For some people, it is a case of either controlling others or being controlled; there is no middle ground. Even so, this doesn’t mean that this is something that goes through their mind.
Instead, one can feel compelled to do whatever they can to control other people. As a result of this, they are not going to think about the effect that their behaviour has on others and, even if they do, it might not have much of an effect on them.
Ultimately, one is going to be consumed by their own needs, and this is why they won’t be able to empathise with others. This is then not going to define part of their life; it will define their whole life.
When it comes to the people in their life, it is going to be a challenge for them to express themselves. Someone won’t be able to just relax and to let go; they will need to be on guard.
Through being this way, it will be a lot easier for them to handle this kind of behaviour; whereas if they were to let go and to relax, they would soon be in for a shock. Being this way is going to be far less stressful.
If someone behaves in this manner, it is going to show that they are not willing to fight back or to walk away. So, as bad as it will be for them to be controlled by another person, it won’t be enough for them to cut their ties.
And, if they do fight back and stand up for themselves from time to time, they are still going to be putting up with abusive behaviour. It is then going to be similar to someone who complains about the food they are eating, but they continue to eat it.
The Main Reason
Now, it could be said that the reason someone like this would put up with this kind of behaviour is because they have been worn down. They would then have been in a good place when they met them, yet this changed over time.
It would then be accurate to say that they are a victim and that the person who is controlling them is the perpetrator. This is then something that is black and white, with their life being out of their control.
Another way of looking at this would be to say that the only reason they ended up in this position is due to the fact that this is what feel comfortable at a deeper level. On the outside, it will seem as though they are being victimised, but in reality, they will have allowed this to take place.
This doesn’t mean that one has consciously chosen to end up in this position. What it can show is that they were brought up to tolerate this kind of behaviour, which is why they feel comfortable with controlling behaviour as an adult.
The Modern Day World
It can be hard for the average person to understand this, and this is largely due to how society perceives this kind of dynamic. Someone is like this is going to be seen as a victim and there will be no thought as to why they ended up in this type of relationship.
In addition to this, the western world is primarily concerned about what is going place externally, meaning that the inner world is generally ignored. A natural consequence of this is that very things that shape someone’s life - their beliefs, feelings and thoughts, for instance - end up being overlooked.
A New Paradigm
Until mainstream society changes how it views people who end up in abusive relationships and pays attention to how our inner world affects out outer world, a lot of people will continue to suffer unnecessarily. But as the western world rewards people who see themselves as a victim, this is unlikely to happen any time soon.
Therefore, it is down to an individual to break through their conditioning and to find this out for themselves. They can’t rely on society to do this for them; if anything, the society they live in doesn’t care about their own liberation.
When it comes to the person who is controlling, there is a strong chance that they have been this way for most of their life. So, not only will it be a challenge for the people in their life to relax and to let go, it will also be the same for them.
Their need to control just about everything in their environment will stop them from being able to embrace the present moment and to just be. Their body is likely to be stiff and tense, with this part of them being a reflection of how uptight they are up top.
Their need to control what other people can and can’t do is likely to be a means to an end; nothing more, nothing less. If they don’t do this, they are likely to feel anxious and fearful, and under this they could feel powerless and helpless.
Controlling others is then a way for them to stop themselves from feeling as though they have absolutely no control. How they feel at a deeper level is likely to be how they felt throughout their early years.
During this time, they may have been abused and/or neglected by their caregiver/s. This would have been a time when they experienced trauma, and they wouldn’t have been able to do anything it.
In order for them to stop themselves from feeling this way, they would have disconnected from their feelings and created a false-self. At this age, this might have been the only option that was available.
The Early Wound
This is not always what takes place, though; as someone can also identify with how they felt at this age, thereby, causing them to develop a victim mentality. Someone like this is then going to end up with another person who was also abused, but who has disconnected from the pain that is within them.
The trauma that each of them experienced as children is then what has brought them together as adults. It might be hard for them to remember what took place when they were younger, yet it will still be having a big effect on their life.
If one is controlling or is used to being around people who are, and they want to change their life, it might be a good idea for them to reach out for external support. This can be provided by a therapist or a healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
To be seen and recognised is something that most human beings want to experience. And while this is part of being human and nothing to feel ashamed of, these needs are going to vary from person to person.
For some people, receiving a moderate amount of attention will be enough to enhance their wellbeing. This shows that their need for attention is not overly high and it is possible for them to fulfil this need.
And then there will be others who can’t get enough attention; it then won’t matter how much they receive from others, as it won’t be enough. It is then like trying to fill a black hole; attention is given and yet it has no lasting effect on how one feels.
So there will be some people who have the need to receive attention from others and yet, this won’t completely consume their life and define how they feel. And then there will be other people whose need for attention takes over their life and how they feel is then defined by whether or not other people give them attention.
