Relationship Engagement ABCs

As I mentioned last week, we long for connection and yet we’re often really bad at “going there.” Another way we sidestep true engagement is to attempt to force or control our experience with others. Relationship Engagement C stands for “Control”. In Controlling Engagement we work too hard, attempting to make connection happen by force. While we may be feeling passion on the inside, we can appear as confrontational or needy to others. In both Avoidant and Controlling Engagement there are a few key valves of disconnection. The photo below illustrates “Control.” Come back next week to view “Balance (Being with).”

Where in your life do you find yourself engaging from “Control?”
Where do you notice those around you getting stuck in “Control?”
Controlled Engagement

The four physical disconnection valves of Control are the legs, the heart, the eyes and isometric contraction (i.e., unnecessary effort that serves no specific purpose throughout the body).

When in (C) Control, we might stand on the front of our feet with the weight on our toes. As we do this, we become unaware of the back of our bodies. We might lock our knees or tighten our hips. We might push our chests forward, like a metal protective shield puffing outward. In Control, our eyes might engage with a hard focus, piercing the eyes of others around us. Our eyes become like fish hooks or meat hooks, trying to hook others and reel them in with force. Finally, we might experience isometric contraction throughout the body, activating muscles while putting forth effort that doesn’t accomplish any movement. As with the Avoid physicality, each of these physical disconnection valves can occur alone or in a variety of combinations.

There is a difference between soul and effort or force. Imagine pounding on a toy drum as hard as you possibly can. While you’d certainly be working hard, you would not be creating music. (And the only movement you’d create with all of the pounding is scaring people away.)

While the Soul Sucking story in Avoid is, “You are not enough, so don’t bother,” the Soul Sucking story that accompanies Control is, “You’re not enough. But maybe if you try 10, 20, 100, 1000, 100,000,000 times as hard, you can make up for it.”