Controlling Others

We all want to have control. We want to control our environment. We want to control people in our lives. Why? Perhaps because we have needs that involve others (e.g., being loved, accepted). Nevertheless, it is very difficult to control other individuals. If we engage in controlling behaviors—blaming, threatening, guilting, shaming, and blackmailing—then we might drive people away. By trying to control them, we paradoxically push them to resist, rebel, and defy our wishes.


How to Be There for Someone: Words of Wisdom

In a scene from Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, one driver, Wizard (played by Peter Boyle), is trying to offer advice to Travis, another cab driver (played by Robert De Niro). Wizard tries to but ultimately fails to communicate words of wisdom to Travis, who then hesitantly says, “Yeah, I don’t know. That’s about the dumbest thing I ever heard.” Wizard replies, “I’m not Bertrand Russell. Well, what do ya want, I’m a cabbie, you know.”


What Is Cognitive Dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance

Originally proposed by Leon Festinger, cognitive dissonance theory suggests we experience an unpleasant and uneasy state of mind whenever we become aware of major conflicts between our values, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, etc. Cognitive dissonance can occur in many situations, especially when we need to choose among important options.