And when one allows other people to be in control of how they feel, they are giving away their power. If it was possible for someone to always get the reactions they wanted form others it wouldn’t matter, but this is not possible.
There will be times when one will be able to get the attention they desire and times when they won’t. And what people responded to at one point in time won’t necessarily lead to the same response as time goes by; because while human beings are creatures of habit, they have short attention spans.
So just because one is able to catch another person’s eye and receive the attention they desire, it doesn’t mean that the same approach will work in the future. And this can mean that one has to do something else and to continually look for new ways to engage others.
This can be seen with how often certain singers change their appearance. Through doing this, it allows them to maintain the attention of their fans. And not only can their appearance change, but they can also change their style of music.
They are aware of the fact that once something has become familiar, it no longer stands out. It is then overlooked by the mind it and it starts to look for the next thing that is not familiar.
And all the time someone is doing things to gain attention from other people; they are going to be out of touch with their own wants and needs. There could be the chance that one is in touch with what they want and need and they are able to get attention from others because of it.
But in this case, the attention they receive is secondary and is not something they have pursed directly. However, just because someone’s whole life is defined by their need for attention; it doesn’t mean that they are aware of why they behave in this way.
The need for attention could make one do things that allow them to please other people and they can also do things that have the opposite affect. Here, one doesn’t please other people, but it won’t matter as they still receive attention.
It could also be something that one only looks for when it corms to the opposite sex. It is then not something that has an impact on their whole life.
It can be hard to comprehend why some people not only have a greater need for attention than others, but why they the attention they do receive has very little, if any, effect on them.
Although they are able to receive exactly what they are asking for, it’s as if they can’t completely embrace it. So whether they receive attention or not, their level of development can end up staying the same.
And while one will have physically grown up, it doesn’t mean they have emotionally grown up. Their level of emotional development could have become stuck at a certain point during their childhood. It is then not a surprise that one has a greater need than others for attention; as they simply didn’t get the attention they needed whilst growing up.
It is then not possible for one to grow out of the need to receive excessive amounts of attention from others. If they did receive the attention they needed, it would have allowed them to form a strong sense of self.
Sense Of Self
And through having a sense of self, one is no longer dependent on other people to define their identity or how they feel. But when someone’s needs and wants were not met on a consistent basis during ones childhood years, it can cause them to be dependent on other people for these things as an adult.
So in order for one to no longer need as much attention from others and to build up their own sense of self, it will be important for them to receive what they didn’t receive whist growing up.
This might mean that one needs to receive the positive regard that they didn’t receive whilst growing up. And when they are affirmed and this could be happening for the first time in their life, they might no longer need to receive so much attention from others.
The emotional pain that one experienced through not getting their needs met all those years ago may have stayed trapped in their body. If this is the case, one will need to release the trapped emotions from their body. One can be assisted here by a therapist, healer or some kind of body worker.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to acting in ways that are healthy and functional, is something known as compulsive behaviour. This is something that has received wide spread publicity in recent years.
When someone behaves in ways that are compulsive, it means that they are not acting in a conscious manner. Here, they feel as though they have no control over what they do or don’t do.
It’s as if they are possessed by some kind of force and are quiet simply powerless to change what is taking place. There are going to be some instances where this kind of behaviour is looked upon with acceptance and other times when it is seen as dysfunctional and unhealthy.
If one was to compulsively go to the gym or to engage in some kind of exercise, in the short term, it could be seen as productive. And yet if this went on for too long or started to have a negative impact on others areas of one’s life, it would be dysfunctional and unhealthy.
When ones leaves their house and locks their door, it would be normal to check it at least once; on the odd occasion when doubts arise as to whether they have actually locked it or not. But if one was to go back to the door every time that they lock it and check the door five times for example, it is a sign that something is not right.
Another common occurrence is around cleaning ones hands and cleanliness in general. To make sure one is clean and well kept can be a reflection of how much they respect and value themselves. However, if this is taken to the extreme and one is constantly washing their hands, then something is out of balance within.
While these behaviours are not always functional and healthy, they enable one to feel more relaxed and at ease, at least for a short time. So one can feel a sense of anxiety, fear, shame or guilt and by behaving in these ways; it allows them to regulate their emotions.
And as these behaviours repress the emotions and don’t deal with them, it means that these behaviours or rituals have to be performed constantly. This is why they become compulsive; for if one just did something once that would not be enough.
What these compulsive behaviours allow is for the ego mind to feel a sense of control. Although one is clearly out of control, the mind is in control of being out of control. The ego operates through control; for to be out of control would be interpreted as death to the mind.
