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Monday, 30 January 2012

Pinky and Brain Are So Unhappy Though

When you are like me, you like to control things. This feels nice and self-protective, like a hug and a shove of independence, all at once. The assurance is there that things and people are exactly as you perceive them, and if anything decides to go wrong, you have that knowledge to fall back on. A blanket of security when not knowing is not enough.
The problem with being this way is that a) you start to see things as hum-drum and horrible, exactly as you’ve predicted them to be in your head and b) eventually people start to notice that you’re a bit of a douchebag, thinking that you know who they are and what they like before you’ve even waited for their answer.
There is no making light of this either, although it feels easier to swallow that way. Here’s a few things a controlling vag-bag like myself would say:
“You were taking a while so I got you a cappuccino”
“Oh, but I was thinkin I wanted a hot chocolate though”
“Well, here’s your capp.”
“You’re mad because I’m being slow”
“I’m not mad though.”
“Come on, you don’t act like this when you're happy.”
Even as I write this, I wish i could just scroll the words, “I’m an asshole, fuck it.” across the page, but I can’t because that would be alleviating responsibility and/or guilt and would imply that people are just born controlling assholes. And in my opinion, nurture wins over nature in this one. This type of assholiness is an entirely learned behaviour.
I have one friend who has a catch phrase that describes perfectly the mistreatment of people. With a smirk on her face and a far-off, I-don’t-want-to-discuss-this-depressing-topic-anymore look on her face she says, “It happens everyday.” To which, I am usually struck with silence and a persistent need to sip my coffee. She’s right, and that fact never fails to make me terribly uncomfortable. Everyday someone is defining what someone else should feel, think, want, hate, love or desire. Everyday someone on the receiving end of being controlled croons because the person telling them what to feel, think, want, hate, love or desire, knows them so Goddamn well. And so the cycle of perpetual control and permanent mind-fucking begins.
Why do we do this? Animal instinct? Childhood trauma? Hitler’s rippling influence? If you recall, Hitler shot himself in the head. Most people think it’s because he lost the war. I like to think its because he realized that every life has value and couldn’t handle the blooming guilt, thus putting a bullet in his brain. Either way, he was clearly unhappy. And it couldn’t have hurt if he had chose to be a little less controlling.
I’ve spent a lot of awesome time reading about the after-effects of being controlled or abused, and the results are awful. What’s odd about the control dynamic though, is its inherent contradiction: people are controlling to feel better about themselves, but evidence and life-experience show that they mostly just end of feeling bored, apathetic, and lame. It’s lonely at the top, especially when you’ve ruined everyone else on the way up. That’s the major paradox, we do it feel better, but just end up worse.
So if all this is true, what do we do to stop this dynamic? I am not the first to pose this question, and the hierarchy of human nature suggests that we’ll struggle with this issue for the rest of time, facing wars and killing each other as a means to the end of ultimate power. But, in the meantime, we can start at home, with our families and friends. One of the smallest but most impacting steps one can make towards becoming less controlling is to stop using definitive statements. As you may know, definitive statements are those which tell others what to do think feel want love hate or desire. They most commonly function in a few different ways, which include:
- Ignoring ehat the person actually claimed they wanted, claiming the either you know best or that the deed is already done (as is seen in the Cappuccino example)
- Stating that your current knowledge of them is based on what you know them to be like, and understanding how they should behave (as is with the ‘You’re mad because’ example)
- General or extreme lies which are meant to provoke emotion, cause confusion, or both.
Definitive statements, to someone who has never had control issues (if there be such a person) may seem like a bunch of hooglygook. But to ignore relevance the issue of control that has plagued us since the start of time and will continue to do so until the Second Coming (ha...haha), is to deny that the sky is blue. Even if you arn’t like me and you manage to keep all your friends and your social life intact, at some point or another you will be effected by this problem. It is like the cancer of the social world.
Finally, it is my opinion that, if this issues are not nipped in the dirty little bud early-on in life, well, you have prime breeding grounds for more relationship violence, domestic abuse, and in extreme cases, murder. (It is important to get the controlling under control before spawn of Mein Kampf begin popping up everywhere!) On a smaller scale though, it ruins many friendships before they even begin. I lost one of my best friends this year, not from some normal cause like my boyfriend hates you or the cumulative sexual tension between us has totally mucked up everything, but because I was controlling the entire time. Without even fully recognizing it for what it was. Imagine that.
Needless to say, he’s gone, For good, not that he’s leaving much because I never knew the real him anyways. Just the person I had decided he was and the role he had, in turn, decided to put up with. I guess that’s why I’ve rambled on for so damn long now-- simply because I wanted to point out, on a broad spectrum, the severe dangers of controlling behavior. To give a refresher, the three options are: 1. End up like Hitler 2. End up abusive 3. Lose all your friends (or at least your best ones), due to the fact that you never truly got to know them in the first place. The pickin’s are pretty slim, if you ask me.

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