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What To Tell Yourself After Turning 25

What To Tell Yourself After Turning 25

Turning 25 is special. Halfway through your twenties and now establishing yourself as an adult, you will be starting to get a firm idea of who you are and the kind of life you want to lead. Here are eight important things to remember as you enter the last few years before turning 30.

1. Don’t settle for less than you deserve

One of life’s most important lessons is that everyone deserves to feel safe, to be happy, and to have a chance to pursue their dreams. Never let yourself believe that you are in some way unworthy of the most fundamental rights to which everyone is entitled. You are just good as anyone else. Do not allow yourself to be satisfied with mediocre jobs, relationships and experiences if you want more from life.

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2. Let go of relationships that do not make you happy

Sometimes we are tempted to stay in unhealthy relationships. This can either be a relationship that is overtly toxic (for example, when domestic violence is involved) or soul-destroying in a more subtle way (for example, your partner may rarely want to go out, or show little interest in your hopes and dreams). If you truly want to be happy, as well as liberating the other party to find someone to whom they are better suited, end such relationships as quickly and gracefully as possible.

3. Focus on self-improvement as a key priority

Women are often taught to put other people before themselves. Whilst this is positive in that they are trained to avoid being selfish, the result is often a reluctance to put sufficient energy into self-improvement. However, the fact remains that you are going to be your only consistent companion over time. Bearing this in mind, isn’t it worth taking the time and effort to invest in yourself? It’s fine to encourage others and help them reach their full potential, but never overlook yourself. If you want or need to learn new skills or work for that promotion, do it!

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4. Embrace challenges, don’t panic

When you decide to work for anything important or special in life, you will face challenges along the way. A major secret to success in life is to change your attitude to challenges. Rather than see them as annoyances or problems with the power to overwhelm you, embrace them as an opportunity to learn new skills and pick up memorable experiences. When you reach your goal, your victory will be even sweeter if you had to battle for what you wanted.

5. Work on caring less about what other people think

By your mid-twenties, you will have realized that everybody you come across has an opinion to share, and that their opinions may not be worth listening to! By all means ask for opinions or advice from those you respect, but an important part of living successfully as an independent adult is to look to yourself first when making decisions. You cannot afford to care too much about judgements other people may be making. No-one knows you and your life better than you do. Act accordingly.

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6. Practice the art of saying ‘No’

If you have a habit of trying to please everyone by accepting every invitation or request thrown at you, then you need to learn how to say ‘No.’ If you are overwhelmed or overburdened, then say so. It is unreasonable for others to expect you to shoulder more than your fair share of work, whether in an office or in a relationship. If someone reacts badly to a polite, reasonable ‘No’ then that’s their problem, not yours.

7. Care for yourself and care for your parents

One of the most important assets in life is your health, so be sure to take care of yourself by following a good diet and exercise regimen. Your parents will also be starting to enter their senior years, so make sure you keep an eye on their health. This isn’t to say you should assume responsibility for their wellbeing, but bear in mind that they may need a little extra help and support in the coming years.

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8. Cut toxic people out of your life

Toxic people are those individuals who drain you, depress you, and bring you down. They tend to be negative rather than positive, and they deserve no place in your life. Whilst it may be tempting to try and help negative people or get sucked into their downbeat conversations, you need to put your own wellbeing first. If you have realized that certain people make you feel ‘low’ or unhappy, now is the time to gradually cut contact with them. Otherwise you will waste precious time trying to raise their spirits, and feel your own lowering in the process!

At the age of 25 you still have a long way to go in life but you have all the experience you need to start taking full responsibility for yourself. Remind yourself of the eight points above and get ready to lead a life that is healthy, happy and satisfying.

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness 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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