Someone appears to be calm and agreeable, and yet they’re trying to control you or the situation at the same time. In fact, if we’re honest, we’ve even been that person! Submissive And Controlling at the same time, is it possible?
We’ve probably all felt that tension in a relationship at least once, right?
Well, we’ve had this question pop up from time to time, so we wanted to tackle it head-on: can someone be both submissive and controlling simultaneously? Yes, absolutely.
There’s some frustration, agitation, and maybe even a little manipulation. I mean, people are people, we’re all human, and at times we can get a little controlling and self-centered.
Healthy roles with accountability are life-giving and will help us avoid getting stuck relationally!
So, we want to be able to recognize this activity, identifying it even in ourselves, so that we can respond to it maturely, with humility and respect, safeguarding ourselves and the relationship.
If we’re successful here in bringing balance and proper alignment to our relationships, we’ll enjoy fewer breakdowns, more harmony, and even more happiness with others.
I hope you enjoy this episode!
Chris LoCurto 0:00
What's the difference between being controlling and submissive? Well, there are ditches to avoid on both sides of that equation. And today we'll uncover each of those and help you to avoid the pitfalls. And if that's not enough analogies, we'll probably have more on the show that is coming up next.
Chris LoCurto 0:27
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks, I hope you're having a fabulous day, wherever you are. Question for you. How many times have you observed someone someone you know, come across as passive, but under the surface you were they were trying to control the situation or even another person? Have you ever recognized that situation? Here's the question, can we be both submissive and controlling at the same time? Now I want to unpack this question that we received recently from a client, because I think it's important to acknowledge this behavior, not only in others, but more importantly, firstly, in ourselves, right, then we can also recognize it a heck of a lot easier and a lot faster and other people. But once again, what's so important that we recognize when are we doing it, if we can see when we're doing it, then we can, obviously recognizing it, recognize it and others. And that also helps us to make sure that we make right decisions in the moment. So what does it mean to be submissive, now there is there is healthy, fruitful and even biblical side of an appropriately submissive posture. Scripture tells us to submit to God and to resist the devil tells us to submit to those who employ us as well as those who govern us as an authority that's been placed in over our lives by God. Now, you may not like a lot of that, and you may disagree with God on that, but well, he does say he has something to do with that. So we should understand that it also tells us to submit to each other in love. If we do that, if we put people before ourselves, if we prefer others above ourselves, then it's an antidote for selfish and self centered ways. So think about this, it is incredibly difficult to really focus on yourself to be super selfish or self centered.
When you're putting others first now, we're talking about that in the sense of putting other people first loving other people more than yourself. But we're gonna hit the other side of this, right, we're gonna get to the other side as well. So there are appropriate and right ways to be aligned with others. There's health and order, giving us fruit in the mutual rapport. With that comes healthy accountability, which is life giving and helps us avoid a lot of problems. So it doesn't necessarily mean that we're going to always agree with the other person. But it does mean that we respect the person. We respect the role that we're trying to foster harmony, we're trying to help people to choose happiness. So when we come back, examining the other side of submissiveness so that we can avoid it. Folks, if you've been listening to me for any length of time, than you know, the number one issue, when it comes to business, when it comes to family, when it comes to friendships, is having a lack of high quality communication, to make sure that you are absolutely winning in every aspect of your life. It all starts with having great communication. The best way to get that communication is to understand your personality style, and to understand the personality style of the folks that you're spending the most time with, whether it be at work, whether it be at home, the best way to do that is to go to Chris locurto.com/store and get your personality profile and personality profiles for your team to day get it for your family members. Today. As you go through that profile, you will begin to see the greatest ways to communicate go to Chris recruiter.com/store today.
