Do you feel a need to control or are you the one being controlled? It really doesn’t matter if you are the control-lee or the controller. Over time both positions create frustration, anger, resentment and hurt. As mentioned in last week’s blog, control destroys relationships. So what can a person do to relinquish control or take some back? The controlling person needs to move to the passenger’s seat and allow others to drive without micromanaging and directing. Learn to delegate more often and trust that others can complete tasks too, even if they don’t do it your way. In other words, perfection is not the mandatory outcome and some latitude is acceptable. The paradox of control implies that when you relinquish control you actually gain more of it. When we try to force others to do something usually they resist and we become out of control, yet when we allow them to come to the decision with our influence, but not control, the outcome is sometimes what we had desired all along. Letting go of our need for control can be liberating and freeing since we’re allowing others to take responsibility for themselves. As our children grow older and more mature, we should move from a position of control to influence. The reality of life is that we have little control over most things, especially other people. The only person we can control is ourselves through our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We can share our thoughts and feelings with others, but don’t expect change from them since it may or may not happen. We then have a choice to make about the relationships we maintain. Briefly, those being controlled need to learn to be assertive, speak up, set boundaries, and confront conflict directly. Focus on building self-respect and self-esteem through taking charge of your life. The ultimate goal in healthy relationships is for shared control.