Control is such a basic and fundamental issue underlying men’s behavior, especially within the context of a relationship. I often hear women complaining that they feel controlled by their man’s behavior, and end up reacting against this perceived control. Men often times don’t know what they are doing, and have no ide nor desire to control their women. At least that’s what they say.
Control issues can rear their ugly heads in relationships, and cause a lot of destruction. It defines a relationship in terms of a power imbalance, and activities and interactions then become a sort of power currency between mates. I don’t know too many men that would readily or easily admit that they have control issues, let alone start to communicate about them in their relationship. Saying “I feel helpless or out of control” is a lot less harmful to the communication and to their spouses than is trying to control someone or their behavior overtly. It’s difficult to take ownership or responsibility for wanting to control someone or someone’s behavior that is somehow unacceptable to the controlling person.
Control issues within a relationship are subtle, and I think that they underlie other types of problems in a marriage or a relationship, and can manifest themselves in different ways, such as jealousy, anger, compulsiveness, rage, etc.
To start to have an honest conversation about control is to start to depressurize it, and to stop letting it affect your relationship in the subtle and myriad ways that it does.