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“Why am I so controlling?” Tim Kimmel

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2023 5:15 am

“Why am I so controlling?” Tim Kimmel

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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February 22, 2023 5:15 am

Ever wondered, "Why am I so controlling?" Author Tim Kimmel offers five essential reasons we control and truths to set ourselves (and others) free at last.

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If love is a commitment of my will to your needs and best interests, regardless of the cost, then it is not in your needs and best interests to be doing something that is toxic to a relationship. So I got to speak up. I often ask people this question when there's some struggle in their life. I said, if you had your choice of being wounded or kissed, which would you choose? Well, the Bible makes a distinction. It depends on who's doing the wounding and who's doing the kissing. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. And so if we say we love our spouse and we're letting them continue in a pattern that is just sucking the life out of our love story, how is that love?

Here's a question for you. Do you think I'm a high controlling person? Do you think I'm a controlling person? At all. Ever. Never? Maybe when you drive and I'm driving and you're trying to critique me. I didn't see that one coming. You know what?

You are exactly right. I am the worst driver. I don't even want to drive when you're in the car because I think, do I want to drive and have him just critique me the whole time? I mean, when I get up behind somebody going in the left lane and they're not going fast enough, that's the passing lane, and I get on their bumper, what am I doing? I'm literally trying to control them.

Like, I'm going to teach you a lesson, some stranger out of nowhere. I've done that. I know. I know.

I have lived with you for 42 years, and this is true. You're trying to control every person and teach them how to become a better driver. Okay, enough of that. I don't want to talk about that because I don't think I'm that.

But we've got Tim Kimmel back in the studio with us today. And I'm not saying you're a high control person, but you wrote a book about it. Would Darcy say you're a high control person? Well, I just think there's areas where any of us can be that. But I just try and because I started each day assuming I'm that, I just don't want it to raise its ugly head in me. Look, I'm just as capable of it as anybody out there of being a selfish nightmare. Is it a sin tendency that we have that we can all slip into that?

Yes, absolutely. People that struggle with it are people who are blind to it, just don't even want to acknowledge it. I think the people that keep it under control are the ones that just from the beginning just say, oh, yeah, I'm very capable of that. Remember, as we talked about it in some of the other shows that a lot of it's just self-preservation.

We're just trying to look out for the moment and we think this is the right thing. But you all know my wife Darcy. She's been married 50 years, four kids.

Yeah. And she's just this wonderful, highly organized. But, you know, I'm the risk taker and she wants to be more careful. But, you know, she knows that one of the things she struggles with is I can come up with a great idea or something. And then she just pulls that little needle out, kaboom, blows that thing right up with just one little statement.

It won't work because. And it just crushes my spirit. And she really, well, I don't want to do it that way.

At the same time, I don't want to be in a position where it seems like it's reckless to her or makes her feel inadequate or afraid or anything. But that's where grace comes to our rescue. If you have a grace filled marriage and want to have a relationship with your kids that are grace filled, then you're going to treat the people you love the way Jesus treats you. And Jesus isn't reckless with us. You know, like it said in C.S. Lewis's books, you know, when they're asking, is he safe? Is Jesus safe?

Well, no, but he's good. We want to be good to one another. And I think that would cause us to monitor this. I want to have a family where the kids actually enjoy having dinner together with their parents and vice versa. When the kids launch, like ours have gone, I want us to have a love story being written.

That's one of the things that I pray for every day. The Lord help me write a love story with this woman until I take my last breath. Well, your book is called The High Cost of High Control. The subtitle is How to Deal with Powerful Personalities. And we've been talking about this for a couple of days. Well, here's the thing you probably don't know about us, Tim, and we've known you for decades. I think we've read almost every book you've written, you know, 16 books. We've probably read at least 12 or 13 of them, all the way back to Little House on the Freeway, Grace Base Parenting, Why Christian Kids Rebuild.

I mean, I can list you through and including this one, The High Cost of High Control. But I got to be honest, when I first picked up that one back in the 90s, I thought I'm going to read a book about other people. You know, that's why I'm reading it. You know, there's high control people in my life and the more I read it, it's like, oh, there's some of that in me.

And we've talked about it for a couple of days. But at the end of the book, the last chapter, you have 101 ways to identify and manage a high controller. And so we thought it might be fun. We're not going to do 101 of these, but pick a few and just have you make some comments. I got to start with number 29. Oh, 29? Which I think is a fun one. This is always scary to me to see which ones you're going to bring up. I mean, we can go anywhere, but 29 says if your parents or in-laws are trying to control your marriage, move to the opposite side of the country for about 50 years.

