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6 Signs You Haven’t Made Self-Care Your Top Priority

6 Signs You Haven’t Made Self-Care Your Top Priority

To get ahead in this busy world, you have to put your own needs on the backburner once in a while.

But that doesn’t mean you should keep them there until they start to boil over.

No matter how giving of a person you are, you should always be looking out for number one. Above all else, this means admitting you’re a human being with certain needs that must be met before anything (and anyone) else.

There’s no shame in that. Acknowledging that you’re not a superhero is humbling, and it’s also healthy. It allows you to operate with a realistic outlook on life, with the understanding that there will often be times in which you’re completely powerless, and the best thing you can do is simply look out for yourself.

1. You Skip or Neglect Your Basic Needs

Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs makes it clear: Neglecting the importance of self care will eventually destroy you.

On a day-to-day basis you might not see a problem with skipping breakfast because you’re running late, but when doing so becomes habitual you’ll be missing out on vital nutrients that keep you energized throughout the day.

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Similarly, you might try to delude yourself into thinking you can run on four hours of sleep, but over the course of just one week you’ll end up missing an entire 24 hours of rest.

If you’re skipping meals or losing sleep, you’re not going to be able to work to the best of your ability. Unfortunately, even if you’ve been sacrificing your own well being for your job or career, the only thing your boss will notice is this decrease in performance.

Keep up with your basic needs so you can attend to the things in life that require a higher level of focus.

2. You’re Always on Autopilot

Whether you call it the rat race or the hamster wheel, getting stuck in a vicious cycle of eating, sleeping, working, and repeating is dehumanizing.

When each and every day is so exhausting that all you can do is take care of the basics, you’re not really living, at all. You’re simply going through the motions as if you’re a robot programmed only to serve.

But you’re a human being. You need time to sit back and fulfill your emotional needs. You need to spend time in deep thought. You need to experience life and the world around you instead of letting it all pass you by.

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Even robots need to recharge once in a while.

3. You’re Always Doing Something for Someone Else

There’s nothing wrong with being a giving person. Lending a helping hand to others is what builds relationships and communities, and keeps the human race striving for peace.

On the other hand, giving too much of yourself will eventually lead others to start taking advantage. When people see you’re willing to bend over backwards for them, they’ll test the limits and see how far you’ll go before you snap. The worst part is, since you’re such a giving individual, you won’t even realize they’re taking advantage of you until you’re too invested in their needs to back out.

The best thing you can do is to just say “no” sometimes. Recognize when others are asking too much of you, and simply tell them you can’t help them right now. Showing a little backbone in the present will save you from snapping in the future.

4. You’ve Lost Touch with Friends and Family

When was the last time you spent time with the people you actually care about?

When you’re too giving of yourself, you end up spending way too much time dedicated to coworkers, colleagues, and bosses who mean absolutely nothing to you on a personal level. Unfortunately, this means the relationships you do care about end up suffering.

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While you do have certain duties at work and in life that need to be fulfilled, none of them can compare to the duty you have to yourself and your loved ones. Which are you more likely to remember in ten years: The times you stayed late at the office to get a head start on some paperwork, or the times you spent playing catch with your kids in the backyard?

5. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Had Fun

Speaking of playing catch, when is the last time you forgot all about your earthly worries and just had fun?

If you really can’t remember, something is definitely wrong.

Many of us fall under the impression that “fun” is something kids have before they enter the real world, at which point your life consists of work, work, work. Some of us mistakenly define ourselves by the amount of work we do and the sacrifices we make.

We all make sacrifices, but that doesn’t mean our entire lives should be dedicated to making money and slaving away behind a desk. We should work to be able to enjoy the times we have away from our jobs.

Spend some time doing what you love. Go for a hike. Grab some ice cream. Hit some balls at the driving range. Do whatever you can that, for at least a short period of time, helps you remember what it’s like to be a kid again. You’ll thank yourself for it.

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6. You Don’t Feel Like Yourself Anymore

This is it, right here:

Neglecting the importance of self care can lead to you truly forgetting who you are. What your dreams and goals were. What you always thought your purpose in life was.

And it’s incredibly disheartening.

When you no longer know why you’re getting out of bed in the morning. When you go through your day looking forward to sitcom reruns at night. When you can’t even enjoy those sitcoms because you know the next day will be more of the same.

When this realization hits you, you need to take action immediately. Take some time for yourself. Figure out what you need to do to get back on track in life. Whether this is a change in careers, or a weekend away with your loved ones, do whatever it takes to start feeling like “you” again.

Otherwise, what’s the point in living?

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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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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