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6 Signs You’re Having A Quarter Life Crisis (And How to Overcome It)

6 Signs You’re Having A Quarter Life Crisis (And How to Overcome It)

It usually hits you in your late twenties and shakes you to the core putting undeniably in question the purpose of everything. You feel depressed and insecure with an ever-increasing desire to leave everything, run, and never look back. It is called a quarter life crisis, and it is as real and as tough as any other crisis. More often experienced by educated twenty and thirty-somethings with great aspirations and expectations that somehow didn’t came true, a quarter life crisis happens as they are trying to make a smooth transition into adulthood, resulting in them feeling stuck in between two worlds not quite belonging to either.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be stuck in this limbo forever. The most important thing is to take enough time to dig deep into your feelings so as to discover the signs so that you can work on overcoming them one by one.

1.You feel like being trapped by your job.

This one is a classic when it comes to the signs of a quarter life crisis. Whether you follow your career plan designed by your more enthusiastic and confident college-self, or you have awaken one day to realize that your temporary job solution isn’t so temporary four years later, you have that strong and unescapable feeling that you are stuck.

You disagree with anything your boss proposes, you can’t find the motivation to show up to work every day, let alone performing any demanding task, and the thought of yourself doing that work in the next ten years gives you a mild panic attack because it is not something you enjoy and feel passionate about.

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The sole reason this one is a classic is because so many people are experiencing it; so keep that in mind next time you feel like no one understands what you’re going through and try calling a friend. Talking and sharing with others can help you get closer, and at the same time you can get good and honest advice.

Yet, no one can make a decision for you. Even though you feel like quitting your current job, you should take some time to think and discover the real reasons for your unhappiness. In some cases, quitting is the only option possible, but try to find positive aspects of it before leaving it for good. Finding the right calling is a necessary, yet timely quest, so make sure you have some sort of safety net before you reach it eventually.

2.You don’t know what to say to your close friends.

All of a sudden you find yourself facing the world alone in a sense that the challenges and experiences you are having might not be the same as your friends’. You find your group drifting apart with no or little common ground, opinions, or values.

This doesn’t need to be the end of your friendship. Quite the contrary, you should share now more than ever, since it is by combining and comparing your different perspectives, that you get the most valuable lessons in life. You get the opportunity to relate on a deeper level now that you are not just friends by chance, but because you choose to.

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3.You realize it takes much effort to make your dream come true.

It is a harsh reality check when you see yourself still waiting for your life to take off and things to be the way they were supposed to before reaching the thirty milestone. We all make these scenarios by default without even stopping for a moment to question how much of it truly is our dream, and how much we have picked from our parents’ or society’s plans.

To overcome panic and disappointment that usually accompany this realization, you need to remind yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Try not to think of your road as full of mistakes, but see everything as a lesson and another step further to fulfilling your dreams. This way you won’t have to give up on your dreams, but you will be able to take the challenges one at a time feeling much more optimistic each step of the way.

4.You are worried about whether you make progress fast enough to be successful sometimes.

You give it all you’ve got, yet it still seems like you’re just getting by, constantly struggling with that panicky feeling of being too late for something. That something being your career goals. Your parents had their career figured out much sooner in their life, so it must mean that something is wrong with you.

We all get caught up in those dysfunctional thoughts when we start overthinking about the future and stop enjoying the now. The key is to stay calm and mindful so that you can take a better look at what you have achieved so far. By appreciating and giving yourself the credit for each accomplishment, you will start enjoying the process itself and the success will happen much faster.

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5.You can’t help comparing yourself with your friends.

And, somehow, they always win those “competitions”. You love your friends and want the best for them, but you cannot escape the feeling that their lives are perfect, their jobs much more fulfilling than yours, and their relationships more mature. Again, you feel helpless and alone in your struggles.

It is not easy not to compare yourself with others, especially your closest friends, whose lives you listen about so much. Yet, if you don’t want the comparing and analyzing to ruin your time together, you need to remind yourself that you are a unique human being with a unique life purpose and path.

You were never supposed to be like someone else, and that is the beauty of it. You can have similar experiences to share with your friends to help each other grow, but each of you has a unique standpoint and path to take. Let your friends’ journeys inspire and motivate you instead of making you feel less than.

6.You don’t feel happy even when everything goes smooth in your life.

If you still cannot decide if you are going through a quarter life crisis, this is an undeniable indicator. Everything has lined up for you – you are doing great at work, student loan is taken care of, you’ve got amazing group of friends, and your love life is surprisingly good and stable, yet you cannot help but wonder – is that all that is?

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Somehow, along the way, you have lost that thirst for life that you had in your early twenties, and you feel lost somewhere in-between, feeling not quite like your past careless self, and not yet like a fully-grown, responsible adult.

This is the trickiest one to tackle, but once you overcome it, you will feel more empowered and confident than ever. Going through a crisis this early in life helps you prepare for the next stage of adulthood and challenges it brings. You need to listen to your inner voice and find what it is that helps you relax and find gratitude. For some, it is spending time in nature with their pets, or re-discovering a hobby you enjoyed as a child, doing sports, doing anything that helps you disconnect from the usual busy routine and make you appreciate the little things in life.

Once you start setting aside some you time, you will transfer some of that appreciation into your “regular” routine and will find it much more enjoyable too. Finally, remember that you don’t need to have everything figured out all the time. It is perfectly normal to feel out of place at times, since that is the only way to find your true self.

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Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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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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