Archive for March 15th, 2006

March 15, 2006

Three poisons for love: Manipulation, Intimidation, and Domination

by Rod Smith


Stay OUT of control...

When people have to use intimidation, manipulation or domination, the relationship is already spoiled or poisoned. It has become a power play of control. Redeeming such a relationship is possible with the implementation of a wise plan, strongly re-defined boundaries, enduring commitment, and the possibility of a time of separation in order that perspective might be gained.

Willingness and desire to be together, equality between people and complete mutuality are the hallmarks of healthy relationships. Where any form of strong-arm tactics are used, the relationship has already taken a turn to become something harmful to both the parties.

Each of these relationship-poisons (manipulation, domination and intimidation) can be very subtle, coming in different shapes, sizes, and intensities.

Here are some of the evidences of manipulation, intimidation, and domination in a relationship:

1. The relationship has been kept on an unequal footing in order that one person might keep power over another. In a severely controlling relationship, both persons might have forgotten there are choices at all.

2. One person tries to get what he or she wants without declaring what is wanted. In attempting to get what the one person wants, both persons are in some way diminished.

3. One person does not see the other as totally free.

Confused boundaries4. One person tries to get what he or she wants through threats or withdrawal.

5. It is expected that every move, thought, and feeling will be reported at least from the less-dominant person to the other. If one person is unwilling to tell all, it is assumed there is something to hide.

6. One person is not free to make plans without consulting or getting permission from the other.

7. One person in the relationship continually evaluates and examines the commitment and love of the other.

8. The dominant person tells the other how they should feel and usually re-scripts any division or disagreement into the appearance of unity.

9. One person feels at liberty to speak for both people and then, is offended when the partner wants to express his or her own views.

10. Desire for self-expression or a distinct voice (by one) is considered betrayal or a lack of trust (by the other).

11. One person expects unilateral support for his or her opinions, choices and desires, declaring somewhat of an attitude which says: If you say you love me then you have to love everything about me, under all conditions, and all of the time.

12. Difference in opinion or having different interests is considered a lack of love, or a lack of respect and commitment.

Simple definitions and a metaphor which might be helpful in considering the three “cancers” of relationships:

Manipulation: playing chess with another person or with people. Maneuvering as if life were an attempt to checkmate others into loving us or doing what we want.Explosive

Domination: playing chess with another person or with people as in manipulation. The difference is the dominator has removed the opponent’s pieces without declaring so in the first place.

Intimidation: playing chess with another person or with people where winning and losing comes with either the threat of punishment or actual punishment.

Healthy Relationships: There is no element of either winning or losing; they are not a game of chess at all and are free of tactics and agenda.

March 15, 2006

I am having anxiety attacks while driving. What can I do?

by Rod Smith

READER WRITES: I have been suffering with anxiety attacks for about 12 years now. The strange thing is it seems to affect me mostly when driving my car, especially if I get stuck in a traffic jam. I get really anxious and start to get all the symptoms of a panic attack. The trouble is it affecting my life and narrowing down my routes, as I won’t go on certain freeways in case there is any kind of hold up. I am not afraid of flying or of elevators, escalators. It is only when I drive and I am a fairly good passenger. Is there any kind of cure of this phobia, which seems to be ruling my life now?

ROD RESPONDS: Twelve years is a long time to suffer anything. It is when seemingly irrational fears impede functioning that face-to-face medical help becomes necessary. Please, seek it. My therapeutic counsel would question you about the frequency and the intensity of the episodes, which I’d have you describe in great detail. I’d ask you for a painstaking process of self-monitoring with the view to identifying commonalities that predicate your most intense attacks. Having encouraged you to write these observations, I’d suggest you’d be able to identify ways to accommodate, rather than expel, the anxiety from your life altogether.