This is because when something is familiar to the mind; it becomes what is classed as safe; so when something is out of control or unfamiliar, it will cause one to feel unsafe. Whether it is of functional or healthy is irrelevant. So in this instance, one’s mind has learnt to become comfortable through acting in ways that are compulsive. If one didn’t act in these ways, pain would be experienced and it wouldn’t feel safe.
The ego mind has numerous defence mechanisms to avoid the pain that is coming up from the body. For if this pain was not dealt with by the minds defence mechanisms, it would lead to one being overwhelmed by emotions and feelings.
But even though the mind does have these ways of dealing with pain, they are not long term solutions and are only short term solutions at best. And when this emotional pain is not dealt with, it will cause one to act in ways that they have no control over.
A body that is full of trapped emotions and feelings is going to be far too much for the mind to handle. It will be like trying to put a forest fire out with a watering can. The thoughts that one has around compulsive behaviour are a result of the mind interpreting how one feels - ‘my body feels this way, so therefore I think this way’.
The Typical Approaches
One could try and change their behaviour and this is going to be a struggle all the time they feel as they do. To behave in another way will only cover up these feelings and cause one to become even more disconnected from them.
And changing ones thoughts might settle the mind down and have a small impact on ones behaviour. However, the feelings in the body are still there and so it will be a battle between body and mind.
If the trapped feelings and emotions were not in the body, the mind would not have to interpret them and create negative thoughts as a consequence. And if the body was at peace, then there would be no need to act in dysfunctional ways to regulate how one feels.
These trapped emotions can be the result of what has happened during ones adult years and go back to when one was a child and even a baby. When one doesn’t feel that it is safe to express their feelings and emotions, perhaps because the emotional support is not there, they can up being stored in the body. This can be in ones: skin, bones, muscles and organs.
While these feelings and emotions that are trapped in the body can end up controlling how one behaves, they do not belong there. So it can feel as though one is being controlled by something and that they have no control.
One can face and release their trapped feelings and emotions with the assistance of a therapist or a healer. As this takes place, one’s mind and body can work together instead of fighting each other. And one can choose how they behave, as opposed to feeling that it is out of their control.
How we respond to others and how others respond to us can appear to be random and without reason at times. And at others times, it can be patently obvious as to why we have behaved as we have towards another or why they behaved as they have towards us.
But whether one is aware of their behaviour or not, one is still playing a large part in how others are treating them. The same is true of another person and in how one treats them.
Even though one has a certain amount control and influence over how others treat them, it doesn’t mean that this control and influence is always utilised. In some cases, one may be completely unaware of this and come to conclude that they are just observing what is taking place. One could then end up feeling like a victim of circumstance.
Now, some areas of one’s life will be more important than others when it comes to how they teach others to treat them. Ones partner or lover, colleagues, family and friends are all going to be vital areas here.
If one has a lot of interactions in these relationships where they are not being treated in a way that honours who they are, then how they have behaved in the past and continue to behave is likely to be a key factor.
What can make it difficult to notice that one is having an effect on how others treat them is if this behaviour feels normal. And this could be due to them having put up with this kind of behaviour since the very beginning of their life.
So one may not think about the role they are playing in all of this as there experience of others has always been the same. It could then be seen as how life is and as a reflection of who one is.
If one is treated by others in a way that is empowering or respectful, it won’t be a problem. But if one is treated by others in a way that is disrespectful and disempowering then problems will arise.
Perhaps one is has become accustomed to: being taken advantage of, controlled, compromised, abused, humiliated and continually let down by others for instance.
While one may believe that this is out of their control, if they look close enough they will see that there are patterns to how people treat them. With there being nothing random or unexpected about how others treat them. One may expect to be treated in these ways.
As one looks back on how each interaction started and the ones that followed, there will be certain clues. And these could subtle or they could be painfully obvious. And how one responded to how the other person behaved during these interactions will often define how they will behave in future interactions.
This could relate to one tolerating certain behaviours that didn’t feel right and even though this was the case, they didn’t speak up or let the other person know.
And when one doesn’t inform the other person that how they are behaving in not acceptable, either verbally or nonverbally, then the other person is going to assume that is it acceptable. They don’t even have to be someone who is malicious; all they are doing is responding to the signals that are being given.
This is not to say that everything another person does is pure in intention, as some people do try to take advantage of others. And this is when one needs to respond in the right way; so that another person comes to realise that their behaviour is not acceptable.
At a deeper level, the reason one puts up with certain behaviour that doesn’t honour who they are is because it will feel comfortable. And so it is often more about ones inner resistance to standing up for themselves than it is about what the other person is or is not doing.
The ego mind creates associations of familiarity around things that one has experienced a lot. And these become what are classed as safe. So going against what feels comfortable can feel like death to the mind.
