Abuse of any kind, these can cause anger and rage and then it just spills over naturally into how do I compensate for this?
How do I protect myself from this? And next thing you know we're slipping over the boundaries and relationships of the people we love and assuming the right to make decisions that aren't ours to call. Welcome to Family Life Today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson and I'm Dave Wilson and you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app.
This is Family Life Today. You know I'm around you sometimes and I can see that you're getting really bothered when you're around certain type of people. Oh I don't ever get bothered by anybody and I'm sure I don't bother anybody. Do you know what I'm gonna say? Of course I know what you're gonna say. What category of people really push my buttons?
High controlling people. As soon as it begins, I'm thinking, oh no. It's like something happens to me, it's like I want to rebel. It's like anything they say I want to do the opposite and they're often well-meaning people but there's something that happens inside me. I get pretty feisty. Yeah you do. You get a little scared do you? I'm like, oh no what's he gonna do or say? That doesn't happen to you?
Mine's probably, I keep mine inside a little more than you might. But I feel like I have been controlling to you in some ways. Let's talk about that later. We've got Tim Kimmel, Dr. Tim Kimmel in the studio of Family Life for another day talking about high control people. Tim, you're not a high control person.
That's not why we're talking about this. I actually think I'm very capable of being it too and I know when I, you know, obviously I wrote a book about it and I'm in the book. As I said, as I said, I'm an equal opportunity offender when I write this book because I wanted to make sure that we all next, we all struggle with it. Well you, we said yesterday that everyone has this. Yeah, we all have it and some of it's just self-preservation but you know when you said you, you have a problem with it, you were designed to have a problem with it because see God didn't. Hey, now you're enabling it. I could tell her that.
She's always like, really, what do you mean by that? When you think, when we were made in God's image as image bearers, we were not made to be controlled. We're made to cooperate, we're made to live within the boundaries and, and make a contribution but the reason you bristle is because high controllers don't bring the best out of a situation. That's true.
That is so true. Yeah. And so the problem is when that high controller is me, or you.
And then we realize, well, you know, and in High Cost of High Control in the book, well, you know, we talk about what to do if you are the controller or if you're the control-ee and, and you're dealing with it and we kind of deal with it from both sides. Well yesterday you gave us the definition. Let's look at that real quick. Okay. Today let's get into the why.
Sure. High control is when I leverage the strength of my personality or my position against your weaknesses in order to get you to meet my selfish agenda. And so that we're right where it discounts normal parenting. Mm-hmm.
It's not a selfish agenda. I'm, you know, I'm just going to do things that a good mother or father do. There's places in, in marriage where, because a healthy marriage is both dependent, independent, and interdependent.
That's a healthy one. Yeah. So there are places where we do it.
But once we do that though, it just brings the worst out of the situation and I want to have a family picture where the, where the smiles are real. You probably remember this. We watched, Ann and I watched Gary Smalley.
Mm-hmm. On VHS. Yeah. Way, way back. Probably back in 1980s. Eighties.
Yeah. You probably remember this. It was one of the first times they ever had like a VHS of a person communicating and you could learn from him. But I remember him walking through different styles of parenting and saying, which are the best?
And I'll never forget this. He said, a high-controlling parent yields the worst results. Right. Right. You know, and you sort of think, no, no, no. If you control, he said, no, the worst results. And you think, you mean a totally permissive parent that lets their kids do anything, gets better results? He goes, actually, yes. It's not great.
Neither are the best. Yeah. But compared to high control, high control is, it does, like you say, have a high cost.
Let me add a dynamic. If that high control parent is an outspoken Christian, it really brings the worst out of a kid. Why is that? Well, because, here, I came to give you life and life more abundantly. And they're sucking the wind out of every day. You'll know the truth and it'll set you free.