Obviously a little humor there, but what's that all about? Well, they're supposed to be in-laws, but if they don't keep their high control tendencies under control, they become outlaws. And that's going to become a liability to your love story in the marriage. I've actually had, there's only a couple of times where I have recommended to the couple that I'm going to be overseeing their wedding.

I said, I really think you guys need to move out of here, move to another state. And don't pass on your phone number right away. Reason. Because I know their parents. I know at least one of their parents is going to be right in the middle of this thing, second guessing everything, criticizing, whatever, controlling.

And they're going to put a strain on this thing at its most fragile state, right out of the box. And then, you know, when it comes to our in-laws, we already have a certain amount of loyalty anyway, because they're our parents. And then we also have a certain amount of disloyalty because they might not be our parents, they're our spouses. You know, they made it clear in the Bible, for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother. That also says to the father and mother, let them go.

But if they don't. I mean, how do you and Darcy approach it now? Your in-laws, your parents of your kids have married. How do you approach it with adult kids? Probably the hardest thing for a grandparent to do. But the most vital thing is when you see their kids misbehaving and all that stuff is zip your mouth shut.

Yes. And it's so hard. It's so hard. Because we've gained so much knowledge and we know so much. Oh, exactly right. And we say nothing. Yeah. And here's why. When we were, for everybody listening, if you're young parents, do you want your parents criticizing how you're raising your kids?

The answer, of course, is no. So if we didn't want it when we were young raising our kids, I'm sure they don't want it from us. Yeah. What I think the role of a parent comes when it comes to launching your kids is, you know, when their kids are under our roof, it's like they're in our boat. And we're the captains of that boat. We're determining where that boat's going to go and all that stuff. And when it gets in treacherous water or bad storms, we're under control how we're going to do that. They're in their own boat now. And what we do better if we move up onto the bluff and become a nice, steady lighthouse for them.

Just keeping a steady beam of love and joy and encouragement and grace coming out to them. They can take a reference off of that. So now let's say they come to us and they ask our opinion on something.

We always qualify. OK, I'll give you my opinion. But it's just that. You can do whatever you want. It's your life. You'll live with whatever you choose. But here's how I see this. And if you want to go for that, fine.

But if you don't, it's not going to change anything in my relationship with you. So they know that going in. And I think the more we keep our mouth shut on the stuff we should keep our mouth shut on, the more they're inclined to want to come and say, what do you think, Dad and Mom?

Can you help me on this? I mean, what you're saying is so wise. And yet, just my opinion, so few in-law parents of adult children do that.

Why? Why do we get so involved? Because we think we know the answer. We've seen like, oh, we have failed, but we made this work. And hey, we're experts in marriage or family, Tim.

Like if anybody could give a great answer, it's you and Darcy. And yet, you're humbling us to say, I'm not going to say anything unless you come and ask. And even that, I've never heard someone say, and let me just remind you, this is just our opinion. And if you don't, we're still going to love you. I need to take note of that. I usually say this is my opinion, but this is also God's opinion as well.

You would like to. Well, there's a thing called being a close family, but there's a thin line between being a close family and an enmeshed family. And an enmeshed family becomes very toxic, especially when you're having other people grafted in through marriage that don't have any reference point with you. And yet I've seen money become a gigantic liability to the joy of a family because, you know, the parents have some major money and they're enmeshed in it. In fact, there's nothing like owing money to put yourself in the position of being controlled. Avoid borrowing money from parents, relatives and friends. Now, does that mean parents should never help their kids?

No, I'm not saying that. What Darcy and I've tried to do with our kids when it comes to money is we're willing to give them a hand up. We're just not going to give them any handouts. What's that mean? Well, a hand up means that this help to them financially is actually going to enable them to do something even better and more effectively.

That's fine. And also it's a hand up because I have confidence based on their track record, they're going to handle it right, wisely. And so that, you know, parents could do that.

Actually, I think if we were all honest with ourselves, people have done that to all of us along the way. And it may not be in a financial way, but, you know, there's connections and encouragement. And there's no strings attached. No strings attached. Yeah. God does stuff for us all the time when those strings attach.

