Learning from Silence

Miranda was raised in a nightmare of anger, criticism, and fear. Everyone thus wounded responds in a variety of ways to protect themselves, and Miranda’s favorite tool was controlling. She called me and said, “The more I learn about Real…

The Downside of Healing

Renee called and said, “Frank can be so controlling. And then I get angry, and I’m right back where I was a year ago.” “Do you feel more loved by wise people now than you did six months ago?” I asked. “Oh yes, by a lot.”…

Ways to Spell, “Drop Dead” (or “You’re an idiot,” or “Stick your head in the toilet”)

Because we have been taught to avoid the pain of disapproval, we also tend to avoid expressing disapproval to others in a way that is too severe, because generally that is followed by the sharp disapproval of the other person. So we’ve learned…

The Effect of Video Games (Video Clip)

The hysterical fears aside, what exactly is the detrimental effect of video games?

How to Speak Up Without Controlling

Melissa called and told me that her husband, Scott, often laughed at things she did and criticized what she said. “How do I get him to stop it?” she asked. “Oh, you don’t GET him to stop anything,” I said. “So you’re…


The problem with trying to control things is that you make it impossible to get so much MORE than you thought was possible.

Helping vs Controlling

When the world is a frightening place—almost invariably a result of insufficient Real Love in childhood—we do whatever it takes to limit our pain. One way to accomplish this is to limit the unknown, because often there is pain—real and…

Identification of Controlling

In many places I have written about the unspeakably harmful effects of controlling people. Briefly, when we control people: * We trample their right to make their own choices, which is easily the most important right belonging to anyone. *…


We think we want to control people, but if we could, we wouldn’t enjoy our relationship with them.

Not Being Controlled

In many places I have written about the harm that comes from controlling people, both for the controller and for those being controlled. One day I was talking to Alex about some ways he could respond to his wife when she attempted to control…


If you’re intent on winning the argument, you might, but you’ll be alone.

Identify Controlling

The subject of controlling is discussed in many Real Love blogs and books. Click HERE for one example. Controlling is best characterized by expectations, which can be identified easily. How can you know whether you have expectations of another…

How Not to Control People

It is simply the nature of people that we all have different interests, needs, agendas, and more, so it is unavoidable that other people will sometimes inconvenience us—with their preferences, behaviors, and feelings. Let’s look at a…

We Don't Get to Control Everything

We get angry when we believe change should be happening but is not. Most of the time the solution to our anger is simply recognizing that we don’t get to control everything around us.

Finding and Sharing Love

What we're afraid of is that if we don't reach in and take hold of something—if we don't control it—we won't get our way. But there’s no victory in getting our way, only in finding and sharing love.

Gather Information or Evidence?

We claim to gather information to make good decisions, but often our efforts are only to gather evidence that will support what we already want to do.


Compare how much of your day you spend controlling people and events—expecting outcomes, however subtly and thoroughly justified—versus your efforts simply to understand and love.

Ask for the FIRST Time

Emily called me and said, “My husband, Mark, comes in from outside and puts his dirty clothes on the kitchen counter. I’ve told him a thousand times not to do this, but he does it anyway. I shouldn’t have to keep telling him.” “I…

Acting From Faith

We are ALWAYS acting from faith. The only question is what we have faith IN, which is demonstrated by every choice we make. When we’re angry, controlling, and complaining, we’re believing that this will make us happier. When we finally give…

Pushing the Boulder

Pushing the Boulder I talked to a woman, Ilene, who was utterly overwhelmed with the responsibility of controlling her children, bossing her husband around, and worrying about everything. "You look exhausted, honey," I said. "I'm…