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15 Signs You Are A Truly Free Person

15 Signs You Are A Truly Free Person

While it may mean something different for all of us, everyone savors the idea of freedom. We all have degrees of freedom in our lives, but for most people, freedom feels somewhat unattainable. Even if we have financial freedom, we may not have emotional freedom (e.g. depression or anxiety). If we have freedom in our careers, we might not have physical freedom (e.g. diseases and poor health). It’s difficult to get all the components in place. So if you’re wondering just how “free” you are in your life right now, see if you match any of these traits of a truly free person.

1. You dread nothing

It’s hard to feel free when you wake up every morning and a wave of dread washes over you – dread about having to go to work, dread about certain troubled relationships, etc. Free people rarely experience this feeling. Their either eliminate what doesn’t suit them, or they change their perspective about it.

2. Your habits serve you

There’s a difference between habits and addictions. A truly free person will have habits that they’ve consciously cultivated, like getting exercise in a way that they enjoy. These are’t self-damaging habits, like smoking, eating fast food, or spending time with toxic people. Free people have recognized how these things disempower them.

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3. You make your own decisions

If you feel restricted from making the decisions you want, it’s especially difficult to feel free. A free person will ignore negative judgement from others because they know what’s best for themselves. They also avoid handing too much power over to people with overbearing and forceful personalities.Free people don’t give in to peer pressure and meaningless obligations that don’t benefit them.

4. You are full of energy

A lack of energy is a barrier to your physical freedom. So those who are truly free will expend their energy in ways they enjoy. They are not constantly running out of energy, but rather, always recharging. This includes very different activities for different people, but the overall affect of feeling energized is the same.

5. You believe in your abilities

If you believe you are capable of achieving your goals, you free yourself up to actually move toward those things. If you are skeptical of your abilities, you feel unable to try, or like you don’t have the right to try Free people are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and play life to their own advantage. They don’t waste time berating themselves over mistakes, and can view them as a learning experience.

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6. You are financially comfortable

This isn’t based on the amount of money you earn. Rather, it is dictated by your feelings toward money. Free people may live on very low salaries or very high salaries. Regardless of their actual income, they afford what they need and feel stable instead of constantly stressed. A free person will not feel the need to overspend in order to reach fulfillment.

7. You ask for help from others

It may seem counter-intuitive, but true freedom usually involves help from others. Truly free people will ask for advice in order to better themselves, or ask for direct assistance without feeling embarrassed. They recognize that refusing help from others is a personally-imposed restriction to their freedom. Essentially, free people are not governed by pride.

8. You have free time

Obviously, true freedom involves some free time! Even if your schedule is packed, it can be packed with things you decided and wanted to do. This can also be considered free time because you are living as you intend to live. A free person will divvy up their time into work and play without overindulging in either.

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9. You know yourself

Because freedom involves doing what you want and living how you wish, knowing yourself is a precursor to freedom. Free people know enough about their likes, dislikes, values, standards, and goals to actually attain freedom. Living by another’s standards is a kind of spiritual laziness, and is a barrier to freedom that some may not recognize.

10. You are independent

Just as freedom involves asking for help when you need it, independence is another significant component. Free people don’t feel needy or unstable when they’re alone. They also don’t depend on others for their basic needs, like food and clean clothes. (Yes, free people still need to do their laundry). Basically, free people are not hindered by a sense of helplessness, which prevents people from caring for themselves.

11. You are physically healthy

A truly free person won’t find themselves surrounded by prescription pills, medical bills, and junk food. A free person will take their health into their own hands and improve their bodies the best they can when a health problem arises. They won’t allow negative addictions to creep in and hold their health hostage.

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12. You laugh

Why does laughing make you free? Because it’s your primary right to enjoy yourself and your life. Someone who doesn’t laugh is missing out on the simplest and most basic form of freedom. A truly free person will take time out for laughter because they know they deserve it.

13. You fulfill your needs

By now, you’ve realized that your needs must be met, and this is something that free people consciously monitor. Free people don’t wait for their needs to be met by others; they assess them on an ongoing basis. They rest when they need to, call a friend when they need to, and even push themselves to work harder when it’s the best thing for them.

14. You don’t let others hold you back

Freedom involves healthy boundaries between you and others. The opposite of this is codependency, which causes people to rely excessively on others for their self worth. Truly free people don’t derive their self worth from external people or events. They judge themselves according to their own reasonable standards, and stay on track with their goals regardless of the behavior of others.

15. You have fun

If you’re truly free, you spend a lot of your time in a state of joy and contentment. You’re not anxiously anticipating the future or a better day. You’re not waiting for permission to enjoy something. You are simple living in the moment, and savoring the twists and turns that come with life.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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