Welcome to Part 4 of our series on the Crazy Bitch Syndrome. We’ve talked about negging, testing and stalking. Well, today we’re going to cover the final type of crazy bitch behavior – controlling. This is the most pervasive type of crazy bitch behavior and it can really sneak up on you. If you’ve ever talked over someone else, taken something away from them because you could “do it better”, or not asked for help because they won’t do it right, you’ve experienced a version of this behavior. Of course, it can be a lot less subtle than that.
Watch today’s video to explore deeper.
Today is our fourth installment in “The Crazy Bitch Syndrome Series.” And, if you haven’t watched the other three videos, here’s a recap for you.
In part one we talked about Negging, and in part two we talked about testing people, or as I called it “The Taming of the Shrew Syndrome.” In part three we talked about “Compulsive Snooping” or “Stalking.” And today, we’re going to talk about “Controlling Behavior.” This is the big Kahuna! I totally saved the best for last.
“Crazy Bitch Behavior”, or “The Crazy Bitch Syndrome” is not just a female trait. Both men and women alike can be befallen by this syndrome. This behavior, which is triggered by our insecurities has the power to sabotage our romantic relationships, our work relationships, our family relationships, and our platonic relationships. So, basically, whenever we’re dealing with other people, any unchecked insecurities we have can and very often will cause the crazy bitch to come out.
The fourth type of behavior that I want address here today, is “Controlling Behavior”, which is when we no longer treat the other person as an equal, and we start going into dictator or controlling parent mode when we are with them. For example, you can do this with your partner, or your partner can do this with you. Bosses can do this, co-workers can do this and family members can definitely do it. It’s essentially where one person treats another person more like a child who has messed up, rather than as a partner, or as an equal, or as another adult. If you’ve been befallen by this syndrome and your crazy bitch is coming out, then you might treat the other person like this without even realizing you’re doing it or without meaning to do it.
So, what does that look like? Well, it looks like this: Your main reaction to another person (and sometimes pretty much all people) is that they can’t be trusted to do it right, and it’s YOUR job to police that, fix it and clean it up. You don’t give the other person the benefit of the doubt. You assume that they’ve screwed up, no matter what they did. You might say something like this to them: “What are you doing NOW? Just leave it. You’ll only mess it up.” The problem with this kind of approach is that there’s no respect for the other person. There’s no kindness, there’s no compassion, and there’s usually no self-awareness. Actually, there’s no self-awareness whenever the crazy bitch comes out; the crazy bitch has no self-awareness.
What is controlling behavior caused by?
What it’s really caused by is fear – usually one of two fears. There’s the fear that things are not going to go well, and that you’ll be the one who will be blamed. And then there’s the fear that the other person will leave you (though death, or betrayal, or just abandonment), which then causes you to become controlling. By the way, this is totally counterproductive, because this type of behavior tends to drive people away.
Of course, there are a thousand different nuanced fears that can cause people to react in a controlling way, but they usually fall into one of these two categories. The specifics of your fear will always be unique to you, though.
So, you have some kind of fear and that fear is causing you to become really controlling, and this then causes you to become mean, disrespectful, and condescending. People do this with their kids too. Being a good parent doesn’t mean having to be a control freak. Guidance and control are not the same thing. I have seen women do this with men and I’ve seen men do this with women. I have seen bosses do this with their employees, colleagues also do it with each other, and family members definitely treat each other this way. I could probably make a video about every sub group here – controlling is a really, really, really rampant type of CBS behavior. You believe you have to control the other person. But when someone points out your controlling behavior, you may often at first want to blame others, as in “Well, if they weren’t such a fuck-up, I wouldn’t have to control everything.” That, by the way, is not helpful.
What is more helpful and what you want to do instead is to start taking a look at yourself and how you are viewing this person. Are you ever giving them the benefit of the doubt? Is your first reaction when something they did didn’t go the way that you thought it had to, something like “Argh; what have you done now?” “I knew this was going to happen! You’ve messed it up! This is ok! You ALWAYS mess everything up.” Here’s the thing to ponder: Maybe, they haven’t messed up. Maybe they’re just doing it differently. Which is ok. There’s more than one road to Rome. Notice I didn’t say there’s more than one way to skin a cat, because that’s horrible. Isn’t that horrible? What a horrible saying. Anyway, I went off on a little tangent there!
If you’re convinced that people are going to mess up before they’ve even gotten started, you’ve gone into controlling mode. Allow yourself to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe “different” is not bad. Maybe they’re more competent than you think. And maybe the reason they can’t show you that is because your vibration keeps insisting on attracting incompetence.
Can you be more compassionate when someone messes up?
Is there any compassion in the way that you’re viewing them? Even if they did mess it up, so what? Is that the end of the world? If your partner talked with his hands and the coffee cup landed on the ground and shattered, is your reaction “Oh my God, you’re always so clumsy.” (This maybe seem like a minor, arbitrary example, but this actually happened to a client of mine, and it’s representative of the controlling energy she was stuck in). Couldn’t your reaction instead be: “Whoops! I mean, shit happens. I’ve done that too.”
As a side note, I see this behavior in parents and grandparents a lot. They begin controlling the mistakes to come before they’ve even come, so there’s always this assumption that the child will mess up hanging in the air. It stifles all creativity, spontaneity, and joy.
