Emotional Control

Mentoring Tips

Make one-to-one mentoring easier by learning what to do and what not to do.  Click to learn more.

Tip#1 – Find your PLACE

  • Pray: simple yet powerful act
  • Listen: people want to feel heard
  • Ask: good questions foster productive dialogue
  • Consider: think slowly and biblically
  • Encourage: uplift rather than beat down
Tip#2 – Avoid the common mistakes

  • Fixing: this is a person, not a project
  • Preaching: walk alongside, don’t talk at or down to them
  • Carrying: show concern but don’t carry too heavy a burden
  • Blaming: no condemnation in Christ Jesus
  • Rescuing: you are not their savior!
    • Are you and/or the children currently in physical danger? If so, what immediate steps can be taken for you and/or the children to be safe? Do you have a place of temporary shelter?
    • Would you share with me an example of how you and your spouse make a decision? What does that look like? Feel like?
    • How often are you able to please the people around you? Honestly, how important is it to you that they are pleased?
    • Complete the following statement: “When I want to voice my frustration I feel ___________ because_________________.”
    • How have you tried to get along with this person in the past? What were the results of that effort?
    • Have you ever tried to remove yourself from this person’s control? How did that work out? What was their reaction?
    • Do you feel free to be yourself around this person or do you feel confined for any reason? Can you elaborate?
    • Do you find yourself adapting to this controlling person just to keep the peace, even though it makes you angry inside?
Deeper Questions
    • How long has emotional control been a part of this relationship? Has it always been like this? If not, what changed?
    • Who do you believe God created you to be? Do you see yourself moving in that direction? Why or why not?
    • Many people who are controlling others or who allow others to control them experienced a controlling relationship in their developmental years, so it feels normal to them. What do you understand about yours or your spouse’s past that may be contributing to your behavior patterns? Are you willing to turn away from those patterns and seek God’s way in the future?
    • God does not intend for any person to control another person or to be controlled. Will you commit to working toward changing your part of this controlling relationship—refusing to control or refusing to be controlled?
    • Which of these statements best reflects your position in dealing with a problem: “We can work through this together” or “Peace at all costs.” On what basis did you decide?
    • What is your understanding about the role of both husband and wife in a marriage? Have you ever learned what the Bible says about those roles? How important is that to you? Can we explore a little of what the Bible says together?
    • What is your understanding of the biblical idea of “submission?” What is your spouse’s understanding?
    • What is one step you can take in the right direction and how can I help you do that?
Online Helps
Other Ministry Links
  • Celebrate Recovery  A recovery program that addresses all types of habits, hurts, and hang-ups
  • Military Ministry A bridge to healing for returning warriors, veterans and their families
  • Northwest Family Life  Hope and healing for individuals and families facing the pain of domestic violence
  • - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, p. 164

    “Compromise can be a way of saying, ‘I love you.’ It’s proof that we’re willing to give ground for no other reason than that we value the ongoing relationship more than we do asserting our rights, preferences, or wishes. Compromise is the cement of fellowship.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, The High Cost of High Control, p. 146

    “Love gives the other person space—room to breathe, to be unique, to have a dream or two that, though it may not be shared with the same intensity, still needs to be encouraged.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, The High Cost of High Control, p. 216

    “People who play you like a pawn on a chessboard are really demonstrating a subtle form of rejection. By circumventing the consequences of their actions, you’re letting them reject you even more … When you’re being pushed around, you feel as angry about your inability (or unwillingness) to do anything about it as you do about the offense. Confrontation empowers you, simply because you’ve finally refused to continue being a victim. A high‐control spouse may continue the control, or an in‐law may continue trying to run your marriage, but now you will respond differently because you’ve stopped allowing others to control you without being held accountable.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, The High Cost of High Control, p. 14

    “God never intended one person to control another. He didn’t wire us to respond well to it, either. In each of our hearts is an innate aversion to a person or persons from the outside compelling us to do things that primarily benefit them.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, The High Cost of High Control, p. 93

    “There are two kinds of guilt‐‐that imposed from the outside and that which is intrinsic, which comes from within. The guilt imposed from the outside is not good and can turn toxic … But productive, healthy, good guilt comes from within and is the result of a tender conscience and an openness to God and others.”

  • - Stephen and Alex Kendrick, The Love Dare, p. 78

    “Have you ever wondered why God gives you overwhelming insight into your spouse’s hidden faults? Do you really think it’s for endless nagging? No, it’s for effective kneeling. No one knows better how to pray for your mate than you. Has your scolding or nagging been working? The answer is no, because that’s not what changes a heart. It is time to try talking to God in your prayer closet instead.”

