Questions 15 & 16

DC - Directing and Controlling

There is a measurable difference between leading people who have sanctioned our authority and the intention to lead others so that we may feel secure.

When we insist on controlling others we can become inadvertently oppressive. The intention is generally legitimate--to have one’s needs met. However Directing and Controlling is fraught with interpersonal problems. Sometimes, practitioners of Directing and Controlling are thought of as “impossible people.” Intimate friends and family are sometimes left very frustrated, wishing they could get along.

Directing and Controlling is a maladjusted coping mode that is driven by a sense of insecurity. All people endure insecurity, thus insecurity is not what must be eliminated to feel and behave differently. The compensatory coping mode, Direct and Controlling, forms from an intolerance to insecurity. It is an irony that this intention to generate order and predictability results in its opposite.

The coping mode compensates for various fears like being abandoned or emotional deprived. Sometimes people who develop a Self-sacrifice Schema will become unconsciously controlling as well. They will insist on taking charge on the premise that this will help. Their relationships suffer and they ironically endure the very thing they fear—Emotional Deprivation and Abandonment.

The conditional assumption associated with this mode is: “If I can keep control of others, then I’ll be OK. But if I cannot keep control of others, then I will not be OK.” Thus, people who rely on this coping mode set themselves up for chronic anxiety and anger when they lose leverage and control of others. It is, however, critical to understand that using control as compensatory coping means that you are already driven by your anxiety. You are in fact having a mini anxiety attack. This coping style may at times cluster with other maladjusted coping modes like I’ll Never Policymaking, Getting Back, Being Entitled or Being Judgmental.


Record your answers to the following questions in your JOURNAL:

This Compensatory Mode is active in my life. The evidence that confirms this is as follows:

This Compensation Mode is not active in my life. The evidence that refutes this is as follows:

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