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Dealing With Controlling People

By Edited Aug 13, 2016 1 3

Dealing with controlling people can be challenging but it is absolutely doable. The thing with controlling people is that they want you and their world to operate a certain way. When it doesn't, they start feeling upset and become demanding because they don't know how to adapt to the situation. Your job in this situation is not to pander to their inability to adapt. Your job is to protect yourself and to prevent yourself from being an enabler. If you can not keep an arm's distance because this person in your life is a family member, then you need definitive techniques for dealing with the controlling people in your life.

Learn to Say No - And That's All

If someone is trying to control and manipulate you into doing something and your typical reaction is to give in out of guilt then this section is for you. Practice saying "no" calmly and firmly in front of your mirror. The key here is to not engage in a dialogue. The moment someone oversteps your boundaries and you need to  disengage, tell that person "No, I can't talk, I'm going to go do XYZ task." Then leave. If the other person tries to repeatedly engage you and stop you from leaving and that is not something you are okay with, repeat what you said again - "I can't talk, I'm going to go do XYZ task," and then leave.  Be consistent with your behavior. If you give on one day and not the next, you are teaching the other person to keep trying until you give in.

Don't Let Guilt Control You

Most people who allow themselves to be controlled fall into the "people-pleaser" category. They don't want to upset anyone so they allow themselves to be pushed around and then get upset days later. If you are one of these people, you probably feel guilty saying "no" and laying out your own agenda. When dealing with controlling people, one of the things you need to deal with is your own guilt. Decide in advance that you are not going to allow guilt to control you and actively work on developing a new support system. Talk to your guilt. Are you making decisions that you know are right for you or are you making decisions out of guilt or fear? If it is the latter, then step back from the situation and talk to yourself. Allow yourself to feel the guilt and then tell yourself that there is a better way. You can't command respect in a situation if you don't treat yourself with respect. Make a distinction between guilt and "doing the right thing." You can do the right thing without being controlled.

Set and Achieve Your Own Goals

Create a set of short and long term goals. Figure out how to achieve your goals for the day while dealing with the people in your life. Each time you are there for yourself you will gain the strength to be there for yourself again. People will also respect your boundaries more if you have a set of clear goals that you achieve on a regular basis.

Avoid the Victim Mentality

If you tend to complain a lot about all the people that control you and how your own situation is out of control, then you may have a case of the victim mentality. This means that you don't truly believe that you can change your own situation when you really can. If you are reading this and feel that it strikes a chord, step back and figure out what you can do to change your situation. Sometimes it takes placing people at an arm's length and being firm on a continual basis to regain a sense of self and to start doing what you want to do in life.

Talk About It

Let the other person know that you're feeling controlled. If that tends to make the situation explosive, then maybe its time for you to leave that situation. If the person is open to hearing what you have to say, then the situation may be workable. Talk about how you're feeling at a time when you know that you can do so calmly. Deal with the controlling people in your life and get a sense of control back in your life by taking initiative.

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Comments

Apr 13, 2011 8:20pm
trace
Hello! This is true. You really cant change controlling people but you can do something to bear with the habit! Great article!
Apr 14, 2011 9:21am
Deborah-Diane
Great advice for dealing with controlling people! They can be very manipulative, and it is nice to simple take a few steps that help you set your boundaries!
Apr 14, 2011 6:03pm
footloose
Good reminders. The victim mentality wreaks havoc. Control is such an issue!
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