Thursday, Oct 08, 2015

How to Recognize a Controlling Spirit

Identifying Jezebel

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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The Body of Christ is being plagued by a Jezebel spirit. What is a Jezebel spirit? In short, it is a spirit of control. The name derives from Jezebel, wife of Ahab in the Old Testament, who was a control freak.

Isolated hand control business man

A spirit of control has its roots in fear. Those who are dominated by a spirit of control always act out of fear, not out of love. When such a person is in a leadership role, the results can be disastrous, resulting in broken relationships and even church schisms.  

Here are some signs of a controlling spirit:

  1. Assuming authority one does not have.  I have seen this especially among pastors’ wives (or husbands) who believe that they have the rights of a co-pastor just because they are married to the pastor. A young woman came to me recently who had been hired for a paid position in her church. Her boss was the pastor, and she was told that she reported to him alone. The pastor’s wife, however, who was not this young woman’s boss, began to give orders to the young woman regarding how she was to do her job. When the young woman politely explained that the pastor was her boss and had given the young woman freedom to make basic decisions regarding her job, the pastor’s wife became irate. Upon closer investigation, the young woman discovered that this particular pastor’s wife continually interfered in her husband’s role as pastor, even though she was not ordained. The pastor, by the way, was afraid to confront his wife. While the young woman really liked her job, she could not continue to function under a controlling spirit and eventually left.
  2. Inability to admit that one was wrong. A controlling person will rarely, if ever, admit that he was wrong. He will not allow room for the viewpoints of others and insists that his viewpoint alone is the correct one. While displaying a false sense of confidence, controlling people are really very insecure.
  3. Taking matters into their own hands–especially matters that do not belong in their hands. A controlling person believes that no one can handle a matter as well as she can. This attitude is rooted in pride. A controlling person cannot bear to think that others may know more about something than he does. 
  4. Manipulating circumstances. Manipulation is one of the chief characteristics of a controlling spirit. A controlling person will go out of his way to get others to do things his way. Because control is rooted in fear, a controlling person attempts to maintain control of her environment by controlling others. In so doing, the controlling person is deceived into thinking she is safe and secure. 
  5. Casting blame on others. A controlling person will blame others for rifts in communication and for problems resulting from her controlling spirit. She must maintain a superior position in order to feel good about herself. She refuses to look at herself as the one responsible for the problem.

Dealing with a controlling person can be extremely difficult because the controlling person refuses to admit she is the problem. If you are involved with a controlling person, it is imperative that you establish your boundaries and express them. If you are under the authority of a controlling person, it is imperative that you not allow yourself to be abused. Pray for the person in authority over you, but if things don’t change, remove yourself from the situation. 

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10 thoughts on “How to Recognize a Controlling Spirit

  1. Having dealt with controlling spirits, I find your information to be 100% accurate! It is a shame that this issue has become so prevalent.

    Karen in Idaho

    • Thank you so much for your valued comment, dear Karen. Yes, you are right that it is a shame this issue has become so prevalent. May our Lord expose this evil in the Church and in our relationships and bring healing and restoration. Many blessings to you!

    • You ask an excellent question. Yes, there is most definitely a difference. All authority is given by God. The one who acts out of a God-given position of authority must exercise that authority in love. This means that the execution of authority must always be motivated by love, even when the person in authority must discipline or punish. Unfortunately, much exercise of authority is motivated by attitudes other than love. The controlling person, on the other hand, always acts out of either fear or a lust for power.

  2. Great info! Just curious how to handle my 84 yr old very controlling mother. I am 55 yrs old and am very tired of it.

    • Thanks for writing, Lynda. You ask an excellent question, one that many people struggle with.

      The first thing I would suggest is that you pray and ask the Holy Spirit for the right strategy in dealing with your mom. When we are trying to resolve a conflict of any sort, we must always speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4: 15).

      Next, I would suggest that you try to discuss the matter with your mom, according to Matthew 18: 15. This is the starting point in dealing with conflict in a relationship.

      I would also suggest that you establish your personal boundaries with your mom. It is likely that your mom may not change her ways unless she allows the Holy Spirit to change her. But that need not be of concern to you since you can control your own boundaries. To help you establish healthful boundaries with your mom, I highly recommend a book titled, simply, Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. The authors are Christian psychologists.

