Our inherent urge to control

I recently read an old blog about our need to control people and situations around us. It was an article by a psychologist Dr Perry in his blog Makeitultra Psychology. It was a well written blog about everyone’s natural urge to have control over people around them and where this urge stems from. This article forced me to rethink my own behaviour and my attitude to the various situations and reaction to the consequences.

Not shockingly, even I had a habit to trying to control situations. I, however, masked this tendency to control under the guise of affection, care and guidance. When I observed the behaviour of others in my family and society, I see that it is a common thread. When you are an Indian, it is taken for granted that our parents have complete control on our life till we marry. Post marriage, the control shifts into the hands of our spouse. I am not speaking from a woman’s perspective, these control issues affect both men and women equally.

We often mask this tendency to control under the guise of affection. A mother has complete control over what her child eats, does and wears till a certain age. Once the child reaches the age to question this control and they start rebelling, then there will be frictions in the relationship. Some mother’s even resort to emotional blackmail to gain back any modicum of control in her child’s life. Most Indians and even Asians in general can relate to this situation.

I am not exempting fathers or siblings from this pattern of behaviour. While a father likes to have complete control on our educational choices, the jobs we take up, the investments we make etc, siblings exercise control on our social life, who we associate with etc. This is not a conscious effort on their part to control us. It is more out of our society’s standard that dictates this behaviour pattern. Anyone who stays from this pattern is labeled as an irresponsible parent or sibling. The society takes it upon itself to correct the situation till any and all semblance of freedom is removed.

The situation might seem dire and oppressive, but when it is so widespread and prevalent, no one questions it. There is a small wave of change coming about among the educated group s in major cities, but this change is small and far between. The youngsters are starting to fight back this oppressive attitude. Even some parents are seeing the flaw in the system and they have tried to give a free hand to their children wherever possible. Film and art fraternity have contributed majorly to highlight this issue with comedy, satire and even dramatic plays and movies on this subject.

The more that people speak on the issue and discuss it openly, the more will the change spread. It is essential to realize our mistake before it get out of hand. However, we should also be aware and alert toward the negative aspects of complete lack of control. With the rising crime rate, extremism, and the social media influence, there is always a need to control and monitor the children of the society. Strike the right balance and exercise control on yourself before one can try to control others.

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