Chris LoCurto 4:32
So there is another side to submissiveness. Now, this is the downside where things get out of balance. It's a it's a it's a passivity that seeks to avoid conflict and or responsibility. I think we all can understand that. I think we can all relate to that even the person who doesn't tend to have a problem with conflict, there are probably times that There is a level of passing on responsibility that comes with submissiveness that they can, they can understand they can relate to. So instead it harbors fear, frustration, and it also can hide abuse. Some examples are sometimes you might find wives that will abdicate their, their voice in a home out of fear of, of a domineering or, or overly critical husband who doesn't appropriately love and respect his wife, we we, we probably relate to that a heck of a lot more than the other one that happens a lot nowadays, as well, which is sometimes fathers will remain aloof, sometimes the husband in a marriage or in a family will, will abdicate their role in the home assuming a passive submissive posture, it may look like he's deferring or being preferential to a spouse about the you know, things like disciplining the children or, you know, not stepping up and making things happen making decisions. But a lot of times, it's avoiding responsibility. Most of the time, I will tell you, it's avoiding conflict. Most of the time, when you see a submissive husband who is submitted his authority, you know, or even submissive wife, that is submitted her authority, it's because there's an incredibly controlling spouse. And we're gonna get to those pieces as well.
Sometimes, it's an employee who accepts a certain level of harshness or even abuse by domineering bosses seeking to avoid conflict, just so that they can get by not rock the boat. How many people have you known that have stayed in a job with a terrible leader, because they didn't want to rock the boat, they didn't want to create more conflict. And unfortunately, they stayed in that type of position for a very long time. So those are areas of people submitting their authority, or what we would call being, it doesn't just necessarily mean that you're submitting your authority. But usually, what we discover is, is that when somebody is incredibly submissive in those types of unhealthy situations, that immediately what they hand over is their their authority. You know, I don't have authority in this situation, I don't have the ability to fix this, I don't have the ability to change this. You know, whatever it is that's going through their mind, they're choosing that they do not have a position or an authority to stand up. Now, sometimes it could be true. But you always have an option, you always have a choice. And that's an important thing for every person to understand. If you work for a very domineering boss, who's a total jerk and is abusive. You don't have to work there. Oh, but it's so difficult to find yet. No, it's not. There's tons of jobs out there available.
Chris LoCurto 8:00
Oh, well, you don't understand my situation. Listen, here's what I'm saying. There's always options. There's always choices. And the crazy thing is when the person who finds themselves in that situation does make a choice to get out of that crap. To get out of people, leading them that way or treating them that way, then usually what they do is look back and go, I wish I'd have done that five years earlier. So So what does it mean to be controlling? Let's look at the other side of this coin. So controlling behavior, on the other hand, is exerting influence, power or supposin power, or position over another person, which is usually out of fear, insecurity, or even sometimes Believe it or not past trauma, in an effort to impose one's will. The goal is that I impose my will on you, if I'm a controlling person, the controlling person seeks to coerce or subordinate another person, right? This is almost always when a controlling person feels out of control. Now, you've heard me say this a billion times you've probably heard other people talk about this as well. control is an illusion, right? I can't control you except to physically control you. I can't control your mind. I can't make you think something. I can't make you feel anything. Well, that person makes me feel sad or angry or hurt or nope, nobody can make you feel those feelings. You choose those feelings. Those feelings are things that are happening inside of you. I can highly suggest that you feel sad, hurt, abused, whatever, I can highly suggest it. But I don't make you feel it. Once you choose it. Then you actually have that feeling right? You have that belief. This is where so much of the control comes from right. So much of control isn't that I can actually control you Right, if I can control you physically, then I got you physically that's about it. But your feelings, thoughts, your, in your intellect, your emotions, those aren't things that I can control of you, those are things that you have to choose, right.
