Updated: Oct 23
ESSAY by MOLLY SIMMONS
PHOTO by N0F0RSA1E
Many aspects of our lives are punctuated by the idea of control. In work, social settings, relationships, and with family. We struggle with wanting it, having it, losing it, wanting it to be taken from us. We feel controlled by some people and try to control others. We understand that the complementary force of control is freedom—while they are not true opposites, our experience of freedom is tied to our experience of control. Some of us find freedom in releasing control, some of us find freedom when we’re in the driver’s seat, and some of us find it when there’s no perceived control anywhere in our lives.
Control is something that must be navigated carefully in romantic relationships, and it’s imperative that we have a healthy awareness of the role it plays in our lives. Many of us - regardless of gender, sexuality, or relationship style - have moments where we feel dominated in relationships and we push against it, yet we simultaneously enact patterns seeking to manipulate our partner while struggling against the perceived authority they’ve placed on us. We fight being controlled yet try to control others. This is a very natural pattern for all of us, and especially for those that might have been hurt or traumatized in former relationships. It’s important that we’re able to identify our patterns with control and where they come from so that we can grow, and so we can recognize potentially harmful patterns in others to know when we are influenced in an unhealthy way.