Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Control Freaks

Why is it that control freaks are so rarely worthy of the control they demand?

The strategy for coping with a control freak is, of course, exactly the same as for surviving bear attacks: one must go completely limp and hope for the best. Those who have no choice but to enter a control freak's sphere of influence quickly find that their best bet is to shut their mouths, slump their shoulders, keep preferences and opinions firmly to themselves and learn to go along. The drill's quickly learned by observing the desexed, saintly, broken spouses of control freaks. Learn to yield...or risk Setting Her/Him Off.

It needn't be entirely ugly, however. Lemonade can be produced by duly submitting to the firm and relentless squeezing of one's lemons. There is, first of all, a certain pleasure in yielding one's autonomy. Infantilization, as cruise ship devotees will attest, has its attractions. And the ascetic discipline of detaching from personal preference is something people pay good money to learn at Zen retreats and such.

The fatal flaw, unfortunately, is that control freaks always seem to be about four notches less competent than they believe themselves to be. 

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