So if I highly suggest to you that you're stupid, gosh, that just gives me chills to even say that out loud because of how many times I know that people do that, right? If I highly suggest to you that you're not good enough that you're not pretty enough, you're not smart enough, you're not handsome enough, you're not funny enough, you don't do a good enough job, whatever it is, if I'm highly suggesting that to you, and it's not factually based information that is, is constructive. To help you in a situation like if you're a worker, and you're not doing a good enough job, and I as your leader come along, and have to sit down and have a tough conversation with you know, things you're not doing well, then that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about the person who wants to set your reality that you're not good enough that you're not worthy enough, right? The goal is ultimately to bend someone else to their will. So the hopeful outcome for the controlling person is that they feel back in control and or powerful. So the goal is to ultimately bend someone else to their will, the hopeful outcome for the controlling person is that they feel back in control and or powerful, and that their intended target feels less than worthless or not even, you know, not good enough. That's what they're hoping for. They're feeling out of control, they feel like they have to take control, which again, they can't take control, they can only highly suggest that somebody feels a specific way, if that person receives it, then the controlling person will tend to feel back in control, they will definitely many times feel powerful. Many times it is to convince themselves that they are powerful. If the intended target appears to have received the control mechanism that control maneuvers, let me say it that way, then they feel a heck of a lot better about themselves as a controlling person, they feel back in control. In those moments that is incredibly self, you know, self centered, selfish, the other person and how they feel is not the focus of that controlling person. The goal is to hurt that person in a way that the controlling person feels better about themselves. And the whole time, this is the crazy thing. None of it is actually real,
Chris LoCurto 12:42
I can't control you. What is real is that I can suggest that you hurt, I can suggest that you feel bad about yourself, I could suggest that you're not good enough. And if you receive it, which is completely your choice, then I convince myself that I've controlled you. That's how the controlling person responds. They actually convince themselves look at me, I've heard that person, which means I'm back in control, yada, yada, yada. It's just a ridiculous cycle. Right? It would be so different if somebody could actually make somebody feel that way. The problem is, is that on the other side of this, when we receive it, it was our choice. Those of us who have received plenty of controlled suggestion in our lives, I can tell you, I've got tons of it in my background. Those of us that have received that and then turned it into our own truth. Well, that's our fault. That's on us guys. If we choose for that to happen, we can't then turn around and blame somebody else and say, You made me feel this way. The key is we've got to know how to be able to stand up, we've got to know how to be able to put healthy boundaries in place. We've got to be able to know truth about ourselves. For all of us who are believers in God, you need to know His truth. Because no matter what man says, Only God can tell you the truth about you. Right? So if man tries to set your reality that is different than God's, you shouldn't be listening. You shouldn't be receiving it. You should give it right back to that person and walk on thinking about controlling people is they are manipulators. Controllers seek to get their own way at the expense of other people, folks, this is a form of abuse. When you recognize it that way, if you can see that submissive people out there that I'm talking to, if you can see that and recognize that it's abusive, then hopefully you can put some healthy Doctors. Now, when we come back, putting those two pieces of the puzzle together, seeing what submissive and controlling behavior looks like, at the same time.
Unknown Speaker 15:13
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Speaker 2 15:17
felt so welcomed and loved and accepted for who I am, and not an ounce of judgment. So I was very comfortable there, that had a really big impact on me, that's going to be worth it. It's going to be hard, but it's going to be even better. On the other side.
Unknown Speaker 15:34
For me, it was just, it was just very refreshing. And I'm gonna say lifegiving. For me, it really was,
Speaker 2 15:40
you know, I would go to your next level life again, and probably again, and probably again, because it's so powerful. If you want
Chris LoCurto 15:49
to experience the same kind of life transformation, the same kind of self awareness and freedom that they have. Or maybe you're just curious what the process would look like for you, then head on over to Chris locurto.com/next level life.
Chris LoCurto 16:07
Okay, the big question now is, Can controllers, can controlling people act in a submissive way? Or vice versa? Yep. The answer is yes. And it's not so strange when you think about it. So if a submissive person is pushed or controlled long enough, to the point of emotional pain, some, some and it's not a large group, but some submissive people can become incredibly controlling through victim mentality. Now it's an order to try and gain some level of control. Think about that. When they're pushed long enough, hard enough. And they don't want to betray themselves, because they're allowing somebody to push on him in a specific way. What can happen through victim mentality, what am I saying? I'm saying that person believes this is happening to them, they don't have any other alternatives. Now, most submissive people allow it to happen to them, they may still be in victim mentality, they may still be saying that they don't have any options or any alternatives, and they just go on and they allow it to exist. But there is a small group of submissive people push long enough, hard enough, that victim mentality will build up so much in their mind that they can begin by being passive aggressive, and project, you know, all kinds of stuff on to the other person, they can even blow up into full blown control and sound a whole lot like the controlling person themselves. And they can start to manipulate others, they can do it through veiled threats, they can do it through belittling or teasing, they can use guilt as a tool for influence. There's all kinds of little tools that a person uses at that point, it doesn't look doesn't look much different than the controlling person, amount of fact, that looks just like the controlling person, right? The difference is, is that the controlling person feels out of control and is trying to take control the submissive person and again, this is a smaller group, but they do exist. The submissive person in this situation is actually fighting to gain control from where they feel like they've fallen to, they feel so far behind, they feel so attacked, they feel so pushed, that they will actually fight to just try and get back to some level of normalcy in their mind, which is, again, trying to not betray themselves and allow themselves to be in their mind victim mentality wise, beat down.
