web analytics
October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Part 13 – Reducing Controlling Behavior


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Controlling behavior may be the #1 reason that your marriage needs first aid.

If you are unfamiliar with the topic of control, it’s no surprise. Most people are unaware that control is a major topic for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large, which until recently has not entered into the public’s attention.

Now many counselors are beginning to talk about control, including one of the leading Orthodox experts on marriage and relationships, Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. – who wrote an entire book on the topic. In Successful Relationships: At Home, at Work, and with Friends: Bringing Control Issues Under Control, Rabbi Twerski explains that, “Everyone may have the need to wield control, and there are many relationships which may indeed require control. Exceeding an acceptable amount of control invites trouble.”

Trouble, indeed. Think about your relationships. Which ones do you find meaningful and enjoyable, and which ones do you avoid like the plague? Take your friends, for example. Do you try to control them, tell them what to do, yell at them, kvetch when you don’t get what you want right away? Probably not. So why do we feel free to try to control our closest and most intimate relationships? Perhaps this is due to human nature taking over. When we are married and live with someone for many years, we get accustomed to their habits; we get used to their small idiosyncrasies and begin to take for granted that, on some level, they exist to fulfill our needs.

Did you ever wonder why people who have been married for 20, 30 or more years can claim that they love each other but are always yelling at one another? I see these kinds of couples all the time – and not just in my office. Last summer I took my children to an amusement park and had to wait in lines for hours under the hot August heat. Standing next to me was a couple that must have been in their late 40s, with four children around ages 17, 13, 12, and 8. They all seemed on edge and upset about standing in line, with hundreds of people in front of them waiting to take a 90-second plunge down the latest monster roller coaster. Their conversation went something like this:

Husband (to wife): I am getting so tired standing here!

Wife (to husband): I told you about the long lines.

Husband: Why can’t they make this go quicker?

Wife: There you go again, blaming everybody.

Husband: Blaming? That’s your job around here. You are so hot-tempered today; I ‘m losing my cool.

Wife (trying to hush him while everybody was listening to their little fight): Okay, I can’t stand it when you berate me in public!

At this point their 12-year-old and eight-year-old children started pushing each other, and the younger one started crying. The mother then started yelling at her oldest son to behave better, and the father turned around and screamed, “Cut it out or go home!”

This all points to the fact that deep down inside, people believe that they somehow can control each other’s behavior. In this family, for example, the father thought that he could control the people waiting in line and started complaining out loud. His wife thought she could control her husband’s outbursts by putting him down and by doing so defuse his behavior. The husband then tried controlling her, and started ranting and raving about her negative attitude. And once again, the wife tried controlling her whole family so that they wouldn’t look silly in front of the other customers.

You’ll notice from this family that the need for control is often circular. First you try to control someone; then, in response, they try to control you back. That makes you even angrier and intensifies your desire to gain even more control in the relationship.

That’s why, as a counselor, I often find myself teaching couples how to moderate their level of control and increase their levels of mutual respect. The line of reasoning flows like this:

Less control and more focus on the relationship = healthy marriages.

More control and less focus on the relationship = unhealthy marriages.

When people are less controlling in marriage they are a lot more pleasant to be around. They also find it easier to create loving and supportive relationships. Living with a high controller is much more difficult. They tend to create emotional distance, and the people living with them develop the following beliefs about themselves:

● They are stuck with another person’s definition of them.

● They do not have the right to their own opinions.

● They can earn love and acceptance by abdicating control to another person.

● They are “successful” if they fulfill another person’s vision, even when it does not in any way support their own.

They must obtain permission to act in matters that are, in fact, their own business.

Next week, in Part 14: How Control Breeds Resentment.

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, M.A., is the executive director of Shalom Task Force. For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Flatbush, Cedarhurst, and Crown Heights. He is a certified PAIRS instructor, and trained as a Level 1, Emotionally Focused Therapist at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and is a member of AASECT. He is the author of At Risk – Never Beyond Reach and First Aid For Jewish Marriages. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Part 13 – Reducing Controlling Behavior”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a government meeting.
Proposed Conversion Bill, Change in Local Rabbinate Power Nixed by Netanyahu
Latest Sections Stories

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.

Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.

Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad Houses in ten cities.

Victor Center works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy, and the community to sponsor education programs and college campus out reach.

So just in case you’re stuck in the house this Chol HaMoed – because there’s a new baby or because someone has a cold – not because of anything worse, here are six ideas for family fun at home.

We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.

Our harps have 22 strings. This gives musicians a wide musical range and yet stays within Biblical parameters.

More Articles from Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch
Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which a child becomes fearful and nervous when away from home or separated from a loved one – usually a parent or other caregiver – to whom the child is attached.

Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

I try to focus on the parents in a way that is not often addressed. As soon as the child gets anxious, the parent gets anxious;

Most people are not aware that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).

Parental conflict affects children in varying ways, depending on their age. For example, teenagers around the age of fifteen or sixteen are most likely to involve themselves in their parents’ battles. Younger children may keep their feelings hidden inside and may only show signs of depression in late childhood or early adolescence.

When parents come to talk to me about a troubled child or teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.

Active listening is only one part of the marriage equation; learning what to say and what not to say is the other half. And, it’s not just about expressing your feelings, but doing it in a way that avoids hurting the other person.

Control may be the most destructive force influencing a marriage. Let me illustrate this point with the following story. About two years ago a woman named Bracha, 47, came to speak to me about her husband’s controlling behavior. This is how she described her precarious situation:

Controlling behavior may be the number one reason that your marriage needs first aid.

If you are unfamiliar with the topic of control, it’s no surprise. Most people are unaware that control is a major issue for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/part-13-reducing-controlling-behavior/2009/05/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: