Dealing with control freaks is not fun at all. No matter how much they “mean well.” or their “heart is in the right place,” when all said and done a control freak in your life is a toxic force to be dealt with.

With a few key strategies up your sleeve, dealing with that control freak in your life right now – be it a family member, colleague, or otherwise – can be a lot easier to do. Difficult people need some extra care in the approach you take, so here is your guide to being free of the control freak.

1. Spend as little time with them as possible

Firstly, get away from them. Controlling people exert stress, which can make you more vulnerable to their habits. Keep your distance and create a gap between you. Letting this person think they are your friend offers a space of opportunity for them to jump in and attempt to control you. Step back from the relationship as far as you can, be polite but not friendly, and make it clear by your actions that you don’t wish to spend time with them. If they ask why, you have the perfect chance to explain to them.

2. Use strong body language

Body language is a clear signal and can speed up better communication; get acquainted with unspoken assertiveness to aid your message of no messing.

3. Remember why they are controlling

Most controlling people can be charismatic, witty, energetic and wonderful when you meet them, it’s on the micro, on- to-one level that their behavior is apparent. Remember that they are controlling due to a personal insecurity, paranoia, or deep set emotional issue. None of this justifies their behaviour, but remembering that they are vulnerable beneath the veneer can help in addressing the issue of their behaviour.

4. Practice saying NO

Controlling people use the façade of persuasion to hide what is, actually, pressure. When you do not submit to what they are “encouraging” you to do, there is often a display of emotional behavior.  Do not submit in appeasing them because it’s easier and practice saying “no,” without feeling the need to justify it. You don’t need to do things that you do not want to do and under no circumstances should you be made to feel as though you must. Be clear and firm in your communication; practicing stock phrases and replies to their suggestions can help. Using a mirror, practice saying ‘no’ without expanding more with excuses.

5. Find an ally and sounding board

If the controlling person is close in your family or workplace, it can often be hard to decipher what is and what is not acceptable behavior. Find someone who can see the situation clearly and who can act as a sounding board for you. Controlling people typically select targets that pose as potentially vulnerable personalities, so if you are depressed or emotionally vulnerable, they hone in on that potential for exploitation. Buddy up if you are struggling and stand your ground.

6. Work on your own self esteem and confidence

If someone is causing stress to your life by being controlling, work on your own self confidence and sense of self. Use NLP techniques and positive affirmations to create positive self talk in your mind, to equip you to deal with their games better.

Have you had to deal with a control freak? What worked for you?

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Featured photo credit: A young girl is walking a big elephant on a wild landscape with other animals following on a path to protection or freedom.via Shutterstock

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