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Little Things Likeable People Do To Hold Back Their Temper

Little Things Likeable People Do To Hold Back Their Temper
“STOP IT!” 
“How many times have I told you ..?”
“Stop doing..”
“Why can’t you…”
“Why do I have…”
“Don’t do ..”
This used to be my limited vocabulary at home a few years ago! In those days, I would yell at the drop of a hat (literally!) at my kids. My temper would flare every few minutes when things were not done my way. I had expectations in my head that I would voice to my family. Invariably someone would not live up to the expectations and I would be screaming my top off! I hated myself right after the words slipped out of my mouth, but I would not stop. I would cry all the way to work in the car. I would tell myself this would not happen again and 3 minutes after entering home in the evening, it did!
I almost considered anger management classes until one day I chanced upon a technique quite by accident. Below I share this and a few other easy techniques I have learnt from other likable people. These techniques are now part and parcel of my life.They have improved the quality of my life and made me more likable with my family and others!

1. Count To 5

I was at a playground with my son a few years ago. At one point, a little boy came crying to his mom and pointed to my son and started bawling. My temper immediately began to flare up and I was going to take my son to the side and berate him. I called to my son. As my son came running towards me with a happy face, I was torn. I did not want to wipe that happiness from his face which was due to happen the minute I opened my mouth. I decided to give him and me, 5 seconds to enjoy the happiness. As I began to count to 5, he started talking. I learnt that the little boy was almost about to fall from the rock climbing wall and my son had helped him gain balance. I was stunned! The little boy was crying in the anticipation of the fall and that his mom had not been there to catch him! The 5 seconds that I had given myself had turned the story around. That’s when I decided to make the 5 seconds count a part of my life. You never know what the 5 seconds will produce or how it could change the course of the events. Next time, you feel the temper coming on, count to 5. Combine it with technique 2 below for best results!

2. Focus On Your Breath

Once I started being completely aware of my temper, I began to notice the feeling of constriction in my chest every time I was angry. I was forgetting to breathe at times or taking quick short shallow breathes. I decided to work on that. The minute I felt the constriction, I reminded myself to just breathe deeply. Take 3 deep breathes. Fill you lungs with oxygen and focus only on your breathe. This can be tied to the first technique. In the 5 seconds you pause, you are counting the seconds literally! You could instead focus on breathing deeply during the 5 second pause. Sometimes people forget to breathe deeply when they are so emotionally vested in the matter. They can’t stop their focus on the issue. The trick is to tie it to a physical action or sensation and use that as a trigger. In my case, I used the chest constriction as a trigger to focus on deep breathing.

3. Go For A Run Or Exercise

The heat in your body and the frustration and anger need an outlet. What better way to channel that high level of energy (although it is negative energy) than to exercise. Going for a walk or exercising gives you a chance to direct that energy towards a physical activity and lets you blow off some steam. It also gives you a chance to take a prolonged pause and maybe think about the thing that is bothering you.

4. Splash Your Face

Some people like to throw things or slam doors when they are angry. I always wondered how it provided them relief. I later learnt that a physical sensation such as an object breaking or hearing the door slam snaps some people out of their temper zone. I have instead adopted a simpler technique to snap out. I simply splash my face with cold water at the sink. Just the sudden feeling of cold water on my face snaps me out and cools me down.

5. Avoid Known Trigger Points

If you know stepping into your son’s room and seeing clothes on the floor is going to irk you, avoid that situation. Obviously, you can’t avoid it always and  you may need to step in and clean up at some point. Try to avoid doing it at a time when your emotions are running high. You may be in a better state to handle that trigger point at a different time in the day , maybe when you are more relaxed with a cup of coffee.

6. Meditate Daily

The health benefits of meditation are numerous. It has been proven to improve our mental well-being and lower our overall stress levels. Stress is a huge temper booster and we need to keep our stress levels at bay to reduce the temper tantrums. If you think that your monkey mind cannot be quietened during meditation, try a different form of meditation such as transcendental meditation.

7. Write It Out

Writing it out in a journal or a log helps you get it out of your system which is exactly what the temper devil is dying to do! Writing helps you vent out all your feelings and gives you a sense of relief. You could revisit it a later point and either tear it up or see if you could strategize ideas to sort out the thing that caused your temper to flare up. Writing gives you a way to know that you have control over your problem vs the problem controlling you! This gives you the courage to stop throwing temper tantrums.
Which of these techniques will you use ? What other little things do you do to hold back your temper? 

Featured photo credit: Yelling/Probably Okay via flickr.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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