January/April 2001

Independent's Day
an iga viewpont


Cycles of Changes
by Donovan Trana

Not long ago I had an interesting discussion with a friend who is a “family relations specialist.” She was telling me about cycles of behavior and the effect that they have on the relationships of couples and families. She explained that these cycles, in fact, define those relationships. 

On one hand, the cycle of behavior that comes from confidence and self-esteem encourages equality and mutual respect, because the partners don’t feel threatened by one another. On the other hand, the cycle of behavior that comes as a result of self-loathing and mistrust destroys a partner’s self-esteem. This creates dependency and then fear and threatens to control the relationship.

As I listened to her explain the dynamics involved, it occurred to me that much of what she was saying could be applied to the condition of the auto glass industry during the past eight to ten years. I found my mind reeling from the similarities of what, on the surface, seem to be two totally different situations. But are they?
My friend explained that in relationships where one of the participants is controlling another, the control cycle and its respective components are almost always clearly apparent. First of all, the aggressor uses intimidation, verbal attacks and isolation. Then begins the minimizing, denying, blaming, abuse of authority, economic control and involving friends and colleagues. Finally the aggressor uses coercion and threats to gain the ultimate goal—total power and control. By orchestrating the components of the control cycle, the aggressor is able to manipulate and literally mold his or her partner into the person he or she chooses.

Obviously, the key is to destroy any positive self-esteem. But, as time goes by, the aggressor finds that this Control Cycle has an inherent weakness: use it too much and it becomes too predictable to his or her partner. Therefore, it loses its effectiveness. So, in order to regain control, the aggressor moves to the seduction phase. In the seduction phase, the aggressor uses apologies, blaming, promises, gift giving and concessions in order to reestablish control. This appeases the partner and sets the stage for another round of the control cycle. The sad thing is that most people are never able to break out of this cycle. As a tool of control it’s simply that powerful. 

But then, my friend went on to explain that there is hope for those who are able to seek help. Hopefully a friend will help him or her find a professional who can supply information and teach the person the tools he or she needs to break free. The first thing these people need to understand is how an effective and cooperative relationship can work. Many times they have no clue as to what a normal cooperative relationship is like. The counselor will explain the cooperation cycle, which is non-threatening behavior, respect, trust/support, honesty, responsible cooperation, shared responsibility, economic partnership and fairness. This cycle creates the most needed component in the relationship—equality. Once the two parties can achieve a mutually respected equality, they are well on their way to changing their relationship, their lives and the lives of those they touch. 

So, what do you think? See any similarities?

If you don’t, then ask yourself where you fit into the control cycle. 

As for me, I consider myself and my company part of the new auto glass industry. I am working the cooperation cycle and I’m not giving up until I’ve seen true equality between our industry and the others we work with. Call me driven. Call me crazy. Or just call me. I’m looking for those who are ready to break free of the Control Cycle. 


Donovan Trana owns Express! Auto Glass in Muscatine, Iowa, and is president of the Independent Glass Association.



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