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Here are some writings from various articles on EQI.org related to caring vs. control.
As I say in this article, I have noticed in my travels around the world that there are many more people who control us than who care about us. And I wonder what the world would be like if we simply had more people who cared about us and fewer people who controlled us.
Google Search - "More Caring or More Control" - as of Oct 20, 2011 there were no results found....
One day I happened to be walking by an expensive private school in downtown Sydney just during their lunch break. The school was surrounded by a high fence. From inside the fence, students were starting to pour out. I noticed that they all had to show a guardian something as they left. I assumed it was some kind of a pass, but feeling curious to know more, I stopped to speak with the guardian.
He and one of the older students explained that they students must show that they have their parents' permission because if anything happens to the students, the school can't be held liable. So the school is obviously controlling the students' freedom to leave at lunch time with the rest of their friends while protecting its own interests.
One day while in Bulgaria a university student told me her parents disapproved of her living with a Muslim from Turkey. She said her father told her that he would never forgive her and he stopped paying for her to study English at the university. She said her mother stopped writing her.
This is an example of control vs. caring. I have not yet asked the girl if she felt more cared about or more controlled by her parents when they did this, but I suspect she will say more controlled.
Once a student from New Zealand told me her boyfriend made her delete all the other male friend's numbers from her cell phone the other day. At the time I wondered if she felt more cared about or more controlled. A few years later he became physically abusive to her.
I have written before about caring
and control. I just realized that if you have never had
someone truly care about you, it is likely you will try
to compensate for this unmet need by trying to feel in
control of something or someone. It is easier to see this
being in Eastern Europe.
Do teachers get paid to care?
One day I was in the kitchen of a hostel and one of
the workers walked in quickly and said Come with
me. I felt a little surprised by this but decided
to go see what he was talking about. Then he took me to
the door and showed me how to lock and unlock it. He said
he had seen me trying to unlock it the night before. So
he gave me a small lesson on it. It wasnt necessary
at all. I had already figured out how to unlock it
myself. I didnt tell him that though. I let him
think that he was helping me and I appreciated him
- From Romania 2008
This writing is about a high school student and her family in Ecuador. Her home and school were so much like prisons that I started refering to them as such, and to her parents as "wardens." The mother had told me her daughter was an angel, but later she hit that same angel for not obeying her...
I had been talking to my angel friend about caring vs. control. A few days ago I wondered if the warden said she wanted the daughter/inmate back at the prison by a certain time each day because she cared about her or because she felt a need to control her. The inmate had almost had me convinced that the warden cared about her. But last night, what was the main motivation in hitting the angel/inmate/teenage daughter?
Was she just showing how much she cared about her and how concerned she was for her health and happiness? Is this her way of showing these things?
I wonder if the warden would sit and look me in the eyes and tell me that yes, she hit her because she loves her. This reminds me of the school director who said love was the highest value at his school. This is the kind of myth that is perpetuated by adults to try to confuse children and teenagers: I hit you and punish you because I love you. (Note - Later I was in Peru and I heard that they actually have a common saying there: Te pego porque te amo. This means literally, I hit you because I love you. Not only will parents say this to their children and teenagers, but men will say it to their wives.)
But if this is the way they show their love, I would say, "No thank you. I would rather look elsewhere for love."
No, I don't believe this warden/mother was showing how much she cared about her daughter's health and happiness. Instead, I believe the mother felt out of control. I have felt out of control, too, in my life. Sometimes I have used violence to try to feel more powerful and in control. But often when I realize I care about someone but I can't control them, I simply break down and cry.
When someone cries over us, I suspect we feel more cared about than when someone hits us or punishes us. I'm not sure about this for everyone, but I think I would certainly feel more cared about if someone cried than if they hit me.
Other EQI.org Topics:
Study about Caring vs Controlling Parents finds teenage girls were six times more likely to suffer from depressive disorders than those in the optimum parenting group, where parents are perceived as being caring but not controlling.
Too many people controlling. Not enough caring or producing. Reducing resources -> struggle for those resources.