Archive for the ‘Book reviews’


January 21st, 2008

Review-Controlling People

Controlling People: how to recognize, understand and deal with people who try to control you, by Patricia Evans.

This book offers important insight into some peoples’ drive to control others and the tactics they use to do it. Those that Evans calls ‘Controllers’ do no recognize or respect other peoples’ boundaries and feel entitled to invade, dominate, dictate to, and define them.

Controllers have an idea of a perfect person or partner which they then project onto the one they want to control. It is their way of connecting but it is a destructive and offensive interaction. They feel they have the right to insist that others fit themselves to the Controller’s image or idea of them. They don’t want a real person just their own imaginary ideal person. They treat you as though you were an extension of themselves. They define you, tell you what you should think, feel, want, do, look like. They think they know you better than you know yourself.

Controlling People explains the childhood origins of controlling behaviour, the tactics used, and the effect this has on the Controller’s partner. The victims of Controllers often blame themselves or feel so confused they fear they are going crazy, so understanding the psychological reasons for it are important.

Evans presents insights into the behaviour of Controllers in a simple and clear way. She doesn’t condemn Controllers but explains how they got the way they are and why they behave the way they do. They are not evil but attempt to control others because that is all they know how to do. Evans explains the motives and thought patterns that lead to controlling.

The book can be a tool for people who can’t help using control but want to change. It also encourages the rest of us to be our authentic selves and not allow others to impose some other version of ourselves onto us.

Controlling People explains how to detect controlling behaviour before it becomes abusive and how to recognize and avoid Controllers who are usually charming and caring at first so that it is impossible to see the trap that awaits us unless we are alert for it.

This is a valuable book although I have some reservations: There are other possible reasons for the development of controlling behaviour than those presented and Evans gives little consideration to the narcissism behind much controlling behaviour. The advice offered on how to deal with Controllers could also be more comprehensive.

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