What one feels comfortable with and what they don’t will have to be questioned. As it won’t be healthy to feel comfortable putting up with behaviour that is disrespectful and invalidates who one is.
Here, it might be beneficial to take a closer look at the relationships in one’s life that are dysfunctional and to what the defining moments were. Or the small things that were allowed to accumulate and get out of hand.
The perception one has of themselves will often define what they will and won’t put up with. And so as ones idea of themselves changes, the type of behaviour they will or won’t put up with will change
This may involve letting go of certain things that no longer reflect who one is. As this happens, one will be less likely to be attracted to or attract people who are disrespectful into their life. And this can be done through the assistance of a therapist, healer or some kind of coach. Or some kind of self inquiry can assist one in this process.
No matter what gender someone is or where they have come from, there is likely to be moments where they feel angry. This is part of the human experience and it plays a valuable role in our survival as individuals and as a species.
In most cases, anger is nothing more than feedback and is informing someone that they are being compromised. Their boundaries are being crossed and that some kind of action needs to be taken.
However, this natural and healthy process can end up becoming dysfunctional. And like so many other human aspects; if it is not expressed in a healthy and functional manner.
And while anger is a word and an experience that most people can relate to, there are many other ways that anger can be experienced that are often not as familiar. These are: resentment, irritation, aggression, rage, depression and hate.
At first it will be anger that is experienced, but over time this can turn into these other experiences. This can be due to a numbers of reasons and one of these reasons is repression.
Here, anger can be covered up for what could be a few days, to a number of years. And instead of it being a momentary experience, it then becomes a state of being.
The Cover Up
This may be something that one engages in all of the time or only ignores their anger during certain times and around specific people. But one thing is clear, and that is although one may do all they can to cover up how they actually feel, it will be observable in some way.
There can be many reasons why someone can feel compromised and therefore angry. Some of these can be the result of feeling: abused, ignored, violated and taken advantage of.
If one doesn’t acknowledge how they truly feel and the experience that they are having, it is going to appear in a way that may be dysfunctional and disempowering. And one of the most common ways that this come be known is through passive aggressive behaviour. It could be described as revenge that has been delayed.
This behaviour can be extremely subtle and hard to spot at first. And this has the potential to create frustration and anger in the person who is observing the behaviour.
In some cases, this can lead to one taking on board the anger and frustration that the passive aggressive is not willing to face themselves. Here, one can start to feel angry for no apparent reason when they are around the person. At a conscious level one can be oblivious to this fact, but at an unconscious level, it is being picked up. And confusion then occurs at a conscious level.
But while the observer of this behaviour can feel angry or frustrated, if they were to question the person who is passive aggressive about the role they are playing, they may even dismiss and deny what is taking place. Claiming not to be angry in any way and that the person who is observing this behaviour actually has anger problems.
It could be that they have no awareness of their passive aggressive behaviour. And if one has a pattern of attracting people who are passive aggressive, then they may have some work to do around anger.
Passive aggressive behaviour can appear in many different forms and guises. And some of these are:
· When someone turns up late
· When someone forgets to do something
· When someone becomes cold or distant
· When someone becomes silent
When someone behaves in the ways that have been described above, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are being passive aggressive. These have to be taken in context and weighted up with other sources of information.
To be passive aggressive is not a functional way of behaving or a sign of maturity. However, it is there for a reason and the primary reason is that it is what feels safe. We all have an ego mind and what is familiar is what is classed as safe. And to be passive aggressive will be what feels safe or comfortable.
If this person was to act another way, there would be the potential for fear to arise. As to the ego mind, if something is unfamiliar it will be interpreted as the equivalent of death
So if this person was to express their anger in a functional and healthy way, it wouldn’t feel comfortable and may even feel dangerous.
For one to express their anger in a healthy and functional way, it will be imperative that they have a healthy relationship with anger. And as anger is often labelled as negative and destructive in today’s world, it is common for people to believe that anger is a bad thing.
One of the biggest influences in the kind of relationship that one has with anger will be their childhood years. If their caregivers dealt with their anger in ways that were generally healthy, it would have been likely that they passed this ability on. And one therefore had healthy models to mirror and internalise.
However, if their caregivers repressed or denied their anger or expressed it but discouraged it in others, then this would have been modelled and internalised. And as a child, ones ego mind would have formed associations around this behaviour being what is familiar and therefore safe. So to behave in another way could cause one to feel: rejected, vulnerable or abandoned for example.
Just because something happened many years ago and the mind has forgotten about it, it doesn’t mean that it is no longer having an effect. And passive aggressive behaviour is just one example of this.
One may need to seek the assistance of a therapist or healer to release the anger that may have built up over the years. Or to have the help of a coach or a trusted friend in order to express anger in a way that is functional and empowering.