And they're in prison. And so it's just a walking contradiction of the very gospel we say we represent. By the way, you know, another formula, we'll get into this in the causes, is fear-based parenting does the same thing. Yeah. I think your book, Grace-Based Parenting, I read that when our kids were younger. I thought, this is extraordinary. And it really did change my style of parenting because I realized, like, oh, I'm kind of that controlling parent instead of that grace-based parent. And it was all because of fear. Is that why high control people are high controlling? Are they fearful? Why do we control? I unpack the five main reasons.
The very first one is what I call toxic fear. It's interesting how you can take legitimate things that have a very legitimate role and you put the word toxic in front of it and it changes everything because fear is one of the gifts that God gave us. Yeah. And when used properly, it's one of our best friends. It saves our lives. Saves our lives. Yeah. But when we allow it to take the point position in our life.
And it's in the driver's seat. And it's basically the presupposition that is determining everything that's happening underneath it. That's fear-based parenting or fear-based living. And I'm sorry, but all bets are off now. Yeah. On joy, a sense of secure relationships, all these things. And by the way, as I say this, I want to say this so carefully because we're in the hope business here at Family Life Radio.
Right. And yeah, that's what you guys are trying to do every time you get on there. And we just might have sucked the air out of some people because, well, that's me. Well, if this is any consolation, get in line. There's a lot of us in that line. But at the same time, we don't want to stay in that line.
Yeah. Because fear, toxic fear, I like to say it like this, fear is like a loaded gun. It's real handy if someone's trying to kill you. But it's very dangerous just lying around. It falls into the four-letter word category when we think of the cliche of that, when we don't handle it right.
And it can turn us into sophisticated high controllers. In the book, I tell a story of a young man who watched his mother. He knew she was cheating on his father. And you know, he didn't know what to do. And then finally came home and caught her undressed and in bed with his dad's best friends.
And then this guy takes him and throws him against the wall and says, you say a word about this and you'll regret it. So he has to keep this inside. Then finally, his father figured out what everybody else already knew. But instead of the father going after his wife and taking it, he went after the son because he knew she loved that son so much.
And so he just poured it out just on this. Well, so this guy gets married. The son? The son gets married. Marries a wonderful gal.
Looks like it's gonna be a great story. Next thing you know, he doesn't want her style in her hair. Doesn't want her wearing makeup. Wants to pick out all of her clothes. Frumpy. No style.
Can't in any way indicate your shape or your figure or anything like that. And then they ultimately, he gave her a gift of a day timer, day planner. He said, let's keep track of how we spend our days and then once a week we'll exchange these. And we'll just talk about it. And she said, you don't have to do that. I don't care about, you know, you're fine. Well, that wasn't about him.
It's her. And ultimately, finally she, you know, he was just being smothered by this. And ultimately she ends up in the arms of somebody else. The very thing he was trying to avoid.
His fear was so controlling him and controlling the situation and it, I mean, that's usually what happens, whether it's in a marriage or with your kids. I remember, Tim, you might remember this because we're both old enough to remember decades ago when I came to Christ. I was a junior in college. I had been in rock bands my whole life. I'm trying to walk with Jesus and be on fire. And I am. And I find out the church says rock-and-roll music is of the devil and literally said any music that has the two and four beat causes you to sin.
Specifically, you're gonna want to get thirsty. So I'm a guitar guy guy. Yes, listen, I want to walk with Jesus. And by the way, I've heard him. He's a very guitar guy. You know what I did?
You probably don't even know this. I want to follow Jesus. I sell all my guitars. Please don't tell me it was like a Gresher, a really high-end Gibson on her foot. I had a couple nice guitars.
I took them to a store and sold them on consignment. My mom, I was still living at home, my mom went with me. She's like, what are you doing? I'm like, this music's evil. And I've been playing my whole life. I look back now because you know what I did?
I went and got them all back like a year later when I realized, wow, they were just trying to control. That was toxic. Yeah, yeah. Again, is there music that can be harmful? Yes. Does it have two and four beat?
