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July 9, 2015

We have often discussed in this blog the reality that an abuser acts from a need to control. While I don’t believe that a person has the right to control another, I have to recognize that for some the need exists.  Thinking about this need, and the horrific shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, I realized that the shooter tried to control his world too. I began to think of tools a person could use, other than anger and violence,  to control their surroundings.

Here are some tools that I suggest a controller/abuser use as a substitute:

  • Goals: Define what you really want in life and set goals to achieve it. When you use a pre-determined plan properly, you always know what your position is and where you are going. If life is not bringing you to your destination fast enough, change the plan and set different goals. Violence does not provide predictability because of its very nature.
  • Education: Study those around you to learn how to handle situations that you may encounter by negotiating instead of hitting. The more you know, the better you are at controlling conversation or situations.
  • Listening:. If given a chance, people will tell you where they are heading, what drives them, and give you clues as to how you can interact with or even control them, if that is what you need.
  • The world is about all of the people in it: Rich, poor, educated in your way, or not, young, old with a variety of religions, races, and cultural practices. If your need to control dictates that you must change something, nudge it in the right direction. You will be more effective than when you slash them with a knife or knock them over the head.
  • Identify opportunities: Be the first in a crowd to introduce yourself to a new person. Learn about that new person. Become a mentor. Use their knowledge to further your goals. Introduce your new friend to others and be in charge.
  • Love: When it is expressed, love goes a long way to bring control and make changes. The confessed shooter in Charleston told police that the church members were so nice to him that he seriously considered not going through with his horrific deed. If only he’d let them love him longer.
  • Compassion: Approaching a situation with compassion brings admiration, power and control your way.
  • Forgiveness. In court, the Mother Emmanuel victims’ families, just hours after their loved ones were gunned down, offered foregiveness to the shooter. How strong is their control of public opinion!

Anger and abuse are prevalent in many households, and in local, state and national governments as well as on the international level.  It’s not right on any level and I doubt that it is ever more productive than the avenues I’ve suggested above.

What are your thought on this issue? My readers and I would like to hear from you. Please reply to this post or email me at


C. L. Woodhams, author of The Outreach committee, a multiple award winner.

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