Unconscious Control Freaks and Communication

Are you a control freak? Could you be one and not even know it?

Every time you or I open our mouths to speak, a potentially hidden intent to control may be escaping.

Most of us might find this hard to believe about our own communication dynamics. However, I’d wager that you probably do one or more of the following:

  • Have you tried to mask your true feelings so the other person didn’t sense them?
  • Have you said something to bolster your own ego and come across more on top of a situation than you actually were?
  • Have you something in a manner that could potentially manipulate and provide you with something you wanted?
  • Have you remained silent when you wanted to speak up?
  • Have you said something to brush an issue under the carpet or to avoid having conflict?
  • Have you tried to be right?
  • Have you avoided speaking the truth so as to preserve someone’s feelings?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you’re pretty normal. Susan Campbell, author, speaker and interpersonal relationship expert says, “Almost 90 percent of all human communication comes from an (unconscious) intent to control.”

Dr. Campbell offers seven keys to saying what is real. Use the keys below to start more effective conversations. Instead of speaking words with a hidden intent to control try these on:

“Hearing you say that, I feel . . .”
When someone gives you an opinion or feedback or a comment where you have feelings, use this key. It prompts you to check in with yourself first and identify your feelings and body sensations. The idea is you become more authentic and real versus reactive.

“I want . . .”
This key is meant to be followed by a specific request you can make in the moment. When we ask for what we want in the same moment of experiencing the want, we increase our chance of getting the request fulfilled. We also generate a sort of energy or power that makes the experience edifying.

“I have some feelings to clear . . .”
Intended to open up a way to resolve uncomfortable situations and feelings, this phrase can help us avoid withholding or leaving unfinished business out there to spoil.

“I’m getting triggered . . .”
We’ve all had our buttons pushed by someone. This key phrase can help us get back to the present moment, own what is happening to us, and avoid acting out in a defensive or aggressive mode. Use this key to help you reconnect to yourself and your reality instead of overreacting.

“I appreciate you for . . .
Appreciation is a mainstay of Conversational Intelligence®. It is an excellent means to change the neurochemistry of your communication. It prompts you to celebrate things you are grateful for and allows the other person a chance to feel seen and connected with.

“I hear you, and I have a different perspective . . .”
I personally love this key. When two people have a difference in opinions, wants or needs this compound sentence is useful. Consciously working to hear the other person can center ourselves and the conversation into the fact that two points of view are occurring. We also create an opportunity to be heard and perhaps work through the discomfort of clashing realities.

“Can we talk about how we’re feeling . . .”
Breaking a pattern of argument and conflict is smart. This key can help us call “time out” and discuss our feelings.

If you’ve been looking for guidelines and key phrases that you can use to speak more honestly and profoundly, check out the book Saying What’s Real: 7 Keys to Authentic Communication and Relationship Success by Ph.D. Susan Campbell on amazon today. For the inside scoop on what Lyn is currently reading, download her personal reading list from our resources today!