Many people enter into a relationship with a deep fear of rejection, and this fear will allow various forms of controlling behavior. Controlling behavior will fall into two major categories – overt control and covert control.

Overt control has many forms of attacks, such as rage, violence, judgment, ridicule, and criticism.


Covert control, on the other hand, includes compliance, denying, enabling, defending, withdrawal, explaining, and lying.   Often time a person on the other end of the attack will respond with some covert control whereby trying to have control over not being attacked.

Controlling behavior always results in resentment and emotional distance, allowing the very rejection, which is the exact opposite of what was wanted.


Many people enter a relationship with a deep-seated fear of being engulfed and controlled – of losing themselves. The very moment they feel the control that their partner wants to have over them, they react with resistance – withdrawal, forgetfulness, unconsciousness, procrastination, and numbness.

When one partner attempts to control the other, there is resistance – which is an attempt to have control over not being controlled – the relationship will be at a standstill. The partner at the receiving end of the relationship experiences frustration, stagnation, and resentfulness.


A lot of people enter a relationship with the misconception that it is their partner’s responsibility to fill the empty void inside, take away their aloneness, make them feel good about themselves and whole again.  People must learn to be responsible for their feelings, wants, and needs, and should also learn to define their self-worth. Some people will try to extract from their partner and others to fill them with the love they need.


Some people feel empty inside.  They will turn to substance abuse and process addictions to fill their emptiness and in the attempt to mask the pain of them being alone and loneliness. Food, alcohol and substance abuse, spending, shopping, keeping busy, Internet sex and pornography, affairs, work, TV, accumulating things, gambling, beautifying, and so on, can all be distractions for filling the emptiness and avoiding the fears of failure, inadequacy, incompetence, rejection, and engulfment. These are all ways of closing the door and coping with their partner.


Some people will have some idea of what their partner is doing that is causing relationship problems, but are entirely oblivious to their actions and what they are doing. For example, you might be very aware of your partner’s resistance or withdrawal, but blind to your behavior which is very judgmental. You might be very aware of your partner’s anger, but completely unaware of your reaction toward the problem that may have caused it.  You might be very aware of your partner’s addictive behavior, but very unaware that you are enabling it.  As long as you have tunnel vision and stay focused on your partner instead of noticing yourself, you will forever believe that your partner requires change, and you are perfectly fine.  Some believe that if only your partner changed, everything would be okay.



All relationship killers come from fear – of rejection, of inadequacy, of failure, and engulfment. Once you are experiencing any of these fears, you will be behaving in one or more of the above ways.

The only way out is learning how to love yourself and know how to take full responsibility for your feelings, needs, and actions. You will rise above controlling, needy, and addictive behavior only when you learn how to be true to yourself and define your inner worth. When you are willing to take your eyes off your partner’s issues and turn your gaze entirely on yourself, only then will you begin to do the inner healing work to heal yourself and your relationship.


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