Covert Control In Relationships

controlHi Elsa,

I’ve recently been looking back at my life so far. I came to realise that one of the many patterns of how I engage, broadly, is that I’m un-sticky, if that makes sense. Now at least in relationships, I know Venus Neptune themes pervade but I just thought of something else too. The concept of owing something makes me uneasy. I have, more or less, managed to live a debt-free life (& I don’t just mean money) so far in as much as one can do that, barring some instances (e.g. debt owed to parents can never be cleared, at least for me).

As someone who thinks and writes a lot about relationships, what’s your take on this side of things? Are meaningful relationships ever debt-free?

Girl from India

Hi, Girl from India.

I don’t think this is a Venus Neptune issue, at least not primarily.  I tend to think it has to do with control. I’ll offer and example of what I mean. You can see if it fits.

For the record, I think this is a lot more common than people might think. They just don’t recognize it, so I’m glad you brought it up. I’ve encountered this a number of times over the course of my lifetime. I’m going to use a “validated” example.

I knew couple one time. I knew the man first and his wife, once they married.  The husband asked me to do a favor for his wife. The favor was significant. I was to maintain her business while the couple went on vacation for two weeks.

Her business was similar to mine. She was doing what I was doing in another genre so I was the perfect person to ask. But it was a great responsibility and her standard was higher than mine, meaning I can and will fly by the seat of my pants and ignore typos.  She was classier. This made it stressful because I had to work above my standard!

So I did this work and they paid me something; I don’t recall what.  I was doing it for friendship, like watching someone’s dogs while they’re out town?  So I took the payment and I was just glad I managed without any remarkable mishaps.  A few days later I got a box from Amazon.

This gal had sent me a gift. It was useful rather than personal. It was appropriate and generous too.    So I emailed her my thanks and then later, I mentioned it while talking to her husband.  Something like, ‘That was nice of _____….”

This is when he explains, “No it was not nice”.  He said this is the way his wife “discharges” people.

He said she did not want to be indebted to anyone, to ever have anyone feel they were owed something, or that they could come be her friend or anything else. This was my parting gift, see?  Severance!

Considering your serious attitude regarding your debt to your parents, it makes sense you’d not want to incur more serious debt.  You may have a way that’s similar to this gal… who I never interacted with again, post that email.

It’s not like there were no more vacations. She just wouldn’t ask twice, less someone might think she wants to get friendly or something. She simply did not want to be a position where someone could say, “I did this for you – you owe me!”

Does anyone see themselves?


11 thoughts on “Covert Control In Relationships”

  1. I have Venus in Taurus (8th house) inconjunct Saturn. I once had a conversation where I told a friend that I’m not that careful with my own money but that I’m careful with other people’s money.

    I knew an Aries girl who was the reverse. She didn’t mind spending other people’s money. But I remember once she was stalked in college and it got to be very bad and then later on, there was a similiar case. I don’t know if the two things are related. But I always personally am very cautious when it comes to money and men.

    There was another post Elsa wrote about getting out of situations safely like in dating. And I’ve met a lot of girls and women that have been abused or taken advantage of.

    I grew up in a Buddhist household, so there’s always been talk about owing people and karmic debt. I don’t know if that’s part of the influence as to why I do the things I do. But I don’t feel entitled (not sure if that’s the best word for it) to people’s energy and resources without giving back. I overcompensate though (so I’ve been told) because I was to make sure the balances are even.

    I was born Virgo Asc and Libra South Node. I think I might be a progressed Libra ascendant now…
    Sorry for the long post. I feel bad even taking up space on the blog comment section.

  2. This topic has me thinking about holidays, gift giving and such. I have noticed some people are uncomfortable receiving a gift if they do not have a gift to give in return. Others accept gifts easily and offer a sincere thank you. I have always enjoyed giving cards or baked goods (cookies) to celebrate a friend’s birthday, often as a surprise.

    I recently treated my daughter in law to an afternoon spa day for pedicures. We rarely spend time together and I looked forward to doing this for her. We had a nice time. Later that afternoon, once she was back at home, she called and invited me to go out to dinner, her treat. I got the feeling she felt indebted to me. I gladly accepted.

  3. I feel that I am a better Giver and a lousy Receiver.

    I have always wondered why. I feel that it has something to do with Scorpio-aspects and Ascendant, making me generally controlling under the surface. Does anyone else feel this way?

  4. I’m definitely like this.
    Especially when it comes to ‘personal loans’ or what I call ‘street debt’.
    I just don’t wanna hear anything bout ‘I owe’ or ‘I did this, that or the other thing’ for you.
    In fact it’s my attitude about work as well:
    Do the job thoroughly and magnificently that way my name shouldn’t be on your lips.
    Sometimes this backfires because while I’m doing this to avoid scrutiny or pushback vs seeking approval – when I DONT get a promotion or something sometimes I’m pissed off.
    I think this is mostly from Taurus Sun in 8.
    Your stuff/my stuff, I owe/you owe…these lines of demarcation are seemingly always being drawn.

  5. I’m laughing because this describes me so well! Virgo sun,10th house Saturn in Capricorn Square 7th house Venus in Libra. I’m very nice about it but also absolutely relentless in severing the tie. It took me years to consciously understand this about myself. Keeping that distance is essential to maintain an even keel. More so in professional relationships than personal.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll to Top