Support, Not Control

Support, Not Control - Cheryl Woolstone Counselling Blog

I want to feel like I have someone who has my back.

This is the dream that couples are chasing after. The nightmare begins when attempts to “support” our partner become controlling gestures.

How does support get confused with control?

Attempts at “support” may actually have undertones of intolerance of difference.

A belief that if your partner does not do it your way that they are wrong. Not only are they wrong but it is your job as a loving partner to set them on the right path.

The following pointers can help you discern the line between Control and Support:

Control is:

  • Telling your partner what to do and then criticizing or withdrawing affection if they don’t do it.
  • Implying that they are not smart, creative or resourceful enough to decide things on their own.
  • Making it clear that their perspectives and opinions aren’t valid, relevant or important.

Support is:

  • Giving encouragement to find the best course of action and then standing by them if it doesn’t work out.
  • Respecting their competence, intelligence, creativity and resourcefulness.
  • Valuing their opinions, even when you disagree with them.

You will know by paying attention to your body which mode you are operating from.

When locked into attempts to control you will likely experience tightness and pressure in your chest, you may feel pain or a jittery feeling in your solar plexus.

A supportive mode is experienced as an evenness of breath, a sense of curiosity about other which creates physiological warmth. There will be an absence of tension in the body.

The purpose of the IMAGO Couples Dialogue is to restructure the way that couples listen and talk to each other. The goal and the direction of the dialogue is to give the couple the experience of knowing how to “have each others backs”.

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 20th, 2010 at 12:00 PM and is filed under IMAGO and Relationships. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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