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7 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do

7 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do

The restaurant manager who speaks with poise and grace to the patron complaining loudly about the wait service. The levelheaded friend you call in your greatest times of need. The compassionate but composed rescue worker who aids victims after a natural catastrophe. The partner who angers rarely, forgives easily, and assumes accountability for their actions. The successful CEO who balances her profession, her family responsibilities, and her personal hobbies with equal measures of calm and confidence.

What do these people have in common?

In two words: Emotional Intelligence. A relatively new trend in the realm of pop culture and psychology today, Emotional Intelligence — or EQ — has existed since the beginning of time. According to Psychology Today, the preeminent site for mental health education and information, Emotional Intelligence is defined as an aptitude for identifying and managing emotions, and the emotions of others. It consists of three primary skills: the ability to analyze interior emotions and the feelings of those around them, the capacity to apply emotions to tasks, and the facility to take control of emotions — whether it’s managing their own before they veer out of control, or having the strength and capability to make another person smile, settle down, or handle a situation appropriately.

Those with high Emotional “IQs” have been proven to enjoy more prosperity in life. Whether they’re in a social or professional environment, they thrive. Studies demonstrate they have fewer mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. Their personal lives aren’t train wrecks, precisely because they’re lived from the point of thoughtful — and meaningful — decisions. They outperform others, excel at their jobs, are happy in their relationships, and consistently work towards attaining positive results in all aspects of life. So, the question is, what don’t they do?

Here are 7 things emotionally intelligent people, as a rule, avoid:

1. They don’t get caught up in other people’s drama.

One of the hallmarks of Emotional Intelligence is empathy, and those with high EQs extend it to everyone they cross. But there’s an enormous difference between displaying empathy towards a friend or loved one and allowing another person’s rage or misery to incense, dominate, or merely influence one’s well-being. Think of the histrionic behavior of your co-worker who is “distraught” not because she’s going through a break-up but because her friend is. Or that cousin of yours who, instead of focusing on her individual personal crises, purposefully seeks out people who are distressed so that her problems disappear via distraction — a habit so ingrained she can’t seem to address her the complications in her own life.

Emotionally intelligent people, on the other hand, listen carefully, provide gentle, loving, but authoritative advice, and offer assistance. But they don’t permit others’ lives and reactions to rule their own.

2. They don’t complain.

Whining and grumbling implies two things — one, that we are victims, and two, there are no solutions to our problems. Rarely does an emotionally intelligent person feel victimized, and even more infrequently does an emotionally intelligent person feel that a solution is beyond their grasp. Instead of looking for someone or something to blame, they immediately think of how to constructively address the dilemma. They also know that their complaints influence the emotional responses of those around them, and instead search for ways to bemoan the dissolution of a relationship or a disappointment with a friend in private, effective ways — whether it’s taking a yoga class, meditating alone at a park, or simply getting their feelings out on the page.

3. They don’t always say yes — to others and themselves.

Like empathy, self-control and conviction are sure signs of an emotionally solid person. Emotionally intelligent people are well-aware that a second glass of wine will lead to negative consequences the next morning, just as they know that an invitation to go on a spontaneous weekend rendezvous will detract them from fulfilling their preexisting commitments. They are definitive about their decisions, rather than saying “I don’t know, maybe?” or “Perhaps I’ll skip the gym today,” which invites doubt — and with that, heightened anxiety, even depression.

The more often emotionally intelligent people exercise their right to say no, and the more frequently they rely on their willpower, the freer they are to concentrate on their ambitions and overall well-being.

4. They don’t gossip.

Emotionally acute people sidestep gossip as determinedly as they skirt drama. To involve themselves in scandalous talk, they know, is to shame another for a supposed error — and an emotionally intelligent person understands that all humans are equally deserving, and that what others might perceive as a mistake is an opportunity for improvement.

5. They don’t count on others for happiness or confidence.

Emotionally intelligent people are self-sufficient in all manners of life, including their contentment and peace of mind. They have learned that to bank on someone else making them feel joyful or worthy is to put themselves at risk for disappointment and hopelessness. Rather, they take their emotions in their own hands and find hobbies that delight them, strive for achievements that will lead to a sense of self-worth, and search within for love and acceptance.

6. They don’t engage in negative self-talk.

While few of us are entirely immune to thinking (or saying) pessimistic statements that begin with “I” (“I’m unattractive,” “I should have done better,” “I’m pathetic”), emotionally intelligent have the ability to curb cynical thoughts before they fall down the proverbial rabbit hole. Instead, they rely on facts to come to conclusions. For some, it’s a mere glance at their experience and accomplishments outlined on their CVs; for others, it’s the appearance of a clean and organized house, or an internal analysis of what they’ve done right.

After all, emotionally intelligent people acknowledge that negative thoughts are just that — thoughts — just as they recognize that the derogatory interior voices they hear are theirs to turn down, tune out, or silence completely.

7. They don’t dwell on the past.

People who exist more in their past than in their present are susceptible to a barrage of mental and spiritual grievances, from regret and nostalgia to agitation and trepidation. Emotionally intelligent people honor their pasts — the people they have loved, the mistakes they have made, the opportunities they’ve eschewed — but are mindful of the importance of living squarely in the here and now.

By learning from the past (instead of dwelling on it), the emotionally intelligent have the power to inform their present — without diminishing their ability to advance or harness three of the most vital emotions of all: Self-satisfaction, gratitude, and hope.

Featured photo credit: Youmacon People/carianoff 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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