by Sandy Schneider
This paper explores how to liberate yourself from “controllers” — people who use control tactics and make life choices for other people. I looked for answers using the Transformation Oracle Deck to reveal which cards would help deal effectively with controllers.
Do other people influence your life choices?I believe that in the early stages of life and throughout our adulthood… parents, friends, significant others, bosses, etc. may try to control, dictate or decide what is best for us. Many of these people have good intentions, yet sometimes it may not be what we want in our life. We are given general or even specific expectations and rules of our society like finishing high school, going to college, trade school, getting married, having children, financial expectancies, sports careers, religion, politics, etc.
I had a goal to become a life coach when I was younger, yet I felt overwhelmed dealing with a controller in my life. All my passions and dreams felt like they were buried six feet underground. The anger and rage was so disruptive that I finally made a choice to turn off the controller’s voice.
Do you want to recognize and become aware of specific control tactics so that you’re able to pursue your life path?I started listening to my heart and how I was feeling mentally, spiritually and physically. I read books that taught me about personal boundaries, enabling, playing the victim and emotional abuse. I became highly tuned into controllers and found out they did not have my best interests at heart.
I have learned that “controllers” are not bad people, some are operating on what they have learned from others and they have not come to an understanding of how to let go or how to stop this behavior. I believe some controllers do not recognize their behavior or the impact they have on others. There are controllers who know exactly what they are doing and they don’t care to change, this is their natural comfort zone.
Questions to Ask Yourself
To see if you may be affected by a controller, here is a self-check list of questions:
- Do you listen to your own heart, your intuitions and inner guidance?
- Do you make your own decisions? Do you have a voice in making choices?
- Are your short term or long term goals coming true?
- Are you pursuing your passions?
- Are you aware that some people may use manipulation, emotional blackmail and control tactics to prevent you from getting what you want in your life?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, the Transformation Oracle reading I did has some clear messages of help and hope. Each card I pulled has an intuitive reading personally for you; the first impression of the card and its meaning is like finding the key to a treasure box. The cards are very accurate and guide you to solutions to this issue. Please read on!
How to Deal with Controllers
1st card – LIBERATION – “What’s a Heaven For?” (Fire Element) Action
This is an amazing card that depicts in the artwork a man in chains on his knees reaching up toward the light and recognizing that he can have freedom. He now has the power to be released from the chains, he is free to escape and feel relief as he is no longer allowing himself to be controlled by others. He is choosing independence, he treasures who he is and he is able to follow his heart and his dreams. The chains are falling off as he is no longer in bondage. His spirit will now soar like a bird. Freedom is a gift.
When you feel like you are in chains and being controlled or manipulated, it is important to be able to set boundaries and to take time to consider each issue and situation. Look at all of the possibilities and make decisions that are right for you.
Here is a list of Red Flags and Tactics of Controllers from the website Go Your Own Way:
- FOG which means Fear, Obligation and Guilt as emotional blackmail tactics
- They are in their element, their home or office
- Uses Power plays – making you wait
- Raises their voice
- Displays negative emotions, rage
- Uses silent treatment or stonewall
- Plays the victim, the blame game
- Appears to be Mr./Ms. Wonderful/ the Go to Guy/Gal at work but “NOT” at home
- Rolls their eyes equals “I do not value you, your opinion or your feelings.”
- It’s just a joke or uses humor to avoid conversation
- Makes victim feel selfish, when the controller is being completely selfish
- Puts their needs above yours, counts on you not putting your needs first
- Wants your compliance
- Threatens (either directly or indirectly) to punish or make you suffer if you don’t do what they want.
