Imperative Thinking

While imperative people may not have their list of regulations typed on a legal document to be signed, they have a mental agenda that they apply in a wide variety of circumstances. They know how others should behave, speak, and feel, and nothing else matters to them but meeting that standard. In the meantime, the relationship is lost.

(They are) in essence stating, “I’ll accept you only after you meet my conditions.” And since each of us responds negatively to this kind of emotional blackmail, we become angry or tense. There is a hidden message of conditional acceptance. It’s as if (they are) saying, ‘I don’t think you can be trusted to make good decisions; you’ll probably foul things up… If you’ll fit my mold and be what I think you should be, we’ll get along okay; but if you don’t, I’ll have to hound you until you shape up.”

Les Carter, Imperative People: Those Who Must Be in Control