Advertising
Advertising

Curiosity Killed The Cat? No, It Can Save Your Relationship

Curiosity Killed The Cat? No, It Can Save Your Relationship

What makes a great relationship? Having things in common? Having the same goals and aspirations? The ability to keep a sense of humour in adverse times? Many things make up a well-oiled relationship but let’s get curious for a minute.

Curiosity is something we don’t often put down as a positive trait when it comes to relationships – after all, it killed the cat which indicates that sticking your nose in where it shouldn’t be will only cause a nasty shock. It’s often believed that ignorance is bliss and what you don’t know won’t hurt you, but when it comes to relationships, is this hindering your ability to bond and truly get to know each other?

Curiosity is a major part of communication between a couple and without it, it can cause us to jump to conclusions, judge the other person, and make assumptions. In essence, without curiosity we are stopping ourselves from seeing the whole picture and this causes unneeded animosity.

Advertising

Why Curiosity Paves The Way For A Great Relationship

Curiosity is how we learn. It’s how we gain knowledge of the world and the people around us – it’s how we form good relationships with others. It also brings a sense of being humble by asking the questions and listening to what a person’s response is. All this helps us to form and build close friendships and romantic relationships. Continuing curiosity is important to keep up that special bond.

1. Curiosity Increases Compatibility

Having a sense of curiosity in a relationship increases compatibility because, not only does it enhance your own self-understanding, but it also creates a mutual understanding with the other person. In other words, you are both on the same page which allows forward moving growth and open communication as well as creating intimacy between you.

If you use curiosity in the right way, then situations when, for example, your partner comes home late, won’t end in accusations and assumptions being made about why they’re late. It will create an understanding between you both that carries on into all situations therefore creating a deeper compatibility in your thinking and positive reactions.

Advertising

2. Curiosity Opens Up Your Relationship To New Avenues

Actively being curious of each other and the world around you will stop the relationship from entering into a boring dead end routine. If you are both willing to explore more of the world and the people in it, you are both more likely to explore possibilities with your relationship. Curiosity keeps your relationship exciting, fresh and open to new understandings of yourself and the other person. This gives you the chance for you to evolve together.

3. Curiosity Helps With Problem-Solving

It’s easy to make assumptions about someone or a situation and when problems arise, it’s these assumptions that can stop you from being able to problem-solve effectively. Being curious opens up a way of brain-storming and allows you to solve problems together even without realizing it. By adopting a curious nature, you open up a dialogue between you and you’re more likely to navigate away from conflict as well as strengthening your connection.

Preventing misunderstandings, arguments and resentments can all be solved by bringing that curious aspect into your relationship.

Advertising

How To Create Curiosity In Your Relationships

Curiosity is all about asking questions but make sure they are open-ended – let the other person talk, listen intently and ask other questions. Doing this will encourage the other person to do the same for you.

The key is to keep your ego in check when you ask them and by that, I mean be genuine and sincere and not asking questions in a demanding or interrogating way. An example of this would be asking how your partner is feeling even if you have an idea of what the answer may be – let them talk and listen. Your aim is to learn and grow from the information you share in a loving way.

By adopting curiosity as part of your communication, you eliminate the assumptions, the judgements we can tend to cultivate about others’ habits and behaviours, misreading situations, misunderstandings, and ultimately reduce unnecessary conflict. It’s about letting go of your ideals and being willing to open up your mindset to a different perspective – one where you don’t know everything about someone but the want to find out is ever-lingering and present.

Advertising

We are constantly growing and developing as individuals, so it’s important to keep up with each other. What may be right or wrong for you, may not be the same for someone else and it’s important to always keep this in mind. Believing the person you started a relationship with years ago still has the same feelings, thoughts and ideas is a major misconception and can cause major contention. Curiosity should always be a major factor in friendships and relationships and should be used to find out how your loved ones are changing and developing as individuals.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s time to treat curiosity as a positive way of living rather than a guarded, cautious one.

More by this author

Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals How To Overcome Self Imposed Limitations For Goal Setting To Reach Your Goals, Start With Planning For The Worst Why Setting Intrinsic Goals Can Make You Happier

Trending in Communication

1 How to Improve Intimacy in Your Marriage and Rekindle the Passion 2 13 Simple Ways To Express Gratitude Daily 3 Why You Feel Lonely In Your Marriage And How To Deal With It 4 6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of 5 How To Spark A Positive Mood When Feeling Dull

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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:

Advertising

  • “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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Read Next