My dad’s need for control manifests itself in diverse ways. We call one control game “information warfare.” In this game, the goal is to try to disclose as little information as possible while not seeming to obviously evade the question. For example:
Dad comes through the door in the middle of a workweek.
I look up to see who it is, “Why are you here?”
Dad: “I have to be here, I’m sorry.”
Dad: “I’m not good.”
Me: “You’re not feeling good, or you have been bad?”
Me: “Well it’s good you’re here, we can get burritos for lunch.”
Dad: “I can’t do that but you can do that.”
Me: “You’re not making any sense.”
The game is played all the time. Like soccer, most of it is just little trade offs until my dad finds the right time to strike and make a “goal”. A goal in this game is for him to get the other person to make a false conclusion based on incomplete and/or false or misleading information that he has been feeding them.
Brother: “Dad, are we going to refinance that rental property?”
Brother: “Dad, I was talking to my realtor who says that if we refinance we might be able to get enough out for a down payment on another property.”
Brother: “Apparently the rates are the lowest they’ve been all year.”
Brother: “Dad, I filled out some paperwork for the bank to refinance that rental property.”
“You did what?!”
“We talked about this, my realtor thought we could get some extra money out and lock in a very low rate.”
“Stupid, stupid, stupid.” Three stupids in my dad’s lexicon is almost like an epithet—you are very seriously stupid. “That property is in a limited liability partnership! Banks won’t refinance a property that’s in a limited liability partnership!”
And that’s how you score a goal.