Definition: This is the gift given to you by someone that is spurred predominantly by feelings and thoughts of gaining or maintaining control in your life.

Now classic giving doesn’t fall under this domain. A controlled gift is one that comes with strings attached. It’s not coming from that nice, fuzzy place where you just want to give your partner a present just because, or even for their birthday or anniversary.


A controlled gift is one that stems from you wanting to have a string or connection to the receiver. You want something in return, or are giving mainly so that you can hold it back over the receivers head. “Look at all I have done for you, I have bought you yadayadayada.” He/she will always be indebted to you (in your mind), because of what you have done for them. It might even be a standard scenario of bribing you buying your affection.

For example, a friend of mine was recently offered a free gym membership from one of his Exes. You might say that this could just be a gift of a friend to another, but bear in mind that she went out of her way to gift him with this. She signed him up, on her gym account and he doesn’t have to pay a single dime. Controlled gift? Yes.

Most people aren’t gracious receivers and feel that any present given to them must be repaid in one shape or another. That is not true. Gifts are just that…simply gifts. They should not be turned into chains to leash you to any action besides a heartfelt thank you. Just because a guy buys you a nice bracelet doesn’t mean that you should throw caution to the wind and let him treat you like crap. Just because he paid for dinner doesn’t mean that you should serve yourself up as dessert, (unless you want to).

A lot of people give because it makes THEM feel good to give to you. They just like the look of absolute pleasure on your face when they present you with something they know you will like. It has nothing to do with how they want to be viewed by you or what they want you to do for them. Although not fully altruistic–it is a human, and more realistic motive.

It’s all about the intent. If the gift is coming from a genuine desire to please you and make you happy, then hey, I’m all about receiving graciously. However, if it’s a gift disguised as an expensive way for them to keep you in their corner, have you at their beck and call or throw back in your face at some distant future I’m going to have to say “Thanks but no thanks,” to your subtle form of control.
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Guest – who has written posts on Baggage Reclaim by Natalie Lue.


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4 Responses to Controlled Giving

  1. Franceegirl says:

    I began dating a guy and within one month, he offered me an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii that he was being sent to for business. I accepted thinking I couldn’t turn down such an amazing gift. Well, it was the worst vacation of my life. It messed me up totally because it was so expensive (massage, dinners, clothes, expensive hotel) so I felt I couldn’t complain. But he was very distant and cold towards me most of the trip. Turns out it was his ex-wife’s favorite vacation spot (she’d dumped him previously for another guy) and they had had many trips to Hawaii over their marriage.

    Later, my guess was that he invited me to somehow get back at her or make her feel bad. It was the most horrible experience of my life and I felt trapped as I was unable to leave. I should NEVER have accepted it. I was dumb.

  2. Vixen says:

    Francee….whoa, that’s crazy…exactly what I mean when I say controlled giving. People can be so manipulative. Keep your chin up sweets and learn from your mistakes.

  3. franceegirl says:

    Thanks Vixen. Amazingly, I’m still seeing the guy. He has changed his ways and we are working through a lot of stuff and definitely slowing down on the gift giving. He is actually a really, sweet and kind hearted guy — we just got started wrong.

    It hasn’t been an easy relationship, but ironically, we get along amazingly well. The Hawaii thing was a huge mistake and he has since apologized profusely. We’ve been seeing each other for nearly 7 months now. I honestly think his self-esteem was so low when we met that he “used” the Hawaii trip to hook me. My self-esteem was low as well, so I accepted!

    We were madly infatuated the first few months. Now, we’re slowing down a bit to reality. He was hurt and violated to the core by a cheating wife — so I understand where his head is at and realize his occasional distance towards me has nothing to do with me.

    I give him his space when he needs it and don’t freak out if a day or 2 goes without a call from him. I am very active and have a good set of friends. I remind myself when I need it that it isn’t about me. I do sometimes have doubts that I can sustain this. But then I’ll see him and enjoy his company so much that I realize he’s going through a healing process as she left him only a year ago. He is still in mourning. So I am patient.

  4. Franceegirl says:

    Hello again. Just thought I’d followup — it’s been six months since I wrote here. I’m still with my wonderful man! My patience has paid off. We’ve gotten so much closer. Got through that rough patch back in Aug/Sept. We’ve been together for over a year now and we love each other very much. I believe the key here has been my ability to stay calm and see things from an elevated point of view. Not take things personally and not freak out. Just slow down and let things happen at their own pace.

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