- Makes demands seem reasonable
- Knows your triggers
- Threatens to make things difficult
- Threatens to leave or end relationship
- Threatens to commit suicide or hurt themselves
- Ignores or discounts your feelings and wants
- Uses money as a tool to get their own way
- Showers you with gifts, approval when you give into them
2nd Card – Resurrection – “As sure as the Wind” (Water Element) Emotions
This is the perfect card to follow the Liberation card…after being chained to the earth now it is time to be born again, to take flight to go on a spiritual journey to search for answers, to be enlightened, to be transformed into a spiritual warrior and face life on an entirely new level. “Bring yourself back to life”
Spirals are believed to represent movement through experiences in life. The Celts in particularly viewed this symbol as one of progressive development, growth and expansion as we make our journey towards the center and towards the light. At the spiral’s center is where we find spiritual balance and realize our deep connection to the eternal forces of nature and the universe.
The spiral in the resurrection card represents…a sacred symbol that reminds us of our evolving journey in life. When used as a personal talisman, the Spiral helps consciousness to accept the turnings and changes of life as it evolves.2 Spirals are a continuous circle, it is spinning as it is creating life changes and becomes a portal to new beginnings. This spiral is needed when you are ready to let go of pleasing others and take time to listen to your own wishes.
The card shows a man fishing and in the water there is a battle represented by two mermaids offering opposing views…one holds the past and the other the future. The man has the choice to live in the past or to cast his line into the future. The past in this reading is having other people make choices for him or if he chooses to catch the future on his line he will be free to live the life he chooses, he will let go of the past…cutting the fishing line and reeling in the future.
3rd Card – Prayer – “Prayer Therapy” (Water Element) Emotions
Prayer is the perfect answer to any problem. It is time to get down on your knees and humbly pray to your Creator asking Him to reveal to you what to do next. He is the Pilot and we are the co-pilots. When we ask questions we need to be willing to see which doors open and which doors stay closed. If we continue to force our way through closed doors the end result may not be pleasant. The open doors usually get confirmations along the way and things flow into place. It doesn’t mean that we won’t run into any obstacles, failures or face trials along the way. That is all part of the learning process.
The PRAYER card encourages us to keep praying and have faith! Give thanks at all times, miracles happen when we ask God and the universe to help us, ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. Problems are opportunities to absorb, gather and understand everything with a new perspective. Praying is asking for help and God hears us. It does not have to be a formal prayer; it needs to be directly from your heart. Here are some examples of prayers for healing and help:
Native American Healers Prayer
Out of our own sorrows and joys
Out of our own losses and gains
Out of our own knowledge of ease and disease
Out of our own store of wealth and poverty
Out of our own efforts to walk through the darkness of disappointment and grief
We here in this place join hands and heart.
Knowing that life isn’t always easy
Knowing the rewards aren’t always tangible
Knowing that this Earth walk takes Courage and Support…
Dignity and Faith,
In Unity…leaning on each other,
We reach out to those in need
And wrap them, with gentle gossamer strands of Love light,
In a healing embrace…in a Sacred healing embrace,
And whisper words of encouragement…
Because we are all One on this planet,
We and the Earth…all One.
Every Human, every Animal…One.
Every Winged, Finned, Creepy-crawly creature.
Every Plant. Every Stone.
All who have come before us and will come after us…
One Sacred Circle of Life.
And we commit ourselves to the Stewardship of this Sacred Circle
and to this Sacred Planet, Earth.
And ask that our efforts be blessed with Grace and Approval.
We must succeed in this endeavor!
There is no other way, but Love.
There is nobody else, but us.
As we heal ourselves, we heal each other.
As we heal each other, we heal the world.
So be it.
© 1996-97 Laura Krieger
Psalm 86 Living Bible (TLB) David’s Prayer
86 Bend down and hear my prayer, O Lord, and answer me, for I am deep in trouble.
2 Protect me from death, for I try to follow all your laws. Save me, for I am serving you and trusting you. 3 Be merciful, O Lord, for I am looking up to you in constant hope. 4 Give me happiness, O Lord, for I worship only you. 5 O Lord, you are so good and kind, so ready to forgive, so full of mercy for all who ask your aid.
6 Listen closely to my prayer, O God. Hear my urgent cry. 7 I will call to you whenever trouble strikes, and you will help me.
8 Where among the heathen gods is there a god like you? Where are their miracles? 9 All the nations—and you made each one—will come and bow before you, Lord, and praise your great and holy name. 10 For you are great and do great miracles. You alone are God.