Can you see yourself in them? Are you able to say “That could happen to me too”? Can you see that what you’re afraid of isn’t even really a big deal? And, are you seeing them as equal? Or, are you placing yourself above them with you taking on more responsibility? Are you thinking that you have to do it because they can’t? Are you making them weaker and less capable in your eyes?
We can find ourselves doing this with our partner, with our employees, or with a family member. Especially elderly family members will trigger controlling behavior, because the whole issue of mortality comes into it. We then begin treating them like incompetent little kids instead of adults who have been adulting successfully much longer than we have. Can you see how disrespectful that is?
So, controlling can be triggered by a fear of death, or a fear of loss, and can actually cause us to treat the person we’re afraid to lose with utter disrespect. Do you see the crazy in all this? Controlling can also be caused by a fear that you’ll be reprimanded by someone, and as far as you’re concerned, you’re the one who has to fix it. If you’re the older sibling, this might be something that was instilled in you from an early age, that you will always have to be the responsible one. Maybe when your younger sibling messed up you were the one that got scolded, which can install that kind of belief in you. You’ve always had to be the responsible one from an early age and you were reprimanded for something that other people did, and it’s therefore all up to you. Or, you might not have even been the older sibling, it doesn’t really matter. Maybe your parents needed you to take on certain responsibilities that were really beyond your age, and weren’t quite fair (asking you to grow up too fast). This can then lead to all different kinds of fears.
And this is understandable, but it’s not helpful. Controlling behavior sabotages your relationships, because nobody wants to be treated like that. Nobody wants to be treated like an incompetent little child. Not even children want to be treated like that.
Treating people like this will cause rifts in your relationships. It can cause your employees to hate you. They might fear you but they certainly don’t respect you. It can cause your partner to start to gravitate away from you, unless of course they’re super insecure (in which case you’re still in a very dysfunctional and imbalanced relationship.) It also causes your family members to not want to spend Thanksgiving with you.
Stopping your controlling behavior or another person’s controlling behavior
You might have a controlling family member, in which case, you’ll now have a better understanding of why they’re like that. And, if you’re so inspired, you could have a more authentic conversation with them – acknowledging their fear, and what it is they really want. If your partner is doing this to you or a family member is doing this to you, you’re most likely manifesting this as an opportunity it set some boundaries. You can do so compassionately, now that you know that it’s being triggered by fear. If they have enough self-awareness, talk to them about it.
If it’s you who’s falling into this category, sit yourself down and start to explore what it is that you’re really so afraid of, and what it is that you actually want. Understand just how counterproductive it is and how mean it is to be this controlling. Ask yourself if there’s a better way for you to get what you want.
We talked previously in the other three videos about becoming aware of what it is you really want and about asking for what you really want. That’s why I structured this 4-part series in the way I did, because the controlling aspect really encompasses a lot of the messages from the other main Crazy Bitch Behaviors. If you haven’t seen those other three videos, maybe go and watch them as well, as that’ll give you the whole picture on “The Crazy Bitch Syndrome.”
My crazy bitch behavior
We all have a crazy bitch inside us; I certainly do, and she used to come out all the time. All of these controlling behaviors that I’ve mentioned, I’ve been guilty of them in the past. So, I can speak from experience. It’s not just my clients who have had control issues; just about everybody has had control issues of some kind. I was certainly guilty of engaging in that kind of controlling behavior and it made me not so nice to be around.
When I had my very first management job in a restaurant, in San Francisco, I was a crap manager. I’ll totally admit that I was shitty at it. One of the reasons why I was so shitty was because I was super insecure. I was afraid that I was going to be found out as being a fraud. They would find out that I didn’t really know what I was talking about. Even though, I actually knew quite a bit, I thought I had to know everything. I couldn’t admit it if I didn’t know something, even something I had no way of knowing. And so, I was controlling, condescending and arrogant. I knew everything and I knew it better. I never listened, but I did a lot of talking. I constantly looked out for what people were doing wrong. After all, their behavior would reflect on me, and I was sure that they would mess it up. Different was always bad. It was my way or it was wrong. This stance didn’t make me very popular and it didn’t make me very affective. I had to learn the hard way that this just wasn’t working. But, I did pay attention and I did become a little bit more aware. I figured out that with the way I was behaving, well, I wouldn’t want to work for me; I wouldn’t want to work for a manager like me. I was actually able to turn that around and people managed ended up becoming my biggest strength. I was able to pay attention to what I was doing and why I was doing it, and then I turned it around. I began looking at my employees and myself differently, which led to a different relationship with them, and a totally different outcome. I began supporting my staff in their success, instead of getting in the way of it. I treated them with respect, asked them questions, really listened to them, and basically started treating them as equal human beings. I did the same (eventually) in my personal relationships, with similar awesome results.
If you’ve been guilty of controlling behavior, then practice awareness. Have that willingness to take a look at yourself and ask yourself, why you’re really behaving the way you are. But, ask yourself without judgment, if you can. Don’t beat up on yourself for this. Like I said, we all have a crazy bitch inside of us. You just need to remember, it’s a defensive mechanism and it comes out when our insecurities have been triggered. By becoming aware of those fears – the underlying motivation, we can then start to sooth them. Then the crazy bitch goes back in her goddam box.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on “The Crazy Bitch Syndrome”!
Until next week, when we’ll be talking about – Oh, I don’t know – whatever comes to mind; happy shiny puppy hugs and thank you for bringing your light to the world. Bye!