We all have our own style of behaviour and this can change when one is around different people and based on how one feels. As one grows and changes as person; this can also lead to ones behaviour altering.
And there will be times when ones behaviour is a response to situations and other times when it is a reaction. If it is a response it will be coming from a place of awareness and self control. And if it is a reaction, it will be coming from a place of unawareness and lack of self control.
Part Of Life
There are always likely to be times when one reacts in life. And yet if this has become something that takes over one’s life - it will create problems.
It may be something that affects ones relationships with friends, family, colleagues and in ones intimate relationship. If one has children they may also end up in the cross fire and even pets.
This is often described as something that should be low on the scale and end up being way up. So this could be over reacting in a way that is an eight, then it reality it was only a two for example.
To others it is clear that one is over reacting and behaving disproportionately. However, unless one is unaware of this themselves, they will continue to do the same things.
What this kind of behaviour can lead to and create are extreme consequences. Emotionally this could be to do with aggression, rage and showing heightened levels of anger. It can also affect the other side of things and include: sadness, rejection, guilt, anxiety, grief, shame and being hysterical.
The first examples are emotions that usually get projected outwards and the second list are emotions that usually become interjected. Although they are different, they can both create reactive behaviour.
Reactive behaviour is then created through one acting on these emotions. And this means that other people are exposed to the emotions as a result of them building up. If it wasn’t for the reactive behaviour, other people may not even know that such strong emotions exist within the person.
Short Term Solutions
It is also possible for people to manage these emotions in a way that leads to short term solutions and therefore minimizes the reactive behaviour. Certain rituals and habits then alleviate the emotions, like a pressure valve. But this won’t last for long and needs to be constantly undertaken.
A Closer Look
So if ones behaviour to others seems completely out of proportion, it means that something within the individual is out of sync. Based on their interpretations of what they are experiencing, their reaction seems appropriate.
There may even be times when they look back and can’t understand why they did what they did. And there will always be others who can’t see anything wrong with how they reacted. It will all depend on how aware the person is.
The ego mind interprets things based on the associations that it has formed. This means that how something is interpreted is a subjective thing. And will be the result of everything one has experienced up until that point.
So even though to another person it may be an overreaction, based on their ego minds associations of the experience, it may be interpreted as the right and only way to behave.
The challenge is that the interpretations that are made from the ego minds associations may be completely wrong and this is what is leading to the reactive behaviour.
Once the experience has been interpreted by the ego mind to match these associations, it triggers the emotions and this provides the fuel for the behaviour. But these emotions don’t just come out once and then there done. The same occurrence appears again and again.
And no matter whether these emotions are released or not; they are always bubbling under the surface and ready to rise at any moment. A weed can be cut off, but it will soon grow back.
These are typically emotions that have been repressed for long periods of time. And these emotions won’t simply disappear; they need to come out in some way. The body is constantly pushing them to the surface and looking to release them.
This means that the ego mind will constantly be looking for situations that will allow for a release to occur, or it will just interpret situations in a way that will lead to a release.
Traumatic experiences in ones adult life can be a factor here. And so can traumatic experiences that one had as a child. No matter what created them or when it was; the body naturally wants to release them.
However, the ego mind wants to avoid them at all costs and will do all it can to get away from them. All kinds of defence mechanisms will be used to do this. This is not a bad or negative thing per se; it is just what the ego mind does to ensure survival.
And as the ego minds main function is to keep one alive, from this point of view it is a wonderful thing. The problem is that although the mind may have pushed them out of conscious awareness and forgotten that it has forgotten about what happened; the body has not and never will.
This means that these emotions have not been dealt with and reacting to them is not dealing with them. To repress them or to react to them are two sides of the same coin.
Although the mind also uses these defence mechanisms to gain a sense of control; it only leads the opposite happening. By running away from the emotions, one ultimately ends up enslaved to them. During the time of the traumatic occurrence it enabled one to survive, but as time passes it only creates problems.
These two options of reaction or repression will not lead to any kind of growth or awareness. This is why therapists are so important when it comes to dealing with repressed emotions.
As the ego minds tendency is to avoid them altogether, being supported by someone who is trained in such matters will enable one to go where they would not have gone by themselves. This is what the word ‘guru’ basically means - to shine the light for others.
These emotions have become trapped due to the avoidance of them, they need to be faced and released. This doesn’t mean endlessly going over them or becoming consumed by them. It means facing them with awareness. And if this is done properly, they will be released.
And there are many types of therapists; to the more traditional therapies to ones that are classed as healing techniques. I would say they all have their place - it all depends on what one feels is the right option for them and if the type of therapy is actually working.
To be acknowledged, mirrored and validated are psychological needs that we all have. This is a perfectly normal and natural part of being human and something that is vital for mental and emotionally stability. And like most things in life, there can be extremes and when this healthy requirement is taken to the extreme; it can lead to dysfunctional behaviour.
