ACoAs Acting Controlling (Part 1)

comtrolling man 

so I won’t feel so vulnerable!

PREVIOUS: Back-Lash for O-C – #2

READ: How ACoAs Abandon Others” #1

REMINDER: Use Acronyms Page for abbrev.

BEING HELPFUL (vs. Controlling – see Healthy Helping’ posts)
The opposite of being controlling is to be of genuine help. The 2 main characteristics are:
a. That you are clear about that the other person needs & that they actually want your help
b. That you have the real ability to provide that need, and that you genuinely want to

CONTROLLING (C) behavior is cause by the disowned, un-felt emotion of FEAR! And no matter how optimistic & hard-working, all ACoAs are fear-based, since we lived in constant terror as kids. Because the fear was never acknowledged, comforted or talked about – it accumulated, & now sits like a poisonous fog under all our layers of denial, experiences & determination. That’s not a negative thing to say – it is important to tell the truth. Only then can we change it!

• Like most things in life, controlling comes in varying degrees of intensity
— Some Controllers are so tightly wound that it’s ‘their way or the highway’ & they’ll punish or ignore anyone who doesn’t fall in line with the program
— Others are only C. when under a great deal of stress, especially if too many things go wrong at the same time
— Some are C. mainly when they’re with a certain category of people (children, a spouse….) so that others don’t know what they’re really like in private  
— Even with Recovery, many ACoAs & addicts continue their C. patterns until they do FoO & Inner Child healing arms length

ACoA IRONY: Acting Controlling is one more way to keep others at emotional arm’s length,  preventing people from really connecting with us, while at the same time guaranteeing we’ll keep on feeling abandoned by just about everyone! It’s used as a defensive wall instead of developing real boundaries, which are flexible.

NOTE: Just because someone has a forceful personality doesn’t make them a controller. They can have strong opinions about everything, even insist they’re right but not necessarily impose them on others.  
The TEST is: Do they allow you to be yourself? OR do they unduly influence your behavior (make demands, have unrealistic expectations, intimidate)? Stay awake for the difference, in yourself & in others!

GENERALLY, Being Controlling IS
Re US: • often copied from a C. parent
• fueled by deep anxiety – specifically FoA (fear of abandonment)
• generated from the WIC or the internalized PP voices
• used to avoid feeling helpless, powerless, vulnerable, needypride
• a form of unhealthy pride – an unwillingness to back down & admit when we’re wrong, need help, don’t know everything….
• never being satisfied, always critical – our attention on what we don’t have rather than what is possible and what is actually available to us
• expressing the belief that we have to ‘force solutions’ or we won’t get our needs met
• a sneaky, dishonest way to get taken care of
• putting our main focus on manipulating the outside world, instead of working on healing inner wounds
• trying to get noticed, be respected, seen, valued, appreciated…but doing it the wrong way (being bossy)

• saying that we don’t trust others – to take care of themselves, to be competent, dependable, honest ….  superioity
• being disrespectful of other people’s autonomy, their right to learn from their own mistakes, having their personal life path, their tastes & moral values……
• saying that someone owes you – just because of what you’ve done for them, OR for who you are, what you’ve accomplished, your position…
• a compulsive pattern of trying to get people to be or do what we want, disregarding who they are, so we won’t have to feel abandoned, while picking the very people or situations that guarantee we will, because they’re just like our family
“Where there is control there is no love, only fear”

ACTING Controlling
• Angry – a way to express our rage at our family – whom we can’t always get back at directly – for controlling us, instead of loving us unconditionally
• Needy – as adults, when we’re especially lonely, scared, vulnerable or desperate
• Terrified – the fear, anxiety & panic is so intense that our only focus is to force everything everyone become as safe as possible – for us

NEXT: ACoAs Acting Controlling, Part 2


2 thoughts on “ACoAs Acting Controlling (Part 1)

  1. Enjoyed this and unfortunately (or fortunately) identified almost all of the behaviours you mentioned. I was not aware that Superior and Values were ways of controlling either – damn! I am very rigid at times, very very rigid but I am learning to be more flexible and accommodating as it doesn’t suit those around me! When you put a name to rigidity such as “Control” it really throws the trait back in my face, it makes me look at my rigidity as being a defect of character, not an asset. I am a person of procedure and don’t like to bend rules. Thanks for showing me my rigidity is all part of the control again. It is always rearing its ugly head!


    • There is a difference between liking order, procedure, dependability & plans VS. rigidity. The former is what we’re born with & can be valued as part of our true self. The latter is held in place by high levels of anxiety (terror) & the WIC not trusting – anyone! It’s up to us to prove to the kid that we are dependable & trustworthy BUT also accurate. So if I say – “Little one, I’m not trying to deprive you of something you want, but I can’t let you do…… because it always hurts you” the kid has to know if that’s true or not. Or I might say “Honey, let’s try this out because it’s good for us, even tho it scares you, & then let’s see how it turns out. Anyways, I’m here with you all the way.” When the results are better than we expect, the kid can breath easier.

      As we keep connected to the kid in a truthful & loving way, the need for rigidity begins to fade, but it’s ok if it never goes away completely.


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