Tuesday, July 14, 2009


"We either love people or we control them. There’s little room for anything else. And its far easier to control them than to love them." - John Eldredge

In Mennville this past Sunday I spoke about loving one another as an antidote to controlling behaviors. Controlling behaviors (pressuring, criticizing, nagging, blaming, complaining, etc) are loveless as they lack the respect for other's free will. It is impossible to love and control at the same time - despite what we think or feel. The abusive man who controls his wife (all the time saying he loves her) is not loving her. The nagging wife says she is nagging her husband (because it is the only way to move him to action) is not loving him. Controlling behaviors always damage relationship as we always resent those who do not up respect our freedom to choose our own destiny.

This evening in our small group we discussed controlling behaviors, especially attempts by family members to control us or us controlling them. Although they may have the purest of motives, it's amazing how much we resent and rebel against mother, fathers, brothers, and sisters who overtly or subtly try to control us. Dave gave a good example of this, the technique of "voluntelling." Here's the definition from the Urban Dictionary :


(verb) To unwittingly volunteer someone's services without allowing them the opportunity to decline.

Variations: voluntelling, voluntold
"Who are we gonna get to finish copying and collating the TPS reports?"

"I'll voluntell Steve to take care of it."

Classic controlling technique, a variation of manipulation. Are you guilty of voluntelling? Or are you a constant victim? Driver style bosses or managers can sometimes be terrible with this technique, not to mention church bullies. I have been both victim and assailant when it comes to this technique. If you are the victim of a voluntelling addict, try this:

1. Just say no. "I'm sorry, but no. If you want to ask me, fine, but what you said isn't asking."
2. Point out that they are not asking you, but telling you. "You make it sound like you are asking me, but you're not - you're telling me. How come?"
3. Ask them "Is there a question you have for me?"

Any other ideas?

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