Why am I saying it like that submissive people listen to me. I'm one of you. So the first half of my life was very much submitting myself to people, and allowing them to tell me, who I was, what I was, how I thought, how I screwed up, you know, everything in their life that I never even came close to, and was responsible for their problems and pains and everything and wasn't even in the room when they were experiencing things. So I know, I know what you're feeling right now. No, I know what you're thinking. Right? Listen to me. We're talking about the response. The response that says, I must battle back says that's a great indicator that you're already behind. That's a great indicator that you've already been receiving what this person is doing, or people could be even sometimes it's people that do it. That's showing you know, you should take a hard look at how you're feeling inside. And if you've got adrenaline pumping, if you've got frustration pumping, anger pumping, and you believe that you're being attacked and you very well maybe that's a great indicator that you are allowing yourself to get out of control.
Chris LoCurto 20:00
But what you're convincing yourself is this other person is forcing you act attacking you to be out of control. So you have to recognize those things. If you can recognize it, then you can start giving back the things that are being said to you, in a very healthy way, I'm not going to receive that is a lie, you can keep that I can't stay in this conversation. This is a very unhealthy conversation, you know, all kinds of tools that you can do to push back. So seemingly submissive and passive people can act as reality setters for other people. What do I mean by that? You hear me say that a lot. It's something that we it's a term that we use, setting one's reality, that's saying, It's not saying truth. If I look at you, and you are wearing a blue shirt, or a blue dress, and I say you're wearing a blue shirt, or a blue dress, I'm not setting your reality. If you're wearing a blue shirt, or a blue dress, and I go, you're wearing a pink shirt or a pink dress, I've now set your reality. I'm telling you what your reality is. And it's incorrect. If I am telling you, you're a jerk, and you're not being a jerk, I've just set your reality. The problem is, is that many times we don't recognize if we are being a jerk than somebody who's not technically setting our reality, we need to take responsibility. So quite often for what we do for a living myself, Joel, other folks and you know, Aaron, other folks and in in our company, we have people that try and set our reality. And the first thing we have to immediately do is ask the question, Are they right? Is what they're saying? Correct? Why? Because it is way more important to recognize, especially as people who lead others, did we just do something wrong? Most of the time, what you'll find out very quickly is Nope, that is not correct. The reason why they're struggling with this while they're setting my reality is because they're hurting. They're, they're experiencing pressure, they're feeling whatever, right? Once we recognize that, then we can go on by giving them healthy feedback, push, you know, healthy options.
Sometimes it just comes in the form of healthy questions. Hey, question for you, em. Do you feel like I'm attacking you right now? Do you feel like I'm hurting you right now? Are you feeling in? The amazing thing is, as a person who works through those things, they go, no, no, no, I'm sorry. This feels like something else. And I'll talk about that in just a little bit. A lot of times it can feel like the pressure of other situations. But what you will find somebody who is fighting back as a submissive person who's becoming controlling, you might find them saying things like you are this or that you think this or that you never this or that you always this or that you have this or that, you know, fill into this or that fill in the blanks there. They come back with setting a reality really harshly. And the reason why is because they understand that's the thing that tends to work against them. And it really can very quickly in their minds, and sometimes it's truth, throw the other person off that immediate attack, they hate it. The type of submissive person who takes this controlling posture actually hates it, they hate taking the posture, they don't feel good about it at the time, they have convinced themselves that they are a victim and that they're being attacked usually. And again, that could very well be true. They tend to throw Barb's when they feel threatened, even if and here's the tough part. There is no threats. Now, once again, most of the time, they probably do have some other controlling people who are setting their reality. I know I keep saying this because I want you to see the healthy version of this right.
