INVOLVEMENT VS CONTROL

Fr Jim Cogley


There are people who love involvement and delight in being helpful. This itself is a good thing and very necessary for society and communities to function. However, other factors are often at work. There is a delicate balance to be found between the need for involvement and the need to be controlling. It’s the latter that is invariably resented. Much of our control needs masquerade under the guise of, ‘only wanting to be helpful’. Even with relationships between couples where there is interference and far too much in-law involvement the justification by the third party or parties tends to be, ‘we are only trying to be helpful’. Any suggestion of control or having too much say in the marriage is very difficult for the outside party to hear and there is usually a defensive reaction. Control for most of us is a big blind spot and others will recognize it long before we will see it ourselves. It may also be related to our need to belong or to be liked. Some of the clues that could indicate if we have moved beyond helpfulness into control is when we find ourselves becoming defensive, resorting to tears, turning our back on all future involvement or hearing ourselves saying, ‘after all I did for so and so and this is what I get’.