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Read Letter

Control Panel

My dear Jil, the problem is, you see yourself as some sort of control panel. You’re controlling. It’s why the relationship can’t work. And given the facts of the relationship your assumption of control is rather ironic. You’re trying to control what you shouldn’t even be trying to control.

You’re a very, very young woman, hardly twenty-one. You’re dating a successful man who’s ten years older than you and you’re trying to control him. How does that work? The man has more experience than you. You hardly know anything about life, so what’s your guidance system based on? This man is running his own business. It’s a successful business. That means he has managerial experience. You don’t have any yet you’re trying to boss him around. How does that work? You also depend on his largess. And he’s been generous to you. Yet you converted that generosity into authoritarian license. You don’t know how to be loved. Of course he indulged you at the beginning. There was that curiosity. You came across as very confident and self-assured. He would have found you intriguing given his means. Your confidence would have made him pay attention, take a closer look. Your confidence would have drawn him in. He’d want to find out about the young woman who can hold her own against him. That’s how the relationship began. Time of course revealed what that seeming confidence actually is. There’s an element of forwardness, presumptuousness, lack of awareness and insecurity in it.

It’s all about insecurity, this control thing. Seeking to control your partner is about insecurity. What it does is that it forces your man to be reporting to you, and asking for your approval on outings and movements. That’s what controlling insecurity does. It’s kind of accusatory, like he’s doing what he’s not supposed to be doing, doing stuff behind your back; and it must be inappropriate stuff or why won’t he disclose details. He has to be careful not to give you a whiff or cause for suspicion, has to be careful not to offend you; has to always be conscious of what you’ll approve. No one can live like that. It’s terribly constraining and restraining. It’s like living under a cloud of accusation for offences you’re not even thinking of committing and yet you’re somehow guilty of.

Men don’t do well with accusation, whether active or passive accusation. Passive accusation is a state of suspicion based on probabilities. It’s, this is possible and you’re guilty of it even though you’re not contemplating it. Imagine going for your school reunion and your boyfriend assuming you can kiss someone there, holds you guilty in his thoughts of kissing someone; until you prove yourself innocent. That’s passive accusation. The bad thing about it is that you can’t prove a negative. How do you prove you didn’t do what didn’t happen, what you weren’t thinking of doing. It’s hard. Passive accusation is expression of distrust based on possibilities. Those who accuse others passively believe all things are possible. No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who’s constantly accusing him of what he hasn’t done. It’s painful. Those who accuse others never think of the reverse equation. What if your boyfriend adopts the same standard with respect to you?

Yes, you’d say you know yourself and you can’t do certain stuff, and that’s okay. But passive accusation is not based on your integrity it’s based on possibility. Invariably you’re going to get your boyfriend lying to you. He knows if he says some things, however innocent those things might be you’re going to read them wrong. He’ll be afraid of telling you the truth. But the greater risk is that he’s going to run from you, stay away from you. He can’t handle all that stuff emotionally. Men don’t have that capacity. It’s why they run from home when there’s acrimony. Which of course will reinforce your fear something must be happening outside. The reality is there’s nothing. He’s avoiding you. You’ll keep losing boyfriends if you constantly seek to control them. You have attractive qualities but your controlling nature ensures you lose what you draw in.

Look at it another way. What if you have a boyfriend who’s constantly monitoring you, checking your phone, clocking you? How will you feel? What if that boyfriend now tells you he’s monitoring your every movement because he cares about you? Will you believe? That’s the strange logic of care you’re giving your boyfriend… That all that insecurity you’re displaying is because you care. Sounds disingenuous. I’m not saying be careless about your boyfriend. You have quite a catch judging by the content of your mail. It’s understandable therefore if other women are interested in him. That’s life. Being protective of your relationship will keep him on his toes, safeguard him. And many men will secretly appreciate that. But it has to come from a good place and it cannot be accusatory. That’s not nice. Besides, you shouldn’t constrain a man too much. He’s going to feel locked down. There should be some latitude in a relationship. It’s healthy. Same thing with him. You ought to have latitude. You should have your girls night out, go to parties that don’t require him. It’s liberating. But remember he chose you. Could have chosen anyone given his charm and means, but he chose you. That means there’s compelling stuff about you. It means there’s something he wants, issues he has, questions in his heart, some fear in his soul for which you’re the answer.

Don’t let your insecurity destroy his feelings for you. Don’t allow your insecurities make him afraid of the future. Don’t allow your insecurities produce in him fear of a present continuous situation that is anomalous to his emotional wellbeing. The greater the potency of insecurity the higher the feasibility of destruction of a relationship. At a certain level insecurity can lead to mental and emotional breakdown. You should be careful about it. It produces anxiety of the dangerous variety. Ultimately insecurity is expression of distrust. We may not see it that way but that’s how it comes across on the other side. If you don’t correct your insecurity you’re going to lose this guy. One foot is out of the door already.

Many times our insecurity is generated by our knowledge of other people’s experiences. In your case you’re living the fears of your mother. But you’re not your mother. Why live her fears. Your boyfriend is not your father. Every relationship has unique history. Because every relationship has unique history the issues in each relationship are proprietary. Because of the unique history of every relationship it means the problems in each relationship require creative solutions. There’s no standard gauge. If you adopt other people’s solutions for your relationship chances are things will go wrong, very wrong. Every relationship has a unique history. What this guy is asking for is a little bit of latitude. He needs some space. You’re suffocating him. That you think you mean well suffocating him doesn’t change the fact you’re suffocating and smothering him. There’s a balance somewhere. You have to find the balance. There’s a balance between the seeking of security and expression of genuine care.

The other danger in taking on the role of control panel is that you assume you have it all together and don’t have emotional need. That’s a dangerous delusion. It means you’re a goddess in need of nothing. Which is a lie. As proof, here you are longing for this guy despite your posture. He’s ignoring you and you can’t handle it. You are in need of his love and affection. Drop all that goddess attitude, it’s pride. Drop all that I don’t need any special love pretext. You’ll negotiate yourself out of a relationship.

Pretending to others you don’t have emotional needs doesn’t take away the fact you have emotional needs. You’ll suffer emotional malnutrition pretending. Perhaps you need to send a text telling him you’re sorry and don’t want to lose him. At least show some vulnerability. You can’t have a successful relationship without vulnerability. A relationship is intimate. There’s all that stuff we do to give people the impression we don’t need love. But then there’s the cry of the heart – the inaudible cries of want and need and lust. Drop the pretence. Drop the pride. Your greatest problem is pride and you need to confront the fact. It’s robbing you of what you really want in a relationship. You can’t acknowledge need. Call him, tell him how you feel. Be real for once. Drop the role modelling. You stand to gain a loving and authentic relationship if you do.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

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Tags : Trust, Control, Insecurity

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