of not being able to control a situation.

  19. Amazing sharing MAS “I discovered that my ultimate power, far greater than positional power, is the power I hold within myself to not be swayed by manipulation, control and abuse; to not dull down who I am and pander to the arrogance of another, but to take command of the one thing that I can actually control – or CHOOSE – and that is the quality of the energy that I live.” This sentence blows me away. It is Connection and not control that allows us to feel truly safe and supported

  20. You have nailed it – being nice and submissive and “in sympathy with oneself” are also means of control and at times even more potent than the more obvious forms of control; more potent because they are sugar-coated and reek of self-pity and martyrdom. And also, they can keep us trapped for ages as we then identify with this state of outward powerlessness and don’t take responsibility for our actions.

    1. I reckon there is a lot more control going on in relationships than we allow ourselves to see. If we break it down to “are we in our essence or not” we might come to the conclusion that when we are not we are either in some form of trying to control others or life, or controlling ourselves. There are a lot of unwritten rules in relationships, beginning with the one we have with ourselves.

  21. “If we re-connect to ourselves and live life through the body and not just the head, if we speak from the inner heart, then there is nothing to control as control dissipates as we surrender to the flow of life.” beautifully expressed MAS. When connected life flows.

  22. “The missing ingredient all along was a deep and tender love for myself.” Without love for self we are negating our responsibility to bring our whole bodies connection to the table. Choosing to make space and surrender to how our bodies feel can only bring us closer to our true path of living and that is undeniably important today.

  23. ‘The missing ingredient all along was a deep and tender love for myself’…. This is something nearly all of us are truly missing and as a result, whether it plays out through control or something else, we all suffer. The answer to true healing lies in this connection and surrender to ourselves … and from that foundation, what doesn’t belong cannot but fall away.

  24. Its interesting to see the subtle forms of control that play out in family situations, friendships and relationships, its as if there is always a potential for a deeper connection but with the element of control being there, it never goes deeper than the surface, because to do so would reveal we are all hiding from hurts.

  25. “I learned to keep myself small and I became withdrawn, sad and depressed. I can now say that this way of being was a form of protection because it emitted the energy of “please don’t come near me because I have been hurt by others.” I recognise this choice of behaviour for myself also. I had given my control and power away to others. To come back to the love I know I am deep inside – and nowadays not so deep – is a blessing. Huge appreciation to Serge Benhayon for showing a new way of living.

  26. I have had to recently look again at relationships and the subtleties of control, subtle in the sense of unspoken, but not subtle at all in terms of consequences. In my life what others exerting control on me has been about has been to simply stop me being me in full. It’s been about me not shining in full so others are not uncomfortable and can carry on living in separation from their own essence without being reminded of it. The more I look at control the more I see this foundation and how we place conditions on others to not be themselves so we don’t not have to stare true energetic responsibility (and our choices) in the face. All this control just so we don’t have to be our glorious, divine selves. Suppressing something so beautiful does not make sense unless you understand the difference between spirit and soul and the intentions of both – then it all makes perfect sense.

  27. A beautifully honest sharing, MAS. Makes me wonder what we think we are gaining by being controlling. I know for myself for having an agenda and being manipulative in all kinds of relationships and I could feel everyone was at it and it really is a game no one wins.

  28. What stays with me from this blog is that control can come with many faces and not just the obvious controlling and manipulative behaviour we all know well.

  29. MAS, this is great to read, as the mother of a young boy I can feel how I can either parent with control or I can parent feeling connected with myself and this way of parenting is firm but loving and gentle, the controlling way I notice feels horrible in my body and my son feels the control and reacts to this, I am learning to let go of attachments and ideals about how he should be and be more understanding and let him feel the consequences of his choices more.

  30. I really enjoyed reading this sharing about the ways we control and how different life can be when we connect. I also took your point on board about taking time to connect with your day with a walk.

  31. When we feel controlled and react to it with protection, we are controlling no different from what we do not want in the first place. Clearly, this is not the answer. Being honest this is what is happening and rewinding our steps to discover what led us here and bringing Love back to the equation–that we have chosen control over Love but that I can always choose again.

  32. Control has been a massive issue in my life. I have learnt the benefit of honestly accepting when I have made mistakes and not trying to manipulate my way out of accepting the consequence which only led to further dishonesty and confusion.

  33. As soon as we opt for control we lose our connection to ourselves and others and thus suffer the pain of separation. I love your choice to give yourself time to process what has happened during your work day so that it stays there and does not invade your home environment.

  34. When we choose to connect and speak from our truth we have no need to control because we are not invested in what anyone else’s choices.

  35. A very powerfull statement that is : Re-Connection – that’s the answer, and that’s my choice. And so is exposed that everything is a choice in every single moment. Thank you MAS.

  36. We can all put our hands up and say that we’ve been controlling, we like it, we want to feel what it is like to be right, to get our view and point across no matter what. It doesn’t actually feel very nice, when you are either being controlling or being on the receiving end of someone being controlling. There is never a winner, just reaction and emotions usually as a result.

  37. “I started by allowing time when I arrived home from work to process the day, by having a bath or going for a walk. This alone was powerful as it allowed me to come back to myself, where I was connected, not controlling.” Allowing space in our day to check in and feel our bodies allows us to observe life and how we live in it at a much greater angle. It offers us a deeper understanding of how we interacted during the day and any situations that may have come up to see and clear it if needed. I love going for a walk after work too, Thank you MAS.

  38. ‘It was time to start talking things through and not holding back from expressing myself in the moment that the control was felt.’ I have found that I used to use control when I actually lacked the ability to express fully from my heart.

  39. Thank you for sharing so honestly about the topic of control. It is such a huge part of our lives and happens in almost every area. I am seeing all the parts of my life where I still feel that need to control things and its great to be aware of and get to the bottom of.

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