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9 Ways Mentally Strong People Retain Their Personal Power

9 Ways Mentally Strong People Retain Their Personal Power

We can look at different aspects of someone’s personality to try and gauge what makes them seem to radiate power as soon as they walk into a room or during discussions and stressful situations, but the one thing that stands out the most is a distinct psychological fortitude. For a mentally strong person, projecting an aura of confidence and toughness seems to come naturally, as if they aren’t even aware of it – but there is a method to it.

There are a number of things that these people do that help them firmly cement their high social status and establish themselves as trustworthy leaders, skilled experts and people in possession of admirable characteristics. We will be looking at the 9 main ways of keeping your personal power, even when faced with great adversity and toxic people.

1. They don’t worry about what others think

Don’t get me wrong, being able to empathize with others and accurately gauge how they feel and think are essentials traits for anyone who wants to become successful, but you don’t want to try to please everyone all the time. Understanding people, social norms and proper protocol is one thing, but you should never allow yourself to make decisions solely based on what others might think. Mentally strong people aren’t afraid to be themselves and make their own decisions, and that’s what gives them power.

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2. They don’t wait for others to solve their problems

One of the main characteristics of mentally strong and powerful people is that they are doers. These people are confident and even a little boastful, but they can back up their claims, and they are active – they solve problems, jump on opportunities and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. This gives them a good amount of self-reliance, which in turn makes them incredibly resistant to attempts by others to take away their power.

3. They admit their shortcoming and continually strive to improve

While some people like to take shortcuts and aren’t above padding up their resumes with fake achievements and presenting themselves as something that they’re not, they are not acting from a place of true power. It is weakness that causes men and women to try to hide their shortcomings from themselves and blatantly lie to others about their skills, knowledge and competence.

To maintain a position of power, you must be able to admit that you have faults, and be willing to work hard on becoming a person that people respect and admire.

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4. They don’t wear their emotions on their sleeve

You cannot hope to retain personal power and project confidence if you keep exploding and throwing temper tantrums every time someone disagrees with you or says something that offends you. If everyone can instantly see that you are happy with something, sad, angry or disinterested, there is no way for you tactfully dominate the situation – in fact, you need to be aware of the things that trigger these emotional responses in you, and work on keeping your cool during heated arguments. This is how you retain a dominant position during an argument, and it’s how you build up a reputation as a level-headed and strong individual.

5. They make an actual effort to stay positive and relaxed

Just as mentally strong people don’t rely on others to solve their problems for them, or for those problems to magically resolve themselves, they also don’t wait around for others to motivate and cheer them up or the universe itself to align just right and give them what they need to be happy. Staying calm, relaxed and positive requires continual effort; anyone can flip out and resort to worrying, but it takes a special kind of mindset to acknowledge the harsh reality and still be able to keep pushing forward. It’s their ability to remain calm and positive, and their resolve to always find some time to relax, that makes these people stand out.

6. They think carefully before they act or speak

We’ve talked a lot about getting things done and trying to learn from mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that you need to be impulsive or actively seek out situations where you will be put on the spot. One of the most important fail-safe mechanisms for keeping your personal power at an admirable level is the ability to keep your mouth shut until you know what you need to say to tip the odds in your favor.

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No matter how emphatic and caring you are, the bottom line is that you need things to work out a certain way for you to be satisfied, and it’s not always going to be in everyone’s best interest that the situation unfolds the way you want it to. This is why you need to take the time to think things through and find the right approach, tone and words before doing or saying something.

7. They have a strong sense of self-worth and are assertive

It’s easy to take someone’s power away if the person does not know their own worth and can’t effectively set boundaries. The main thing is not to give other’s power over you, while at the same time protecting yourself from attacks aimed at eroding aspects of your power and confidence. You don’t have to resort to shouting or offending anyone – you just need to be assertive and unyielding when it comes to your core values. A good negotiator will make a couple of steps back if need be or make compromises, but they will also know when to stand their ground.

8. They leave their ego at home and look for logical solutions

Erratic emotions are only part of the reason why people lose their personal power and the respect of others during difficult social encounters; another big problem is ego-driven decision-making. It’s not always as clear as someone losing their temper, breaking into tears or going on a tirade about how their feelings are hurt, but the ego has a nasty habit of making everything seem personal.

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It is also the main reason why people get into heated arguments and even fistfights over trivial issues, and that is not something that a person that emanates power and confidence will ever do.

9. They create a realistic schedule for themselves

When you’ve covered all the important psychological aspects involved in retaining personal power and can exhibit a good deal of self-control and restraint, without sacrificing your integrity or giving your power away, it’s time to delve into the practical side of things. You can’t accomplish much if you don’t know how to organize your life, and the first step is being honest with yourself.

Be honest about what you can and cannot do, the time it takes to complete certain tasks and the myriad of smaller tasks related to the main one. For example going to the gym involves preparation, driving, changing, warming up, the actual workout, drying off, changing, driving home, a shower, another change of clothes and a post-workout meal. Even if it’s a short 30 minute workout, you won’t be going anywhere for a good hour or two, and you’ll have to schedule around it or potentially do the workout at another time or even tomorrow.

Some people are more naturally gifted and skilled in the ways of mental toughness, but developing, projecting and protecting your personal power are things that can be learned through lots of practice. As long as you know the right way to do so, you can become mentally strong and take full control of your own life.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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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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