And we mishandle stuff, the great things he's done for us all the time, but he still keeps loving us. Well, I have one that I want to talk about as we're talking about the 101 ways to identify and manage a high controller. I was in high school. I was in my senior year, actually, and I decided for the first time in six years not to run track. And I told my dad I was going to run track and I got these really cool pair of Nike tennis shoes. But then I said, yeah, I'm not going to run track this year. I'm tired of it.

I'm ready to move on. And my dad said, but you bought those tennis shoes. Actually, he bought them.

He bought them for me. And I was generally paying for a lot of my own things. And he was a coach. And so he coached me in baseball. He didn't coach me in track, though.

And he said, you're going to go out for track. And I said, no, I really don't want to. I have another job. I'm really busy. I'm doing some other things.

I'm playing tennis. And he said, no, you're going to go out for track. And I said, well, what are you going to do? He goes, I'm not going to talk to you ever again unless you go out for track. And so, Tim, it was seven days.

Every morning I'd eat breakfast with my dad. He's super talkative, never stops talking. He doesn't talk to me or look at me for seven days. And finally, on the seventh day, I'm like, you are being a baby.

Like, what is happening right now? He wouldn't say anything. I said, fine, I'll do it. If you want to control me this way, I'll do it.

And he won. And this is number three of the ways to identify that high controller. She's a controller or he, if they choose, silence and withdrawal instead of communication. Absolutely. Is that, like, is that my dad controlling me?

That was absolutely. And I had no control if he doesn't even talk to me about it. He's using your love for him to leverage you to get you to do something. Well, that's not how love is supposed to be. Love is a commitment of my will to your needs and best interests, regardless of the cost. That's love. And what that was, was just selfishness.

And who knows, it might have some ego expectations of you with your sports and everything. But we often don't think of withdrawal or silence as a controlling method. And you're saying, oh, no, you might be quiet, but sometimes that's deadly. Very much so.

Very much so. Or pouting. By the way, that was a big problem I had when I got married. When I didn't get in my way, I would pout.

What did that look like? Well, once again, it just, I'm not looking her in the eye. I'm kind of quiet.

That would be some withdrawal. I'm there participating, but I'm not. Talk about manipulation. I'm a verbal person.

Usually if we're around, we'll be visiting. And I would say nothing. Well, she can tell.

He's upset about something. But she confronted me on it. And she said, I won't let my kids pout. When our kids pout, you know they automatically will not get what they're trying to get.

And so it's not going to work with you either. If somebody's doing what your dad did, if they're silent or they withdraw, because I can tend to withdraw, what should you do? Or what should they have done? Or how can you help that not happen? Well, you've got two conditions here, two situations that are tough, because that's your dad.

And as a daughter, they can make orders and stuff. And sometimes we just have to do what they're asking us to do, the best of our ability and grid it out. But it's not going to come without a price. The high cost of high control.

And you've got to work through stuff. But here's why people control us. This is the number one reason why people control us. It's because we give them permission to.

We let them. And I realized that in some situations, they're not going to change. But that one man that was so overwhelmed with shame that I was telling you about from his parents. And he never said a word about it, but he was just a nightmare to my friends and his father. But he never was able to control me because I decided early on, I'm just not going to let him. He's not going to intimidate me.

By the way, he was a very frightening man and a very powerful man. And he could be mean. But I just decided I'm not going to take it personally because this is about an issue with him. And I'm not going to make his issue my issue. Well, what happened is that his respect for me went way up. Because he didn't respect any of his own children because they took it.

They just folded. So if you're in a marriage, one, and that's happening, maybe we should kind of make that distinction. How do we know if it's abuse?

But then the other, maybe we should hit that first. When does it cross the line where this is abuse? When we're talking about control, we're talking about something that's irritating and annoying. But usually, you know, you can gut your way through it. Abusive is injuring.

It's doing harm. Physically, verbally, emotionally. For instance, I had a football coach play football in high school. And I remember I got the wind knocked completely out of me. I mean, I'm laying down flat on the ground in his big game. And he yells out, Kimmel, are you injured or are you hurt? And I was just hurt. In other words, you got the wind knocked out of me. You couldn't say it because you had no breath. Coach, I'm hurt. And you know what he said?

He said, get up. It's a contact sport. Everybody's hurt. You can't play this game without getting hurt. But injured is different.

Because if I'm injured, I can't function. And so I think what abuse does is it injures a person. It injures their soul and their spirit and their emotional system, their view of themselves, their ability to function many times.