  • - Stephen and Alex Kendrick, The Love Dare, p. 26

    “If you are walking under the influence of love, you will be a joy, not a jerk. Ask yourself, ‘Am I a calming breeze, or a storm waiting to happen?’”

  • - Tim and Joy Downs, The Seven Conflicts, p. 113

    “In marriage, even though we become one flesh, we still have private domains that belong to each of us… Nothing is easier to organize than someone else’s life.”

  • - Ed Welch, When People are Big and God is Small, p. 198

    “You may not have come from a solid family. Your home may have been a place where you were always being criticized and always wondering what others might be thinking. If so, don’t let your experience of family corrupt your understanding of what God says about it.”

  • - Ed Welch, Domestic Abuse: How to Help, p. 14

    “Cosmetic adjustments that make the person’s behavior more socially acceptable are not enough. You must expose the heart issues that motivate violence: cravings for power, love, control, comfort, money, respect, pleasure.”

  • - Tim and Joy Downs, The Seven Conflicts, p. 184

    “Family Systems therapists believe that problems not only originate within individuals, but in relationships between individuals. In other words, the problem isn’t you and the problem isn’t me; the problem is us. There is something in the way we relate to one another, something in the way our strengths and weaknesses collide, that causes this problem to exist at all.”

  • - Gary and Barbara Rosberg, Six Secrets to a Lasting Love: Recapturing Your Dream Marriage, p. 70

    “Sometimes—especially when spouses are angry—they clam up and give each other the silent treatment, thinking that the silence will communicate their perspective. Don’t mistake silence for communication. In fact, silence is often only manipulative.”

  • - Leslie Barner, A Way of Hope, p. 7

    “Change does take time, a lot of courage, and a great deal of support, but change can happen. And if you are in an abusive situation, change must happen.”

  • - Norman Wright, Communication: Key to Your Marriage, p. 66

    “Controlling the tongue needs to be a continuing aim for every husband and wife because everything that is said either helps or hinders, heals or scars, builds up or tears down.”

  • - Ed Welch, Domestic Abuse: How to Help, p. 7

    “The flesh and the devil thrive when hurts and sins are kept in the dark. For this reason, a wife can love her husband by letting him know the consequences of his sin in her life. This is not done to hurt; it is done to heal.”

  • - Theda Hlavka, Saying I Do Was the Easy Part, p. 22

    “We may have been victims in the past, but we’re responsible for how we respond and react to that past … Our past doesn’t have to control or determine our future.”

  • - Ed Welch, Domestic Abuse: How to Help, p. 15

    “Aim to solve the minor versions of the major sins as well as the major outbreaks. A judgmental attitude, grumbling, irritability, bickering, and arguing usually precede violence … People who learn to repent of grumbling—and thus learn both gratitude and contentment in Christ—will rarely need to repent of assault and battery.”

Next Steps
    • Write your thoughts down on paper to help diffuse the strong emotions involved.
    • List some of the things you have learned about how to truly  forgive and to seek forgiveness.  Discuss this list with your spouse and see if he/she has some input as well.
    • Take the Emotionally Destructive Relationship Questionnaire then plan to discuss this material with your spouse, your pastor or a trusted mentor.
    • Compromise can be a way of saying, “I love you.” Think of one  way you could express your love by compromising today.
    • There may be ways you are allowing others to control you without being accountable.  Pray for God to reveal those areas to you and show you how to handle them.
    • Be willing to confide in a pastor or counselor in your area who can lead you to biblical principles and if necessary, to local resources or  professional help.
    • Seek to understand the biblical role of a husband and a wife in marriage.
    • Search your heart for any bitterness that is there, confess it, and release
      it to God.
    • Pray for your mate.
    • Don’t give into the temptation to give your spouse the silent treatment.
    • Think about some of your recent conversations and ask yourself if they have been hindering or healing for your relationship.
    • Remember that you cannot change your spouse, only God can do that.
    • Repent of grumbling and learn about gratitude and contentment in Christ.
    • While you cannot single-handedly bring healing to your marriage, think about how you can begin to get healthier and invite your spouse into healthy change together.
    • If you feel like you are being controlled, establish some healthy boundaries and to learn constructive ways to express yourself.
    • Be patient.  Change takes a lot of time, but it can happen.
    • Think of one area of change you can make at this time—many small steps will lead to more permanent change.
    • Look for a way that you can extend grace toward the other person in this relationship today.
    • Be honest with yourself and confront areas that do not reflect God’s design.