This could be a person who is constantly seeking attention from any one that will give it or it could be someone who seeks attention during certain times in their life.
So here I will give my current views on what I believe are some of the causes of attention seeking behaviour. This is not to be taken as the complete or only truth. It is simply what I have come to conclude at this time in my life.
There will be times in one’s life when it will be fairly normal to seek attention in a way that is out of character. Here one will seek more attention then they normally would and this will be especially visible to the peoples closest to them
Examples of this are more or less anything that causes a strong emotional reaction in someone. So, this could be; when a job comes to an end, a relationship finishes, a loved one passes on, ill health, a time of transition and when letting go happens and numerous others.
Due to the likelihood of these events creating a lot more mental, physical and emotional activity than normally exists, the need for extra attention is to be expected.
For what might be the odd occasion for some people; for others, it is a regular occurrence. Here, one has a high need for attention and this is a need that never abates. And no matter how much attention this person receives and for how long it lasts; it is never enough.
It would be like having a car with a water leak; no matter how much water goes in there, it is never full. The car has water passing through and yet this is short lived. Because once it has gone through the piping, it goes straight back out again. There is no build up of water; nothing is retained.
How this shows up can depend on many different factors. This could be the result of one’s age, gender, upbringing and social status.
For women this can often relate to their femininity and physical beauty and can include, but is not limited to: dressing in a way that draws excessive attention to their body, i.e. wearing excessively provocative clothing, large amounts of makeup and aloof behaviour.
And for men this could relate to their masculinity and physical strength and range from talking about how many women they have been with, to how much weight they can lift and many other things.
However, it is just as common for women to engage in masculine forms of seeking attention and for men to participate in feminine ways of seeking attention.
Above are examples of what could be classed as positive attention and as the ego mind works in polarities, this means there are also negative ways that the need for attention can appear.
These can range from ways that are dangerous and life threatening, to more subtle and seemingly innocent behaviours. People can develop certain illnesses as a way to gain the attention from others, playing the role of the victim in different areas of life, constantly being part of some kind of drama and many other ways.
Whether the need for attention comes out in ways that can be classed as functional or dysfunctional, there effect doesn’t usually last very long. And this is why the same behaviour is often seen again and again. It might be slightly modified from time to time, but the intentions are the same.
And so even though there is a great need for attention; it doesn’t last and it may, as strange as this sounds, be rejected. An example that demonstrates this, is of the women who dresses in a way that will attract attention and upon receiving this attention pulls away or complains at receiving so much attention
Now, while this is just one example, what it shows, is that there is inner conflict. It’s like asking for something and upon receiving it one feels the complete opposite of what one thought they would feel.
Why Is This?
What usually lives in the part of our mind that is known as the unconscious, the part that drives most of our behaviour, is the unprocessed past. And what forms most of the past are typically our childhood years. This is because our childhood is a time when our brain is forming and is more malleable that it will ever be again.
So at a conscious level, one may seek attention and crave it, but what is going on at a level out of one’s usual awareness can be against attention and reject it at all costs.
And the reason for this is that one’s ego mind has formed associations of what attention means. Because attention means something different for everyone; this is why people’s ways of gaining attention can be so different.
At a conscious level one naturally seeks attention, but the question is: what has ones ego mind associated as what attention means? And the way that one gained attention as a child will go a long way to explaining how these associations have been formed.
As a child, one probably had a way or a method that was guaranteed to gain their caregivers attention. For some this would have been doing all that one’s caregivers asked, for others this would have been to misbehave and play up.
And then there is also the dynamic of having caregivers that were distant and this meant that as a child, one would have had to work for attention, with it rarely being available otherwise.
And for others this may have involved being around caregivers that were smothering and overbearing and this meant attention made one feel compromised and even abused. It is also possible for ones upbringing to be a combination of the two, as well as one style often being utilized.
This then leads to the ego mind associating this patterns as what is familiar and this then becomes associated as what is safe to the mind. And it doesn’t matter if these ways of behaving of beneficial of functional. What the ego mind has associated as familiar is what drives our behaviour.
How This Looks
So if one had to work for attention and didn’t just receive it, the mind will have associated this as familiar. And this could then lead to people who seek attention in a way where they come across as if they are constantly trying to prove their worthiness.
For people who seek attention and then rejected it, it is probably because the attention they received as a child was destructive and overwhelming. And now, as a consequence of that, reject the attention that they desperately seek at a conscious level; with the reason one continually plays out this role, even though it is destructive, is because this was associated as familiar to the ego mind.
