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12 Things Strong, Independent Girls Don’t Do

12 Things Strong, Independent Girls Don’t Do

Being a strong, independent girl is harder than it used to be. For many girls, being considered strong and independent is a hard task, particularly in a world where more young people and graduates than ever are being driven back into living with their families, and into being underemployed (if they can find work at all). However, the definition of what it truly means to be a strong, independent woman has changed. Not every woman has her own apartment overlooking the city, or a string of adventurous lovers, or a high-powered job.

Strong, independent girls are not defined by their circumstances; whether they’re from an Ivy League family or the first in their family to ever attend college or graduate high school, a strong, independent girl can find the best in her situation and work hard at improving it while retaining her sense of inner strength and ethical values. Stuck as how to become one of these strong, independent girls? Read below to check out what to avoid in order to become one:

1. They don’t neglect their careers.

Firstly, strong, independent girls have their careers always at the forefront of their lives. Working hard is something everyone should do, regardless of age, gender or other factors, whether it’s pulling an all-night shift at a fast food diner or clocking in hours as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Strong, independent girls always work hard, keep their eyes to the future, and strive to work on their careers. That old adage of keeping your standards as high as your heels applies somewhat here — except that you should keep your standards, dreams, and aspirations as high as your work drive.

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2. They don’t fail to handle their own situations.

One of the most important things strong, independent girls always do is handle their own situations, good or bad. Speaking for yourself is something everyone should be doing anyway, but strong, independent girls never have trouble making their voice heard and ensuring any decision involving them directly is a reflection on their choices. Strong, independent girls handle their own job worries and roommate problems and flat tires. It’s not that it’s bad to rely on people; but to have the knowledge that you can handle the situation is powerful in itself.

3. They don’t overreact to bad situations or mistakes.

Strong, independent girls have the ability to let mistakes roll off their backs and to learn from their bad choices. They don’t complain, or rally against a world that has bitten them in the ass. If you’re a strong, independent girl, you let yourself make these mistakes and you learn from it. You don’t overreact to bad stuff that happens (although suitably horrific stuff warrants whatever response you like). You see these negative scenarios as a learning process and a way in which you can grow and become better and stronger. Strong independent girls don’t whine or complain — they can mope for a little while and then they move on to become better people.

4. They don’t rise to the bait of haters.

Haters seem to be everywhere these days — from the early days of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, legions of these anonymous Internet users can often be found crawling at the bottom of message boards, spouting vitriol at every turn. Strong, independent girls can often find themselves the target of such attacks, but thankfully never rise to it or give it the time or oxygen it requires to survive. It also goes without saying that no strong, independent girl is a troll herself. Trolling is harmful, abusive, and utterly repugnant. All it serves as is the symbol of the emptiness of a person’s life that they need to fill it with anger and resentment. Strong, independent girls never rise to haters’ bait — they’re usually too busy living the life they want to lead to care or take notice anyway.

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5. They don’t stop learning.

Strong, independent girls never stop learning or trying to better their own sense of knowledge about the world or subjects. It’s a sad thing when people stop being interested in the world around them, or decide to remain set in their ways and not learn or explore any new point of view or topic or challenge themselves. Strong, independent girls are never, ever phased by someone thinking that their passion for knitting, or science or Doctor Who is ‘weird,’ or that their desire to learn about patterns or physics or sonic screwdrivers is worthless. Strong, independent girls move on to people whose opinions they care about and never let anyone stand in the way of their passions or their education.

6. They don’t act on first impulse.

There’s something to be said for the virtue of patience. Strong, independent girls practice patience and restraint every day — they never act on the first wild impulse that comes their way. That way they’d be making out with the random, bearded man in the club corner, spending too much money on a bag that they won’t even like three weeks after they’ve blown their savings on it, and doing other potentially dangerous, potentially really stupid things. Strong, independent girls always wait and think things through. They’re always in control of their lives — as much as possible anyway — and do the things that will truly make them happy. They pay the rent, and save the Birkin bag purchase for when they’ve got enough that it’s a wild treat, not a one-way trip to being homeless on the streets.

7. They don’t let other people affect their confidence.

One of the fundamental things that a strong, independent girl does not do is let other people hold sway over her confidence and self-esteem. Your body is just fine the way it is, and the projections of perfection that the media brings about are harmful. Strong, independent girls do not let themselves become affected. They carry their heads high and no matter their shape, size, skin color, gender identity or form of self-expression, they own themselves. The things that make them stand out become their greatest assets. No strong, independent girl ever lets herself feel bad about being herself.

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8. They don’t neglect their physical needs.

One thing strong, independent girls never, ever do, is neglect their physiological needs and health. The fact is that your body needs sleep, needs water and food, and needs to unwind and relax. Neglecting these isn’t just stupid; it’s reckless, silly, and not something that a strong, independent girl does at all. Strong, independent girls get plenty of sleep; aside from being a biological imperative, it helps your mental health, concentration, healing factor, and makes your skin look amazing. These same girls drink plenty of water in order to stay hydrated and healthy, and eat as much and as healthily as they want without getting hung up on calories. These girls relax and unwind and let their mind restore itself so that it can be fighting fit the next day. Now then, that’s not so hard, is it?

9. They don’t have unrealistic expectations.

Having unrealistic expectations is one of the quickest ways to being an unhappy camper. Fortunately, if you’re a strong, independent girl, that’s not an issue for you as you have your expectations in check and are realistically optimistic about the future and what it’ll bring. There is a fine line between wishful thinking and thinking that some outlandish event or scenario will actually occur. Let’s face it, everyone has had a daydream fantasy of winning the lottery and retiring to the South of France with a luxury villa and Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o as speed-dial buddies. Strong, independent girls accept and enjoy these brief interludes but never let them truly affect their lives; they keep grounded and realistic, while never dampening down on their dreams and goals.

10. They don’t stay in toxic relationships.

The law of attraction usually means that strong, independent girls should flock with other strong, independent girls and guys. However, sometimes they find themselves with other people who are dissatisfied, petty, angry, or just generally toxic. If you can’t work through things with your friends, then it’s time to cut the strings and let them go. Strong, independent girls never let the toxic actions of another person affect them — whether they’re a random coworker or a close friend — and often they allow the relationship to dissolve. Hanging around in a toxic friendship or relationship is never a good thing and is something strong, independent girls never do.

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11. They don’t let someone else dictate their relationships.

Most people are actively involved or interested in having or maintaining a romantic relationship. Strong, independent girls never let anyone else dictate or control their romantic relationships. They date until they find a partner worth investing their time, energy, and effort into. These women don’t entertain a partner who belittles them, disrespects them, or attempts to control every aspect of the relationship. They don’t have enough time to be dealing with the kind of people who try to confine their lives or control them in any way, shape or form.

12. They don’t lose control of their lives.

Finally, strong, independent girls never, ever lose control of their life. Control is, at least according to selected philosophers, an illusion created by mankind to stop us freaking out and destroying society. However, it serves an important purpose, and knowing that you are in control of your choices, decisions, and lifestyle is a massive boost to your self-esteem and confidence. Self-control is one of life’s greatest virtues and assets. Making sure you get enough sleep so that you’re not late for work is being strong. Making sure you avoid incriminating Facebook photos where any potential employer could see them is being strong. Treating yourself to a movie or drinks after work or a great meal is being independent. Strong, independent girls carve out their own lives and their own paths; just how it should be.

Featured photo credit: Beyonce, Huffington Post via huffingtonpost.com

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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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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