Chapter 1: The Anatomy of Control

How It Manifests Itself In Personal Relationships

i-anatomyofcontrolThe opening chapter digs into the root of most relationship problems: control – what constitutes it, what variations come from it, who fights for it and how do we balance it? Taking a closer look, control can be broken down into basic areas referred to as “The Big Six”:

  • Money/property/wealth
  • Children
  • Health (physical and mental)
  • Loss of love/intimacy
  • Growth (professional and personal)
  • Fear (physical, emotional, psychological)

Chapter 1 helps you understand these different types of control and most importantly, maintain control and prevail.

Chapter 1 Sample Excerpt:

“All I wanted was a six-foot, redwood fence! We live on a cliff.” I knew where she lived. It was high in the Hollywood Hills, where houses stack nicely on terraced bluffs, each one indented and angled slightly behind the ones below as they wind their way up to a pinnacle. Layered, they resemble a lopsided soft-serve cone from Dairy Queen, each one sitting precariously on top of the other.

I was not sure I had heard her right so I repeated her remark-in a patient tone-allowing myself to wrap my head around what seemed to be a rather harmless request.

“You wanted a six-foot, redwood fence.”

“Yep,” she said firmly. “To protect my toddler. My two-year-old plays in our rear yard and last week he was chasing his soccer ball. It got away from him,” she said, cupping her hands close together to show it was a small ball, “and I raced to stop him. Had I not been closer,” her eyes were huge now, “he would have tumbled right off the cliff!”

I shifted uncomfortably in my chair. It gave me chills just to step inside the visual she had painted. I have two children. Though they are older now, I understood her fear.

Then she said: “My husband said ‘No, you can’t have the fence. It will ruin the view.'”

The sun was going down as she shared the disillusionment of her seven-year relationship with the man who had kept her fenceless. She soon explained that was the final straw that prompted her to sneak away to meet me without his knowledge. She had finally gotten up the courage to act on her thoughts of leaving him.

She told me about their whirlwind courtship, how he seemed so dedicated to making her happy-that he took care of everything for her-that no one had ever done that for her before. She also told me how, after three years of marriage, she had given up her career as an advertising account executive to stay home and, well, “home-make.” Her husband told her she could because he would continue to develop property and build multi-million-dollar homes that he would take complete and total care of her.

“When we got married, he told me I would never have to worry about money again and even took over care of all the finances,” she said, making it sound like his doing so was some kind of a favor. “He just gave me money each week for groceries and incidentals.”

“Hmmm,” I replied, knowing what was coming next.

“It wasn’t like that, at first.”

“It wasn’t?” I feigned surprise. Of course it wasn’t. It usually isn’t in cases like hers, at first. Well, actually it is, but she would not realize that until later.

“No. I had my own checking account. I had credit cards in my name only; even a small savings account, you know, $30,000.”

“What happened? “I was just being polite. I knew what had happened.

“Well, when we got married, see, we had this agreement….” “Written one???”

“No, just sort of an oral one, or oh, well not even an oral one. It just sort of happened. See, since he said he would just handle everything it sounded okay to me. So I closed my checking account and cut up my credit cards and used my savings for odds and ends, Christmas gifts, you know, and gifts for him… It all seemed okay and now my savings are all gone.” She struggled for a few moments to get out the next set of words, “but it isn’t okay any more. I want…I want…I want a fence…dammit!”