However, no matter how this was in the very beginning of one’s life, what is clear is that one wasn’t allowed to receive attention for being who they were. They either had to prove their worth to their caregivers or they had to take care of their caregivers need for attention and ignore their own needs (in the case of being smothered and overwhelmed)
And what these early experiences created were: thoughts, feelings, sensation and emotions. These would not have been empowering or supportive and if they are not dealt with through therapy or some other means; they would have to be dealt with in some other way.
So by constantly gaining the attention of others these inner tensions and conflicts are being regulated. This will not completely remove them; it will only ever be a short term solution and soon enough they will return once more.
In order for the behaviour to change and for one to receive attention in a functional and healthy manner, one has to change the associations that the ego mind has formed around attention.
And to begin to realise that they can receive attention without having to compromise themselves. By letting go of this inner tension and conflict, one can also begin to value who they are and as this happens the need for attention is also likely to subside.
Controlling behaviour is surely one of the more common ‘negative’ behaviours in the world today. And if one was to reflect upon human history they would find that this kind of behaviour is neither new nor different to the behaviour of the past.
The severity of this behaviour varies - from what might be portrayed on the news; to something that might go unnoticed in our individual lives.
What Is Controlling Behaviour?
So the question is: what is controlling behaviour? How can it be defined? I would loosely describe controlling behaviour as that which causes another to go against their individual wishes or wants.
Where Does It Come From?
As I reflect upon controlling behaviour my attention is taken to the ego mind. With the very nature of the ego mind being control.
How the ego mind functions will depend on how developed it is or should I say the conditioning it has received. With the more undeveloped it is the more control it will want to exert and the less it will want to trust and let go.
The ego mind also creates our sense of individuality and as a result of this; it causes us to feel separate from everything else. This is another big clue when it comes to our understanding of controlling behaviour.
What influences the ego mind or should I say what drives the mind; is the need to be safe. And what is classed as safe to the ego mind is what is perceived as familiar. This causes it to micro manage our life so that everything is familiar to us and this of course creates control.
So How Is The Ego Mind Conditioned?
The ego mind is conditioned by the messages and stimulus it received during our younger years. It is influenced as much by what we did receive as it is it by what we didn’t receive.
After these experiences become familiar to us, we then begin to form an association of it being what is safe for us. At that age we had not yet developed our critical abilities so that we could question whether something is a functional or dysfunctional perception to have and to hold onto.
We were also dependent on our parents or caregivers for everything, so it wasn’t exactly safe for us to question them either.
When we are children we are dependent on our parents/caregivers to take care of our needs. The problems arise when those needs are not met. And this creates conflict, not only in our childhood but also in our later life.
The needs could be to do with being loved, accepted, approved or validated and many others. This creates a sense of emptiness inside when these needs are not met, and we feel as if something is missing; that there is a hole within us. This will naturally create feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness.
These become lost parts of our true self that need to be integrated. They are parts of who we are, that can’t really be lost or gained externally. However, due to not being mirrored during these moments we can’t accept these parts and then look to have these needs met externally.
This is what I believe causes the controlling behaviour. The parts of ourselves that we have not yet realised or acknowledged become parts we then believe we can only gain through another.
Our egos sense of separation can also cause one to perceive these needs as being external.
So What Does This All Mean?
What this reveals to us is that through not having one’s own needs met, we then come to believe that we need others to fill these needs.
Now, as I have mentioned above there are different extremes when it comes to controlling behaviour. Having these needs met in a functional way by others allows us to integrate these needs and leads to our growth and evolution as human beings.
What I am talking about here is a relationship or relationships that are based on mutual consent; trust, appreciation and acceptance, these are values that support functional relationship/s. This is fundamental to our wellbeing to not only survive, but also to thrive.
So what if these needs are taken care of in a dysfunctional way? This is where controlling behaviour comes into it. If one hasn’t had these met as a child, the perception is that why would they get them fulfilled as an adult?
This then leads to the conclusion: either go without or use others for these means. This goes on unconsciously and is formed out of what the ego mind knows. And the ego mind knows only what has happened in the past or a rearrangement of what has happened in the past.
As the main drive of the ego mind is to be safe and to survive, if it means controlling others for its own existence then it will do so. This is all based on its history and what it ‘knows’. Unless one starts to observe their mind there won’t ever be the possibility of moving beyond these old ways of being, as to the mind that is the only option.
It is highly likely that if our needs were not met as children it was because the needs of our parents or caregivers were not met during their younger years.
And if this was the case they will then typically use us to take care of these needs; meaning we will have very little chance of getting our own needs met.
So if ones parents/caregivers controlled them for the fulfilment of their own needs, it won’t be much of a surprise if they then go on to control others for the fulfilment of their own needs.
So How Does This Play Out?
The big area it plays out is in the relational sphere. This must be because relationships are the primary ways we get our needs met.
