By Anne Jones, self-help author and speaker.
In this series I share ways to manage your energy levels and to cope with the negativity you can face day to day from those you work and live with and to rise above the heavy vibes created by irritating and demanding people that can lower your quality of life.
Living with Controllers
Some people cannot help themselves; they just want to organise your life, point out where you are going wrong and generally feel that they are responsible for your wellbeing and they can be anything from irritating to downright oppressive! Unfortunately, extreme controlling behaviour can be dangerous and lead to mental, emotional and physical abuse. It can go hand in hand with possessiveness that is often passed off as “I just love you so much that I want what is best for you” and similar excuses. So it’s important to be aware and acknowledge that someone in your life is attempting to excessively control you, whether at home, on the internet or at work.
Are you controlled?
Let’s look at some of the things that controllers do and the symptoms you may experience.
- Making your choices for you. E.g your partner chooses your food, activities or clothes. A friend of mine’s ex would put the clothes he wished her to wear on the bed every morning.
- Supresses your voice. Finishes your sentences for you, interrupts when you are speaking in social situations or ignores anything you say. The extreme of this is that you are never allowed to express your feelings or views.
- Sets rules in the home. Your partner tells you what you can and cannot do, what time you have to be in, who you can go out with etc.
- Knows best for you. This can often be a mother’s behaviour pattern that doesn’t end when you are 21! Will try to influence your ideas or will squash them as not suitable for you or not good for you. Will tell you what to do in the kitchen when you know fully well. Gives nonstop guidance even though it’s not wanted.
- Dominates your time. Wants you to be with them whenever it suits them, expects you to drop anything you are doing to share time with them. Not happy for you to have your own activities and interests but wants your time and attention exclusively.
- Make you feel guilty. Manipulation is a form of control, it can be subtle but it can ruin your peace of mind because a manipulator will make you feel guilty.” If you love me you will do this …..” Children can be good manipulators as well as mothers and partners. I have friends whose jealous adult stepchildren still use this as a way to gain their partner’s attention and time.
- You feel disempowered and weak. A controller in your life can leave you feeling helpless, weak, disempowered, useless, unhappy and unworthy.
What can you do?
Your most precious gift is your FREE WILL and a controller will erode this till you feel that you have no choice but to do their will. The ultimate is slave consciousness where you believe you are only on this earth to serve that person.
- Spot the signs and set an intention to change the status quo in the relationship. Writing a contract to do this helps anchor your intention. E.g. “It is my intention to make my own choices, choose my own way in life and not serve the will of another.” Then say this out loud and repeat it whenever you feel you are slipping back. It will help if you get a good and trusted friend to hold this contract for you to remind you about it
- Speak to the person involved. Often controllers are unware of their behaviour and do not realise the impact they are having. Many think they are doing you a service by giving you guidance! It’s important that you share your feelings as some people just don’t have the empathy to realise the effect they can have. Choose a good time – I like to share my feelings on a walk as it’s not as confrontational as sitting opposite each other and there is no escape ha ha! Make sure you keep your mood gentle rather than aggressive as anger brings out resistance.
- Speak up. Many people slip into the role of controller when their partner or colleague doesn’t show any viewpoint of their own. Share your views and be brave enough to make your own choices otherwise someone will step into the void and make them for you. Don’t be frightened of making the wrong decision. A full life has many mistakes and it’s the way that we handle these that defines us and the way we move forward.
- Step Back. If you have tried unsuccessfully to release the hold that someone has on you then you will simply have to step back and if all else fails step out of their reach entirely.
So maximise your gift of free will, make your own choices and decisions without fear and take control of your own life. ENJOY!
About the author: Anne Jones is an international author and key-note speaker. Her self-help books have been translated into 17 languages. With her down to earth style she helps her audiences and readers to find ways to cope with everyday problems and overcome the effects of trauma and loss. She gives practical advice on how to stay uplifted and energised as you face the challenges of life. See her website for further information.