11 Tell me where you want me to go and I will go there. May every fiber of my being unite in reverence to your name. 12 With all my heart I will praise you. I will give glory to your name forever, 13 for you love me so much! You are constantly so kind! You have rescued me from deepest hell.
14 O God, proud and insolent men defy me; violent, godless men are trying to kill me. 15 But you are merciful and gentle, Lord, slow in getting angry, full of constant loving-kindness and of truth; 16 so look down in pity and grant strength to your servant and save me. 17 Send me a sign of your favor. When those who hate me see it, they will lose face because you help and comfort me.
4th Card – Stuck – “Waiting for the Miracle” (Water Element) Emotions
When you are in a situation with a controller, they can convince and deceive you into believing that you have no rights and you feel like you can’t do anything right. Your self-esteem will take a dive and you feel numb, frozen and stuck. You feel overwhelmed and unable to think. Your goals, passions and dreams disappear and you are left feeling angry or you may feel “nothing”, like going blank is the only way I can explain it. Being stuck is a wakeup call that is serious and will need your full attention. It means you have not let go and moved on to a better place. Live in the present, forgive and keep moving forward.
The advice in the Transformation Oracle guidebook is, “Turn to others for help and act on their advice.” This is exactly what I had to do in my life and it was very difficult to hear the truth from others and to break away from a controller. Your friends, family, counselor are all throwing you a lifesaver while you are drowning and you need to trust them and allow the rescue to proceed.
Even if you know what the root cause of your sense of being stuck is, it is important to open up all areas of your life. The following are ten ideas to get yourself moving, paraphrased from the website Transformational Arts.
- You have to let go of the magical thinking that it will get better by itself. It won’t. This is not a test from the universe. It doesn’t work that way. Own that somehow you have fallen asleep at the wheel and must now shake yourself awake and take decisive action.
- Do things differently. This is like the advice in the JOURNEY card, the very first card in the Transformation Oracle deck. Start small. You want to push yourself out of your comfort zone and expand your sense of safety. Brush your teeth with your other hand. Drive to work on a different route. Walk your dog on a different route. (Don’t worry your puppy will know to relieve itself along the new route.) Go shopping at different stores. The list can be quite endless. So sit yourself down and write down some things you can do differently in your life.
- Writing down what you want to change and looking at it as a reminder of your decision to change your life will keep you conscious of what you wish to accomplish. Post it where it is an ongoing reminder to do things differently. If you do not, before you can blink, you will be back doing the same things in the same way.
- Give yourself permission to feel uncomfortable. All new behavior feels awkward. In a short period of time you will have the new behavior under your belt and it will feel comfortable.
- Feeling fear is normal. Just think of it as normal discomfort. The role of fear is to stop change in our life that can threaten our status quo. Do not give in to your fear; it is only doing its job. If you give in, making changes later will be that much more difficult.
- Monitor yourself on a chart as to the new things you have done.
- =Reward yourself in a healthy way for each new thing you do differently and consistently. Now that you have started to change some of the smaller things in your life, you will feel your energy increasing and sense of greater empowerment creeping back in.
- On to the bigger things. If you can identify what in your life may be at the route of being stuck, it is time to take a look at this area, perhaps it is your job. Remember that being stuck is to have become disengaged from things. On a sheet a paper, write down what you would like to change, including feelings and attitudes, which will assist you to re-engage in your career. Sometimes we need to identify what we do not like, before we can identify what it is we do like.
- Your plan to re-engage in your career needs to start small, the same as above and build your level of comfort and energy back up. If you start with too much, too fast, you may just be setting yourself up to be unable to push forward and you will remain stuck.
- Monitor your progress and reward yourself accordingly.
5th Card – Celebration – “Carpe Diem” (Water Element) Emotions
This card is exactly what you want to do once you have prayed and are able to turn off the controllers’ voice and listen to your own voice. CELEBRATE! Each day is a new beginning where you get to decide what you want to do next. The controller is no longer there to restrict, influence or manipulate you. You are free to make mistakes, free to follow your passions, you are unleashed and ready to make a difference in the world.