And once you're there, if you don't get some remedy from that, it's just going to get really bad and fatal if it's physical, but it can kill love. So let's go back to that. Now we've kind of defined what that abuse is, and that's not healthy. We shouldn't maybe stay in that situation. We need to get safe. Get out, yeah. But what if we're in a marriage relationship where now we're thinking and realizing, I have been controlled. We've been doing this 30 years, let's say, a woman, saying, how do I stop that?

What does that look like? If love is a commitment of my will to your needs and best interests, regardless of the cost, then it is not in your needs and best interests to be doing something that is toxic to a relationship. So I've got to speak up. I often ask people this question when there's some struggle in their life. I said, if you had your choice of being wounded or kissed, which would you choose? Most people say, well, I guess kissed. Well, the Bible makes a distinction. It depends on who's doing the wounding and who's doing the kissing. Proverbs says faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

And so if we say we love our spouse, and we're letting them continue in a pattern that is just sucking the life out of our love story, how does that love? You say, well, I just don't like conflict. I don't want to be around anybody who likes conflict.

None of us like conflict. But it's part of relational building. And Darcy says, I'm sorry, but this pounding is just not going to work. So that's what she said to you. Oh, absolutely. No, this pounding, she said, we don't tolerate this with our kids.

When our kids pout, we automatically guarantee them they're not going to get what they want. This is not how you handle it. Well, I'm not going to do that with you either.

Okay. But she was doing that out of love. By the way, she's a quiet, easygoing, she's not abrasive, she's not confrontive. Wonderful to be around.

She's a sweet, but there's a point in the love where she says, if I don't say this, first of all, it's going to hurt our marriage, but also it's going to hurt you. Yeah. And so I think we got to be honest with ourselves.

That's the other thing. If we want to find the biggest problem that we're dealing with in any given time, the best thing is going to your bathroom and look in the mirror. You know, I shave the face of my biggest problem every day. And once again, that is not a bad self-image. That's how health comes. That's humility that says, I recognize I got issues. I don't want them to own me.

I certainly don't want to harm my kids with it. But then we go to a Savior who knows all about that. You know, when I think of Jesus washing the disciples' feet and how, you know, when you wash somebody's feet, you can't even look eye to eye with them. Can you imagine him washing Judas' feet, knowing what was going to happen? He gets down and he does this. And he's below, his eyes are knee level to them.

And how subservient could you be? And then he gets up and he puts back on his rabbi robes. This is the Savior and Creator of the world. He puts back on the robes that show his authority.

He said, now, I want you to do what I just did for you to the people in your life. You know, I was thinking when you talked about Darcy saying, this pouting thing's not going to happen. She's washing your feet. Yeah, she is. In a beautiful way, she is saying, let's do this right. I love you too much to let this become so much a part of our life that it steals. The whole reason we married each other in the first place. And she didn't resort to name calling, telling you you're terrible, you're an idiot, whatever. She was doing it out of love, knowing that we can have better.

We can do this better. And I just know this, Ann's done this thousands of times in our life. And I'm even thinking about, because I know her dad. He's awesome. He is awesome. He's now with Jesus. He was my dad.

I love him to death. But he could do that. And I saw that. But I now know I've watched Ann for 42 years in our marriage not do that. Right. If our son said to us, I'm not going out for football because it'd be football in our house. Exactly.

That would crush me. I'd be like, oh, but here's what I've watched her do. She would sit down and do the opposite of what her dad did. She would go, tell me, tell me what you're thinking. What's your process? I've watched you do it.

It'd be a sort of a washing of feet. It may end up he doesn't or does. It doesn't matter. It's like, help me understand this. There's no control. There's grace. I understand.

It's the opposite of what she grew up with. So it's like God transforms that. Even if you grew up in a high control, you can become a grace-based person and change the legacy.

Here's the thing. No matter how annoying and even the clear things that they do wrong, even the sin they do wrong, it doesn't mean it is not going to have consequence. But it is never once going to cost them their relationship with me. Whereas control was your behavior is going to cost you your relationship with me. And see, Jesus doesn't do that with us. Them whom he loves, he disciplines. But that's the difference between, I think, when grace is in place. People's relationships are highly valued. You know, the teenage years can seem like the rebellious years, right? Well, tomorrow, Dave and Anne are joined by Paul David Tripp to tell us that instead of being quick to react, why don't we wait?

Because this is actually an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your teenager. That's tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-22 07:01:41 / 2023-02-22 07:12:11 / 11

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