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Don’t Say FML Anymore — You’re In Control Of Your Own Life

Don’t Say FML Anymore — You’re In Control Of Your Own Life

It’s easy to say “FML,” but every time yousay that, youare actually giving up your control over your life.

Even though we don’t have control over others and external situations, we do have control over ourselves and our choices. Blaming others and events for our misfortune is an easy way out, but it doesn’t help to solve your problems.

Taking responsibility and admitting you screwed up takes courage. But, once you own up to your mistakes and realize youare incontrol of your life, you willmake decisions that move you forward.

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When you come from a poor family, work smarterthan everybody else.

Ifyou come from a poor family, don’t blame it on life’sunfairness. Don’t ask why other kidshave an easier life than you or whytheir parents can buy them things while yours can’t.Everyone’s starting point is different. Don’t make your ending point the same as your starting point. Instead, work smartand believe that you have the power to makeyour life better.

Here’s how to work hard:

  1. Be grateful for what you have. Count the things that money can’t buy —happiness, talent, passion.
  2. Use what you have. If your parents can’t afford to buy you toys, use your imagination. Make games and toys out of scraps.
  3. Discoveryour strengths. Everyone has strengths. When you have the minimum, it is easier for you to know what your strengthsare.
  4. Work smart while working hard. Working hard comes after knowing what your strengths are, because you want to be able to leverage your strengths. Your parents could be working hard, but still earning very little. You want to work smart too, and not just work hard.
  5. Find your motivation.Work hard not just for yourself, but also work hard for the people you care about (for example, to give your parents a better life).

When you weren’t loved as a child, spread love to others.

It’s difficult to believe inlove when you come from a broken family or when your parents abused you. But blaming your parents for your childhood won’thelp you at all.Instead, take control of your life and stopthis vicious loop.Spread love instead of hate. You’ll find more joyin doing so.

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Here’s how to spread love:

  1. Love yourself first. You can’t love someone else when you don’t love yourself. You didn’t receive much love from your parents and you might doubt if you deserve love. So, find the good qualities inyourself and build your self-esteem first.
  2. Forgive your parents.Your parents have their own problems too. Manyparents don’t know how to be parents because they weren’t taught how to. Forgivingthem doesn’t mean you condone what they have done.
  3. Know you have the ability to love.Just because you didn’t receive love as a child, doesn’t mean you can’t give love. It doesn’t take a lot to be kind to others.
  4. Practice empathy. You know how it felt to notreceive enough love. Don’t let others feel the same way.
  5. Spread love withoutexpecting it to be returned. Not everyone will return your kindness, but that’s okay. You love yourself enough. Anything else is a bonus. Plus, the real joy comes from giving, not receiving.

When you hate your job, find a new one.

It’s tempting to blame your boss for giving you too much work, or your colleagues for making your life miserable. But, you have a choice. If you hate your current job so much, stop complaining about it and get a new one. You are responsible for your own happiness.

Here’s how to find a new job:

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  1. Know yourself well. The job you hate might be a job that another person loves.Some jobs donotfit your personality. It’s up to you to find out what fits you.
  2. Do an audit for your current job. Know what you like and dislike about your current job. For your next job, find something that encompasses more of your likes and less of your dislikes.
  3. Budget. Knowing your current financial status and expenses is important. Sometimes, you think you can’t change jobs because you are financially restricted.Doing a budget will help you find ways to cut your expenses.
  4. Buildnew relationship. You think it’s unfair that others are able to get jobs easier than you because of their relationships. The truth is that relationships are important. Most jobvacanciesaren’t advertised. They are filled by recommendations.
  5. Learn. Don’t be jealous of successful people. Learn from them.Understand what they do to become successful and acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for your next job.

When your health gives you problems, care foryour body.

Don’t blame bad genes for yourweight issues or hair loss problems.You may not have the best genes in the world, but you can do something about your health.

Here’s how to care for your body:

  1. Listen to your body.When you have an illness or pain, your body is telling you that you need to pay attention to that part of your body. So listen carefully to these signs.
  2. Develop healthy routines. Don’t wait for your body to break down, then eat healthy food and exercise. Health is about maintaining, not about fixing.
  3. Understandyour system. Not all bodies are builtthe same. Everyone’s body works differently. If you know that you put on weight easily, be mindful about your sugar intake. You can’t choose your genes, but you can choose what you put inside your mouth.
  4. Accept your body.Love your body more than that piece of chocolate cake because it willbe with you tillyou die.
  5. Give it a break. When you are tired, sleep. Mediate or fast if necessary. Your body is working hard for you all day long. Schedule time to rest your organs.

When someoneyou love betrays you, let them go.

You deserve better. Don’t allow people who are problematic and mean to hinder your life. Let them goand embrace the future.

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Here’s how to let them go:

  1. Practice forgiveness. It’s easier said than done, but forgiveness is the first step to being free. And it’s not just about forgiving them, it’s also about forgiving yourself for trusting the wrong person.
  2. Don’t be the savior. Your ego will make you think you areable to save them. No, you can’t. Only they can change themselves. And if you are genuinely in love with them, you won’t need them to change.
  3. Leave their life. Even though you forgive them doesn’t mean theydeserve your attention. Excluding them from your lifegives you a chance to heal.
  4. Raise your standards.Learn how to say no, especially topeople who take advantage of you. Choose who you allow into your life.
  5. Don’t losehope. Learn from your mistakes. You’ll find someone better in the future. They are just not the one.

Featured photo credit: Man/Avel Chuklanov via stocksnap.io

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Yong Kang Chan

Self-Help Author (Writes about Self-Compassion and Mindfulness)

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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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