Who's in charge here?  

WomanOfSpirit 64F
30 posts
8/19/2006 10:54 pm

Last Read:
10/1/2006 11:34 am

Who's in charge here?

Let’s talk about control.

Controlling relationships, controlling the conversation, being out of control…..

Being out of control when you’re in the midst of sexual frenzy is good. Being out of control when you’re angry is not good. So, there’s a good control and a bad control, right?

At the moment I have a broken foot, and I do not like not being in control of mobility, i.e., I haven’t been able to drive. I don’t like depending on crutches or other people to get things done, nor do I like how long it takes me to get to the bathroom or get dressed or prepare a meal…

Thinking about that, I wonder if the reason why I can’t stand controlling men in my life is at least in part because I don’t want to depend on them. I don’t want them to be my crutches, no matter how powerful it makes them feel or builds their self-esteem. Depending on each other is okay, on occasion, but generally I like the idea of self-reliance, a mutual independence or interdependence. Stronger model for me of a healthy relationship.

I’d like to know what is so attractive about someone controlling someone else in a relationship, though, seriously. I’m not referring to sub-dom sexual relationships, because I think I actually have some understanding of why that might be erotic ‒ I suspect to some degree it’s erotic because it’s considered taboo behavior by societal standards of what constitutes a healthy sexual dynamic, and besides, having to always play the same role can be boring ‒ but I am referring to the deep genuine need to be powerful and the deep genuine need to have no power as the binding thread between two people at all times.

What is that about?

My psych training tells me control has to do with a past (read, childhood) inability to control a chaotic or dangerous environment. Feeling victimized from that past, the psychic conviction to never let that happen again, to get in control of the situation, becomes a demanding and commanding force of will.

The need to release all control, and be powerless, would have to do with having received primary and secondary benefits in the past by being without a voice, without a will, utterly submissive. I.e., you could get what you want by obeying someone else.

Women do seem to be typically more submissive than men, even in these days of evolving “women’s lib”, but is there an inherent value in having one person in a couple relationship as the commander-in-chief at all times? Or is this dynamic truly unhealthy, and the best choice to relate with each other is fluid, mutual, a partnership without the need to control or be controlled by the other?

And can it be done? Really done? Can a man and a woman, or masculine and feminine energy, ever truly be in equilibrium, neither a patriarchy nor a matriarchy, but something else?

evilsaintjude 34M

8/19/2006 11:47 pm

I agree with what you say about control issues stemming back to a person's childhood. I am a psych major and have learned all about that.

I look at the girls that I have dated and seen their home lifes and can understand why they wash their cars every week and their rooms are always spotless. It seems like they are showing their control of one of the few things in life that they can control.

I have been in one controlling relationship that was both mentally and physically abusive. It seemed to me that her being constantly demeaning to me and keeping me afraid of her and her actions was one of the only things that would keep her happy.

I believe that there is an equilibrium where a man and a woman can find a middle ground. I think it just depends and the two people in the relationship though.

Old_Crew 64M
4 posts
8/20/2006 7:33 am

Sorry to hear about your foot. It must be especially frustrating for someone who loves dance to lose mobility.

Equilibrium comes from trust and responsibility. If my equality comes from my trusting myself and the ability to take responsibility for my actions and emotions then I am able to enter into an equal reslationship

Trusting the other allows for the exploration of both sets of energy. Its the tension between the masculine and feminine - passive and active that adds energy to a relationship.

Conscious choices and acceptance of myself and you allows meaningful interactions.

Hope you mend qucikly

rm_connor696 61M
834 posts
8/23/2006 7:43 am

In what I recognize is an odd way of dividing things, I've always thought that yielding, giving way, submitting, and so on has a more intuitive appeal than the will to power. Sure, the former involves less work, but it also evokes a certain notion of harmony, of co-operation. The Taoists, at least, understood this. And in fact I've read texts that claim the Japanese actually have a word--"amae"--designating a warm, fuzzy feeling of dependence, perhaps not unrelated to Freud's notion of an "oceanic" feeling evoking the time spent in the womb.

But that whole Nietzschean domination thing? It just seems anti-relation, doesn't it? The whole point is the dismissal of the other as an Other, as a person. The only sense I can make of it is that it might grow from a fear of the Other, although ironically, an attitude like that goes a long way to justifying that fear, since if everyone acted in that manner, we would almost be forced into domination mode.

People are funny, is all.

bobbydigital2k5 39M
1 post
8/27/2006 12:29 am

Some people are natural leaders and others prefer to take direction. Two people fitting together in a relationship is all that really matters. However, I do believe that even in traditional gender roles, few relationships are really dominated by one person. For example in traditional gender roles that man might make financial decisions but the woman makes decisions about the home. I believe that most relationships are mixtures of passive and assertive behavior from both parties around many different issues. Relationships work when couples agree about the issues that they both feel strongly about and can compromise on other issues where one party feels strongly but the other does not. I suspect that relationships where one party is truly dominant across all issues are unhealthy in nearly all cases.

WomanOfSpirit replies on 10/1/2006 11:32 am:
Hi Bobby...Since you asked me to respond to your comment, I agree with you. One of the fascinating things about we humans is that even unhealthy relationships, i.e., truly debilitating at some level, can actually work up until the crash zone. My personal reflection on why is more philosophical than psychological in that perhaps it has to do with lessons each of us are meant to learn. FYI, it's great to see someone of your age looking at these kinds of issues in relationships....A majority of us, if I dare to submit this as an assumption, probably don't look at relationship dynamics with much seriousness until we've reached the age Carl Jung said was the beginning of individuation -- 40.

rm_calpoet1 69M/69F
2 posts
9/8/2006 4:07 pm

I believe control is one of the most over-rated of human attributes. People value it so much because we actually have so little of it. We like to think we can control everything--from the quality of the environment to the longevity of life, to the eroticism in our sex lives, when the truth is that most of these things are mostly--although not entirely (and there's the rub) outside of our control. The opposite of control, in some sense, is abandon, letting go, being receptive and open to the moment, letting go particularly of expectations, which is a wonderful liberation, although very difficult to do.
This said, you have a lovely, character-filled face, and are obviously intelligent and thoughtful.May your broken foot heal quickly and may you find yourself open to letting go of control, especially when you're in the middle of a sexual frenzy, because as you say, that's a wonderful and rewarding thing to do, for both parties. I simply go nuts when a woman abandons her restraints and lets go sexually....what a turn on!

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