(Do you like this cartoon with symbols of control coming out of his mouth? You can buy it HERE.)
Here’s the catch: I would dare say most controlled people don’t know they’re being controlled. The control is so thorough, so deceptive, that they wouldn’t dream of diagnosing themselves as controlled by another person.
I know. I’ve been there! In fact, I enjoyed my controlled state. Until I realized I was not free.
Now, in hindsight, after we’ve been liberated or liberated ourselves, we can definitely see how we were controlled. But when we’re in the middle of it, when we’ve volitionally entered into this controlling relationship, and when we’re enjoying the benefits of it, it’s almost impossible to detect.
Some control is domineering and abusive, and they’ll use bullying speech and actions to control you. But… some control is subtle and sweet, where they’ll use their hurt feelings and appeals to loyalty to control you.
I’ve seen it all!
So… I’ve come up with the one question you can ask yourself to determine whether or not you’re being controlled. It will work in an overtly abusive relationship or in a subtle one. Here it is:
If I express my differing opinion, will it detrimentally affect my standing?
I’m talking about having, embracing, and expressing your own mind. Controlling your own mind.
I’m talking about how doing this will affect your relationship to the leader and the community.
I’m also talking about long term. Almost no one likes to be disagreed with. It can take time to accustom ourselves to dissent. Things could be rough for a short while. Just like in a marriage. Disagreement is never nice. But it doesn’t change the relationship long term. Just short term. In fact, it can improve it!
Some reactions can be furious. Some reactions can be tearful. And if these are used to manipulate you into recanting, this too is control.
If you say right away, “Why would I disagree with the leader? I agree with everything he/she says!” then I would suggest we may have a problem. It’s like the many married couples I’ve known who insist they’ve never had a disagreement only to end up divorced because it’s just not possible for two people to always agree. Someone is being silent or silenced, consciously or unconsciously.
I’ve tried this question on my past relationships. Yes! I can definitely say I was being controlled. Even willingly! I saw how I was not living free and responsibly with my own mind. But I was okay with it. I wish I knew to ask this question then. It would have opened my eyes to the domination I was under. Maybe.
Are you being controlled? Ask yourself this question: “If I express my differing opinion, will it detrimentally affect my standing?”
We talk about this a lot at The Lasting Supper. Please join us!