Chris LoCurto 23:58
They can respond just as controlling was someone who is healthy and is trying to help them the pressure that they feel in the healthy situation can feel surprisingly the same as they feel with the unhealthy people in the unhealthy situations. Let me say that again. Quite often what we experienced the next level life and strat plan, just in coaching. Quite often what we experience is, as we're helping somebody get through something, sometimes the pressure of the health that help actually feels like the pressure from a controlling person that they're used to. And usually what we can do is trace it back to a very controlling parent somewhere very controlling spouse very controlling leader boss in their life. So force of habit response actually tends to push them straight into Self Protection through control. Force, a habit response tends to push them straight to self protection through control. When they feel that same, that same pressure, and it's in a healthy sense, which is why we start asking the healthy questions, what are you feeling right now? What are you experiencing? Do you feel like you're being attacked? Do you feel like, Have I said, anything that's hurt you have it, you know, when you actually walk through the Healthy questions, it allows that person to go, nope, you haven't. Okay? Then let's get to what you're experiencing, which is the pressure of the help. How does the pressure the help feel? Well, it feels a lot like I'm about to get my head ripped off, it feels a lot like about. And what they'll do is they'll start to explain, usually somebody from their past how somebody would have handled that situation in the past. And so crazy enough, they don't have enough healthy people, giving them help in situations like this. So when it does come up, and it hurts a little bit, and it's a little painful, they recognize that as being the same type of pressure, once you walk them through it, they're like, oh, my gosh, I can't believe that feels the same as this other situation. So some things you may notice, you know, these tactics are obviously to gain leverage. Hopefully, you know, hopefully, they haven't gone bonkers, controlling and are demanding it. But sometimes what you'll discover is that they have a tendency to stuck things down, that there's things that they haven't dealt with, with their internal their own internal issues, there's things that they haven't communicated very well, sometimes they, they feel like they haven't communicated the thoughts very well. And somebody's not taking it very well or not responding very well. So when we don't address the conflict openly and objectively, then it can pile up internally. And it can start just leaking out until it becomes you know, eventually a flood. It can come out little by little. Sometimes it's just a little barbs, little barbs, little barbs, and then it might turn into things like defensiveness, it might turn into lashing out, it might turn into attacks. So you might have a different situation where a person adopts a submissive approach with one person, but as entirely controlling with someone else in a different environment. That is also something that we see something that we experience, it's possible that you've got a spouse that is controlling in home, privately, and then when they're in their workplace, they're more submissive, the same person is experiencing very different things, different atmospheres, different personalities, in the different situation. So if they're in the context of home, it's very possible that they're feeling threatened.
It's very possible that they're feeling abused, it's very possible that they're feeling out of control. I mean, there's so many different ways to look at this. Again, if we're looking at just the controlling person, then we know exactly where they're they're starting at, they're starting at feeling out of control, they're trying to take control, if we're talking about the submissive person, it can be that they've been so controlled for so long, and allowed it that they're having to fire back. So it's possible that when they get to work, this person doesn't feel threatened, it may be that they know the hierarchy, and they don't feel out of control, it could be that they feel comfortable in the role, and they don't feel like they need to, to expose any insecurities, they maybe feel like they can hide their insecurities. And they don't have to worry about anything, they don't feel like they need to self protect. Now I can tell you also, if you experience a spouse being aggressive, demanding critical in the home, then what you may see is that they're actually bringing home a lot of the stress that they're experiencing at work.