It has all kinds of beats. Everything, everything has a good use and a bad use. Cars are wonderful vehicles to get around in, but that you can run over somebody if you're mad enough. But music is music. I would rather, if I were your parent or someone leading a church, rather than say, oh, just go into the rock world and no boundaries, no boundaries. No, no, that doesn't make any sense. But teach you how to walk through that.
With God's Spirit leading you. Number of kids probably left the church because of that wrong theology is scary because that's what high control does. So that's one of the why reasons, toxic fear.
What's another one? Toxic anger, toxic rage. A lot of things could cause this. Maybe you had perfectionist parents or your parents divorced or you went through a divorce or you had some cruel treatment by an ex-spouse.
You have a crippling illness or a terminal illness. Inequities at work. Name it.
Killer gossip. Being heavy in a thin world. Being average in a smart world.
I could go on. Being single in a partnered world. Young in an adult world. Being old in a young world. All these things can get the best of us. And abuse of any kind. These can cause anger and rage and then it just spills over naturally into how do I compensate for this?
How do I protect myself from this? And next thing you know we're slipping over the boundaries and relationships of the people we love and assuming the right to make decisions that aren't ours to call. I remember walking out in the garage one day. This is we're pretty young in our marriage. And Dave is yelling. Do you really have to bring this up? I know what you're going to talk about.
He is kicking the lawnmower and screaming so loud. It wouldn't start. Isn't that what you do? Well. That helps. Yeah that always gets it going.
You just kick it and it starts on its own. I think I cast out a demon too. But he went through this anger period in our marriage that I said I can't even talk to you. Everything becomes such a big thing and you become so enraged.
I've stopped talking to you and I give you credit Dave because you thought she's right. I need to look into where this came from. I mean I couldn't you know as crazy as it sounds from that example. That was just one of many.
I didn't even see it. You know that I had this anger and when she said that I'm like I've got to get to the root of this which I did over years. But that was part of what was going on in my life. Well when Darcy and I met when we were in high school and she became she came from a family where they weren't you know God was not a part of their conversation or anything.
And I came up in a family where we went to church all the time and and all but she came to Christ. Well then we started dating. We were apart from each other for two years. I was in college and we wrote each other. In two years several hundred letters were written. Well we still had them all.
Well I went and I scanned them all during the COVID isolation thing. Put them all in order and with our 50th anniversary coming up I thought I'm going to go back and read all these things. Wow. It's kind of sweet. And it's been it's just been the most amazing trip back in time and to see how God was working in our lives and you know but in one letter she said Tim I got it we had to deal with something is your temper and it's just unpredictable and when it comes out it frightens me so much and so forth and I so deeply love this girl and I cared about her and I was thought you know but she lived at the base of Mount St. Helens and her family with her father. And you know he was a controlled broker and rage and anger was just one and when she saw even a smaller type of that thing in me and when she showed me that I mean it just broke my heart that I would be in that way and I realized yeah I do I can slip off the edge and and and and react and so you know I I was vulnerable with her and I said I I don't want this to be a part of our life if God's gonna let our lives proceed and we went to work on it you know does it go away right away no you know I yelled at the weed we'd work at the next week. But isn't it so sweet that God continues to transform us? By the renewing of our mind. And I would add this you know cuz what you just said I think is real important you tell me if this is true Tim yesterday we talked about sort of the AA example right I'm Dave and I I have a tendency to be high control right I think if somebody also walks up to an alcoholic and says I don't know if you know this you have a drinking problem usually we get defensive and like no I don't but when they see something and call it yeah you just said Darcy saw something and saw something to me we both could have gone what are you talking about yeah or gotten really angry and demonstrated exactly they're saying and try and put them in their place so would you say if somebody ever says to you dude I think you might have a control thing mm-hmm it's something we should lean into oh yeah assume they've got you yeah yeah you're just so much better off toxic fear and toxic anger I think are just fundamental causes us to try to protect ourselves and and we we start to manipulate the circumstances as much as we can I mean even hearing you saying that makes me think and you get some more to tell us just those two to start and I can't wait to hear the