Is there a term that exists implying contradictory aspects of both control and being controlled? A term expressing a simultaneous dichotomy along the lines of:

  • controller/controlled
  • master/slave
  • jailer/prisoner
  • governor/governed
  • superior/subordinate

One might perhaps use this term of a drug user, who both controls the substance entering the body, but ends up controlled by the substance, or a situation where a person in authority over another person ends up under the authority of that second person (depending on context). So some examples might be:

  • The man was a ____ to methamphetamine.

  • The man was her ____, her political leader, led politically himself just as often by her words of wisdom.

But does such a single term exist to describe this relationship?


2 Answers 2


This may be overly poetic, but your question made me think of a phrase from Shakespeare's Hamlet:

Hoist with his own petard

The speaker, Prince Hamlet, was invoking the image of a bomb-maker who is accidentally blown up by the explosive he is trying to deploy.


There doesn't seem to be a single word that is as all-encompassing and specific as you requested. I have, however, found an excellent alternative:

A walking contradiction, as featured in the eponymous Green Day song.

Additionally, here's an older thread that also tackles the issue of contradiction, with excellent answers that might pique your interest.

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