Chris LoCurto 29:01
A lot of times, a person who is more comfortable with their family will have a tendency to take out their other stresses on their family. Or even on just people that they're close to, or trust or, you know, feel like they're not going to lose that relationship with. It's not the kind of thing that they would do at work. It might be something that they bring home from the office, it could be career frustrations, it could be you know, it could be that there's a team member at work, that's that's just totally rude or jerk to them or is not being helpful, whatever it is. Maybe they can't resolve the insecurities that they're feeling and the you know, the inner conflicts that they're experiencing at work. So they internalize them until they get home. Then they start projecting flaws, they start projecting failures on those around them. I will tell you, that tends to be more again of the controlling person than it does the submissive person who just randomly comes home and As it however, there still that percentage, that smaller percentage of those that are submissive, that sometimes they just need a place to dump their emotions, their feelings, their you know what they're experiencing, and unfortunately, the people they trust the most or feel the most comfortable with are at home. So what do we do about this? Well, first thing we have to do the first step towards finding healing, the first step towards finding health is that we have to recognize and acknowledge this behavior in ourself start with you start asking yourself the question, when do I become controlling? When do I feel out of control, that's actually the best start, write it down, take, sit down, take yourself about 30 minutes or more, you may need more. And write down every situation where you feel out of control, I will tell you, most likely, the places that you feel out of control have to do with failure.
Chris LoCurto 31:01
Most of the time that you feel out of control is when you feel like you have failed, where you're going to fail. And it's important to recognize those moments because if you don't do something about it, if you don't fix your situation, then guess what, you will just continue to feel out of control, it will it will push you that fear of failure that or that maybe you did fail, maybe you screwed something up. But the response is, I'm out of control. So now how do I respond, write those things down, maybe it's one people are being controlling with you. Maybe it's when you're around a specific parent, or both parents, maybe it's around siblings or whatever, write those situations down, recognize and acknowledge when you respond in a controlling matter. Once you can do that, it can help you to start recognizing other people that feel out of control. Now, be careful with this, you may need to write this down and then burn it. But once you've done the first part, spend some time thinking about other people who appear to be controlling. Now keep in mind, this is totally subjective to how you experience this person. Or it may be totally subjective to you being in victim mentality. But write down some people that are that appear to be controlling in your life, and then write down why you think they feel so out of control. When do they feel so out of control? When do they respond that way? Here's the reason why this is important. Again, once you've written this down, maybe committed to memory and burn it. You don't want people looking at that and not getting the right understanding of it. If you can see, when your spouse feels out of control, and they become controlling, if you can see when your kids feel out of control and become controlling. And you can look at it through the lens of health. In other words, you're not losing worth, you're not struggling, you're not feeling out of control, then sometimes you can help that person to recognize it as well. It's tough, the person out of control, the last thing they want is somebody else telling them how out of control they are. So you have to be very careful in the process. But if I can help somebody, see what they're experiencing, and what they're feeling in the moment, and help them to see that they feel out of control, then sometimes I can help them to avoid it. I can help them to make different decisions in the moment. So start that process, take those first steps forward, and then start putting the healthy boundaries in place. Am I being attacked? If the answer is yes, healthy boundary, you can keep that you can change your tone. I'm not going to sit here and listen to you. Talk to me that way, if you would like to talk to me like a human being, I would be glad to but this isn't going to happen right now. You can put the healthy boundaries in place that gets you out of that situation. Right? If you're not being attacked, you need to recognize it. If somebody's trying to help, and this is a very healthy process, you gotta suck it up, buttercup. You're the one who's struggling.
So it's important to recognize when you struggle with help. When you struggle with somebody being healthy in your life, start looking at these things, start looking at the times that you avoid conflict, start looking at the times you self protect, take a look at these situations, find out what they all have in common and how you respond and then start putting healthy boundaries in place. Well, folks, that's all the time we have for today. I hope this information has helped you. If you'd like more on this, just let us know. Send us an email podcast at Chris locurto.com you know give us we if this is helping you. If this show is helping you then I ask a huge favor from you. This is something that we do for free to help people as much as possible. Go rank us you know, go give us five stars if you want to, you know go leave a good review if you would like to. If you don't have any good reviews for us. You don't have to leave anything at all. That'd be fine. So, but that helps us to reach more people and help other people to experience more peace, more health, and to choose more happiness in their life. As always take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.