rest I would encourage you go to your spouse and say hey mm-hmm do you see toxic fear me do you see any toxic anger and listen because they might identify something you can't even see I think it'd be super brave to say do you feel like I'm controlling because there was a time my kids and you would have all said yes without a doubt and so I think that's a good question but this next one mm-hmm toxic shame yes this is interesting to me I want to talk about that well toxic shame many times is where toxic fear and toxic anger will lead you to but shame is the ultimate negative emotion out there at the core of so many controllers hearts is a sense of shame that I think blocks his or her ability to see themselves as anything but fundamentally and absolutely flawed yeah guilt says we've done something wrong shame says it's us who are wrong and that we're not good enough I think lifestyle shame is vulnerability out of control and so you can see what this go let me say it this way I think shame is less about morality than conformity and acceptability or character to be ashamed is to expect rejection not so much because of what you've done but because of who you are it's an identity how does that lead to controlling well I mean just think about it example I had a pretty close look at this family through my teenage years and young married years as we were friends of this family and this father was just unbelievably harsh and short-fused and domineering and it was just just a nightmare and because I think had no choice but to interact with his family I'm just trying to be decent and nice and by the way he could be indifferent to me but he never was able to pull his control stuff on me because I didn't let him then finally finally after many years he died and after he's dead his former wife we cross paths with her and she tells us something that she was never allowed to say anything about while he was alive and I'm thinking well you were divorced so those those agreements are off but anyway she kept it and that when he was a teenager his mother had cheated on his father and his father was so distraught over this that he hung himself when she realized what she did to him she ultimately killed herself and this is within a seven eight-month period of time in a very small town and so here you are this teenager with two scarlet letters and he was so utterly ashamed but he did the ultimate mistake when it comes to this is he said let's conceal this and keep this a secret no you can't ever say a word to anybody told his wife well now that life just completely ran the show and so much of what he was doing was trying to protect people from finding out who he is and I'm different from a lot of the people out there I think you guys would probably be in the same page with me I always tell people if you have something really really bad flip that card straight up yeah just put it out there yeah whatever it is in the pad just put it I don't care how bad it is just put it out there some people might reject you for it there might be some reaction therefore but after a while people say okay it is what it is now let's move on we say bring it into the light yeah but family secrets always destroy hmm and and they changed people into controlling nightmares and so shame is same as a huge one yeah and it doesn't have to be because because God sent his son to take our shame he actually says that in the scripture and he became our shame on the cross so that we wouldn't have to let that own us anymore so you're saying with that one because of our shame we try to control our image we try to control the fact that we're scarred and marred but we don't want anyone to see that and so we will go to any means to protect and control yeah absolutely thank you you you use one of the expressions I talk about the book image control mm-hmm is and we're trying to present especially in unfortunately sometimes our spiritual circles think that we've got to do this be accepted that we present ourselves as something that we're not and we're always trying to prop up this image of our kids are just this and it but the kids are living in that and they know the reality and and it's just a matter of time and it doesn't need to be this way there's ways out of this and that's the beauty of the gospel yeah that Jesus came to set us free right right well I was just gonna ask if I'm listening right now and I'm identifying like oh toxic fear toxic rage toxic shame whether it's a high level or there's and I'm starting to sense man Tim is talking to me mm-hmm what do I do what what's my next step well I gotta end the show with something hopeful for them yeah how do they get victory yeah there's a hilarious YouTube video of comic I don't even know he's still alive in that guy named Bob Newhart oh yeah I'm an older little I'm talking about and it's on mad TV and he's a counselor and and he can come in and and he he only charges a couple dollars for your session it only takes about five minutes and you tell him what's wrong and and he says I can pretty much fix it every time and wow that's great so she starts unpacking all these crazy things and she's okay here's the solution stop it Dave this is your style that's my style of calcium right there is like you don't need to pay me a dime yeah quit doing that and of course she's a what what do you mean