      In the midst of it all, love your mom. Controlling people are often very fearful people. Most of the time, their attempt to control is not borne out of a need for power but out of a fear of losing those they love. Controlling people almost always had a failure of trust in their lives, particularly in childhood. I say this not to excuse your mom’s control by any means but only to help you understand it. Sometimes when we understand, we can more easily love.

      Many blessings to you! And thank you again for writing.

      MaryAnn

  3. I understand that a Jezebel needs someone that functions like Ahab in order to manifest their control or bad behavior.
    I know you need to confront the person, explain, lay it out, and set boundaries.

    What do you do if the controlling person thinks you are abusive just because you open your mouth and be assertive? The only way to not be accused by this person of being abusive is not doing anything, saying anything, and being passive. When in reality, they are the ones that are using their emotions and spirit to control, and they are the ones being emotionally abusive to you.

    • This is an excellent question, Gregory. Thank you for posting it.

      You are correct in saying that a Jezebel needs an Ahab–and vice versa–to manifest these evil spirits. Both spirits need to be cast out in the Name of Jesus.

      When it comes to interaction, the person struggling with the Ahab spirit must set healthful boundaries and must not allow the person with the Jezebel spirit to control or manipulate, regardless of the reaction of the person with the Jezebel spirit. To back down in the face of aggression by the Jezebel only further enables the problem. Unless the Ahab sets healthful boundaries, the Jezebel will continue to control and abuse.

      Both of these spirits build strongholds in the soul, often at an early age. The first thing to do is to make sure that you have accepted Christ as your Savior. Then, use the authority and power He gives you as His son to bind both the Jezebel an Ahab spirits that are affecting your life. If you need help with this, seek a mature Christian who is experienced in deliverance ministry. Let me know how you fare.

      All evil spirits are under the dominion of the Christ-Follower. So rejoice and be glad!

      Blessings,

      MaryAnn

  4. How do you remove the person if it’s your wife, I am in a very dangerous situation, I need help, people think it’s only men who are abusive in a relationship, it’s not true, I fear my wife

    • Thank you for your excellent question, Nickolas. First of all, let me say that a controlling spirit is just that: a spirit. It takes hold of a person and begins to express itself through that person. The person is rarely aware of what is happening, but in some way, the person has permitted that spirit to take control of him or her. What I wish to make clear here is that your wife is in bondage to this controlling spirit. Your wife is not that controlling spirit, but in some way, that controlling spirit has taken control of your wife. So, you must separate your wife from the controlling spirit. This is what Scripture means when it says in Ephesians 6: 12 that “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

      Your battle is not against your wife. Your wife needs your prayers and support. Your battle is with the demonic spirit of control that has a grip on your wife’s soul.

      That said, here is what you need to do:
      1. Lead your wife to Christ if she is not already born again. I assume that you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord. If not, you need to do this as well.

      2. If both you and your wife have already accepted Christ, both of you have the power to cast out the spirit of control. I would suggest that you, as her husband, pray over your wife and, in the Name of Jesus, command the spirit of control to leave her.

      3. The spirit of control is called the Jezebel spirit, named after Jezebel in the Bible. Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab. There is a spirit called the Ahab spirit, and where we find the Jezebel spirit, we usually find the Ahab spirit. The Ahab spirit is a passive spirit that allows the Jezebel spirit to work. It is likely that you may be in bondage to the Ahab spirit. If so, cast it out in the Name of Jesus.

      4. Begin to pray daily with your wife and to study the Word together. Ask the Holy Spirit to put your relationship into proper alignment according to His dynamic for a marriage relationship. He will.

      Most of all, be encouraged that God loves you and your wife and that He placed you together for His purpose. Satan is trying to divide you and to destroy your relationship. Do not allow that to happen. Instead of fearing your wife, love her as Christ loves her. Recognize that something happened to her–most likely in childhood–that caused her to feel a need to control. When one controls, it is not usually out of a desire for power but out of a desire for security. Controlling people usually have suffered much instability, fear, and even abuse in childhood. So, as adults, they work hard at creating an environment where they are in charge because when erroneously think that when they are in charge, they are safe and secure. Of course, this is an illusion, but that is one of the ways the spirit of control deceives.

      Be encouraged that God is about to do a great thing for you and your wife. Stay close to the Lord. He will restore what Satan has stolen from you (Joel 2: 25).