So depending on what these needs are and how lacking these needs are will ultimately determine the kind of behaviour that is acted out. This leads to the victim/perpetrator or master/slave relationships.
Perhaps, during an individual’s younger years they were made to feel powerless through the process of their parent/s or caregiver/s using them to compensate for their own sense of powerlessness. Not only have their own boundaries been violated; their own need to feel a sense of power has also being denied.
This might have been an occurrence that has been passed on from one generation to the other.
And as I have mentioned above about ’learned behaviour’; unless one becomes conscious they might then become controlling as a way to make up for what they don’t currently feel internally or what has not yet been realised. This then leads to one controlling another, as this is the only way they know how to feel power. Power over others is the only kind of power they can comprehend.
Being Comfortable With Controlling Behaviour
If one experienced control during their younger years it has likely become what is ‘familiar’ to them. This is why people end up in one controlling relationship after another. I don’t believe anyone would consciously want to be in a relationship that is based on control, but to their unconscious mind there is an association of safety.
So what we can see is that; we all have an ego and as a result, we are all controlling to some degree or another. The choice we have to make is whether that control will be used in a way that is functional or dysfunctional and empowering or disempowering to us and to others.
The more we have integrated our own needs and questioned the associations we formed as children, the more self reliant and less controlling and controllable we will be.
This is an area I have been reflecting on for many years, pondering and asking myself why such behaviour exists. And with my recent expression through writing, felt it was time to talk about this interesting and often confusing area of behaviour.
So here, based on my experience and observation, I will describe what I believe are some of the reasons for such behaviour. These are not the right or only reasons and just my current views.
The definition in a dictionary is something along these lines - Not friendly or forthcoming; cool and distant. Or conspicuously uninvolved and uninterested, typically through distaste.
With this analysis I am going to be explaining the first part of the definition. Looking over what causes the not friendly or forthcoming and cool or distant behaviour.
There are many examples that come to mind when I think of aloof behaviour, however there are a few common examples that come to mind.
The typical behaviour is of the person that will only make contact or express a greeting when they are spoken to by others and won’t make an effort to engage with others and initialize interactions themselves.
Another example is when one engages with another and the response is one of distance and coldness.
These behaviours can make someone look arrogant and ignorant and as if they think they are above or better than others.
Of course someone has to start a conversation and there might be instances when talking to someone might not be to the best of ones interests. What I am describing here, are the proclivities of someone and not isolated occurrences.
When it comes to being cool and distant, I see these as being behaviours that are nothing more than coping mechanisms. A way for an individual to avoid the perceived or real experience of rejection.
Possible causes to such behaviour could result from being ignored or rejected during younger years. As a child we will naturally have moments when are parents or caregivers are not available for us, and we can take these to mean a withdrawal of love and as absolutes. If the experience is really traumatic, it can leave us with these feelings that colour our whole experience and cause us to filter our whole life this way. And now as a way to avoid reliving these painful memories, we use these coping mechanisms.
Being distant or withdrawn allows one to feel a sense of safety and that there is no chance of rejection. However the more we behave in this way the more we actually feel rejected and neglected by others.
It also has to do with giving and receiving. With the left side of our body being the receiving side (feminine) and right side for giving (masculine).These kinds of traumatic early experiences create an imbalance within us and this then creates our behaviour.
If we look for something, be it love or acceptance and it is not there or rarely there, we then begin to withdraw and hold back as a way to protect ourselves. To cut ourselves off from that which we want and need. This can then create passive behaviour and someone that holds back and is rarely willing to give. This is a perfectly normal consequence, of not being accepted when we have given or asked for something and each time we have been rejected or had one experience that was so traumatic that it created a point of reference.
This all creates a problem with receiving and if we can’t receive, then we can have nothing to give and this can cause us to feel as if we are running on empty.
By questioning our reactions and behaviour, we can begin to ask ourselves if we are acting from the present moment or acting from past memories. Past memories that trigger past associations and that have nothing to with what is going on now - in the present moment.
Just as I have mentioned above about there individual occurrences, there is also our interpretations of behaviour, that can cause us to assume and come to conclusions.
There might also be other factors involved. These could be that the person is shy, quite or that there is currently something going on in their life that is causing the aloof behaviour.
It might also have to do with environmental influences that are creating conflict and pressures for the individual. And if we see this behaviour a lot or it causes a reaction in us, then it could be mirroring something we need to look at within ourselves.
Oliver JR Cooper
Teacher, Author, Transformational Writer & Consultant - With Over 1,712,000 Article Views Online.
I also offer consultations via Skype and email. To find out more, click here.
A Dialogue With The Heart - Part One
A Dialogue With The Heart - Part Two
A Dialogue With The Spirit
Why Does He Behave That Way? Why Do I Behave This Way?