stop it look stop it and we think that a lot of the ways out of these things are very elaborate and take years and years and years and and look there's a place for counseling there's a place for therapy there's a place for a lot of this stuff and and I and I don't believe that this is a light switch that you know okay I just gonna stop it and everything but somewhere we have to come to the mindset you know if you come into a doctor and you've had the two by four and you've been beating yourself in the head with it and you've got all this pain I got these migraine doctor and what is he gonna tell you okay first of all let's stop hitting yourself in the head then we can start to repair the damage you've done and and I think that we need to just recognize I I think recognizing that we're a controller why we're controlling whether it's toxic fear toxic anger toxic shame I talked about toxic bondage you know might be some addiction that's got the best and even toxic strength sometimes the reason it's not necessarily a bad thing that's doing it's just that what we're good at is overshifted mm-hmm and any strength pushed to an extreme is going to become a liability in a relationship right so those those five things are causing just knowing that that's there and and we realize we had a God who sent his son to deal with our fears to deal with our angers to deal with our shame to deal with our bondages and even to show us how to maintain equilibrium and the gifts that he's given us so that they don't become liabilities and as we go there I think it puts us in such a free position to be open to the council of friends the honesty of a spouse or children we we did a thing in our family with our kids we introduced the thing we called what's your beef night because we knew you know we're imperfect I would ask our kids that to tell me what you and so they would take it order whatever they want off the menu and they could go around they could say anything that Darcy or I had done or said that either ticked him off or embarrassed him or whatever now they couldn't say things like you made me go to school or maybe do my homework you know they they knew we're not talking about that stuff but they could say anything and here's the rule for us we were only allowed to do one thing and that's own it and ask for forgiveness and ask for forgiveness offensive yeah because if we did try to put it in context or give put it you know well yeah but you didn't then they said this game is fixed you're not going to change anything do you know I'm part of a generation of people that grew up that often you would hear them say I never once heard my parents admit yeah they did anything wrong mm-hmm yeah we need to flip that one yeah and be the generation where they do I I think you know what you just said to him is as you walked us through toxic fear and rage and bondage and shame and strength that's the first step because you can't fix a problem till you identify and and and so my phones are going on step two is and you've said it ask God for help I want to change this step three is ask people in your life to identify when they see it like honey I'm really trying to stop this yeah if you see me slip in there would you call me out on it because I'm obviously don't see it if you really want to change that's gonna help you say stop it that's how medicine works the ultimate solution to your problem is an accurate diagnosis yeah because once we know what's wrong okay we got a lot of ways we can go after this thing let's fix it you're listening to David and Wilson with Tim Kimmel on family life today stick around because Ann's got some words of encouragement for you in just a second but first we'd love to send you a copy of Tim Kimmel's book called the high cost of high control how to deal with powerful personalities it's our thanks to you when you partner financially today with us and help more families hear conversations just like the one you heard today you can give online at family life today calm or by calling 800 3 5 8 6 3 2 9 that's 800 F is in family L as in life and then the word today all right here's Ann well and I'm just gonna add the scripture that came to my mind was James 5 16 that says therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed and that first person I would say go to the father because we have the Holy Spirit living in us right talk to him confess to him this is what I'm feeling this is what's happened to me this is the shame I'm hearing and then confess it to your husband or someone safe that you can say like I think I need help in this area well you know that's humility and to me that's the gateway to to being on the receiving end and a conduit of God's grace on a regular basis you know maybe you're asking yourself am I a high controller or maybe how can I know if the people around me are highly controlling well tomorrow Dave and Ann are joined again with Tim Kimmel to talk about how to identify who the high controllers are in your life that's tomorrow we hope you'll join us on behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson I'm Shelby Abbott we'll see you back next time for another edition of family life today family life today is a production of family life a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most
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