Let go and have fun! Every day is a celebration of freedom!
Be wild and free again like when you were a child, don’t be afraid to laugh, dance and play!
6th Card – Trickster – “Wherever I Go, There I Am!” (Air element) Mind / Thought Patterns
After the celebration of freedom you may think everything is perfect now but the Trickster reminds us that we have considerable more work to do and the journey has just begun. The advice for this card says, “Laugh at your mistakes.” Moving away or running away doesn’t work. You have to face yourself…your issues, your weaknesses, how you personally handle your relationships with others and then make some inside changes. The best part about this card is that while we are working on ourselves we can also laugh along the way, because laughter erases the pain.
7th Card – Descent “Treasure Hunt” – (Earth element) Body & Material Possessions
You are searching for answers to why all this had to happen, you are looking deeper inside yourself so that you can figure out how to avoid this pitfall again. You find shadows of your past and realize the influences that were created while you were a child. You can see with adult eyes now and review and rewind the past to get a better look at your decisions. The obstacles have been removed and you can now see the past clearly for the first time. The spiritual awareness illuminates all that has happened in your life so that you can gently move out of the darkness back into the light. The advice for this card reminds us that descent “Removes obstacles that separate us from the Great Mystery”.
8th Card – Perspective – “What Meets the I” (Fire element) Action
The advice for this card is, “Change your viewpoint.” There are many different views and interpretations of things that have happened in our past. The memories we had as a child need to be challenged using a transformed mindset. We can look at everything that happened through a spiritual magnifying glass and pray for guidance so we can forgive and move on to a better place.
9th Card – Strengthen – “Buffalo Medicine” (Fire element) Action
There will be many battles, and you will grow stronger every day, strengthen your spiritual muscles, put on the armor of God, protect your spirit and heart and success will be yours. Forgiveness will give you the strength and power needed to overcome obstacles on your path. As this card advises, we need to always “Be resilient!”
I prayed to God asking the Transformation Oracle how I could help others deal with controlling people, the cards literally popped out so that part was easy. The hard part was looking at all of the cards that accurately described from beginning to end the journey of transformation. The pattern of the elements: I was on fire, full of enthusiasm when I was young and then my emotions (water) were locked up and I felt like I was drowning (water). I could not breathe or think logically. This was a very slow journey, many years passed by…then the emotional turmoil left and a breath of fresh (air) arrived just in time. My intellect took over and I was able to access the resources needed to become unwavering, firm and stable. I faced the truth and acquired a realistic perspective. I found the buried treasure (earth) of experience and wisdom. I am no longer taking things personally or allowing others to make decisions for me. The fire has come back to transform all negativity into a positive light, the fire has burned the old and what remains is completely different. The Spirit has taken over and the Fire continues to heal my soul. I love the flow of all the cards! The cards popped out in exactly the order they are listed here and each card carries a very personal and invaluable message. I have struggled with controllers in the past and I can attest to each card/message being precisely on target.
It is important to seek spiritual guidance, create boundaries seek counselors, advisors, family and friends who are willing to help you succeed and get away from people who are manipulating or controlling you. It is not possible to change another person and to attempt to change anyone is a complete waste of your energy. In verbally abusive or physically abusive relationships…if no one believes you or your afraid to ask for help then you must be strong enough to leave the situation and never return.
I am very thankful to friends and counselors who gave me clear guidance and advice when I struggled with this issue. The Transformation Oracle cards give spiritual insight and guidance that are extremely useful for personal development.
According to Susan Forward, Ph.D. (Forward and Frazier 1997), emotional blackmail is a “powerful form of manipulation in which people close to us threaten, directly or indirectly, to punish us if we don’t do what they want.” The main tool of the trade, Susan Forward says, is FOG: fear, obligation, and guilt. A “FOG transaction” has four parts: the demand, the resistance, pressure and threats, and compliance. Read more.
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