The Controlling Person

Dear Bubbe,

There is someone in my group who is very pushy and always gets her way. I’ve tried to point this out to the group, but no one wants to say anything because she does so much. They are afraid if they upset her, she’ll leave. What can we do?

Fraidy Cat

 Dear Fraidy Cat,

I am guessing that you feel unimportant, because you never get what you wish and no one seems to care. It sounds like the group has decided to make a bargain with the devil. They have traded joy in partnership for a workaholic despot.

Maybe we can feel compassion for the group’s decision. Perhaps your group has a reputation in the community for accomplishment. The group may love that identity more than it loves inclusivity. If the members of your group depend upon the pushy member to get things done, then they will want to try to please her by staying out of her way. From their point of view, the ends justify the means.

The fact that you ask, “What can we do?” suggests that you want the others to join you in changing the situation. I doubt they will join you if they are essentially happy with the results and can tolerate the limited range of their personal choice. You, on the other hand, may want an entirely different group experience. For you, how you accomplish your goals may be as important to you as the goals themselves.

If the membership is essentially content with the way things are, then your most compassionate decision may be to leave the group, not out of anger, but out of respect for their choices and respect for your own.