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14 Ways That Reveal Who You Really Are

14 Ways That Reveal Who You Really Are

Many times those who are living a lie do so because they don’t feel it’s safe to reveal who they really are. They might be frightened by disapproval from friends and family. Or they may have been bullied as a child. Other times, avoiding an authentic life can be used to hide mental illness or self-hate.

Here are 14 ways in which you reveal who you really are. If you’re brave enough, or if you dare, aim to share who you really are, little by little, everyday, with those you trust. You may be surprised at the reaction. If the reaction is not positive, you may need to re-think who you are inviting into your world. If you don’t feel you have a safe group of friends or family, yet, to share yourself with, go out and live with all your truth and conviction. Don’t forget a half-truth is still a lie. In time, you’ll attract those that need to be in your life. I promise. There is no greater comfort than settling into who you really are. Like Kurt Cobain once said, “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

1. Hardships reveal who you really are.

Allowing yourself to be exposed and raw is a very intimate experience. To really know yourself and others, what you are like at your most vulnerable, will include revealing yourself at your worst moments. Sometimes with tears  streaming down your face or when you are emotionally downtrodden and weakened. It could be due to heartbreak, a job loss, disappointment, a death in the family or a divorce. All can be truly tragic and upsetting to the rhythm of your life and dreams. This is one way you will reveal who you really are. During hardship, you can choose to remain stagnant and fearful or you can learn from the misery or your poor choices and make a new path for yourself.

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2. How you act when you’re upset.

If getting upset or disappointed involves you taking your anger out on others (verbally or physically), you are revealing yourself negatively. It makes people want to step away from you and not be your friend. It repels good people from your life. Even your family members may want to separate from you, especially when you are furious and raging. If you take a time out to process the situation, and why you are so upset, and be cognizant of how you relate to others when you are pissed off, you’ll be better off. It won’t be easy for everyone. But controlling yourself even when life is not being kind will only benefit you. Never forget, as Mark Twain once wrote, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

3. How you treat those who can do nothing for you.

If you only care about impressing those in positions of power, or those who are rich or good-looking by society’s standards, so that you can benefit from this connection, you reveal yourself to be shallow, self-centered, narcissistic and lacking in empathy. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is said to have written, “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” How you treat those in less prominent positions and those who may not be famous or well-known or powerful in society is very telling as to who you really are and what you really are. But if you’re tired of the way things have always been and are committed to another approach, you can change your habits.

4. Who you are when no one is looking.

You are who you really are when no one is looking. Truer words have never been spoken, or written. It’s easy to do the ‘right thing’ when others are watching and taking note. But what you do and how you cope when there’s no one there is very powerful. If you are lying, cheating, hacking private e-mail accounts, plotting revenge, gossiping about others, taking advantage of someone, choosing what’s easy, are keeping and creating endless secrets, you are revealing an unhealthy way of living. Often, if who you are in private and the self you present to others and who you are inside, is drastically different it can cause significant stress and internal chaos. It’s like holding yourself emotionally hostage. If you are really scared to be who you really are in the company of others you care about, you may be overly preoccupied with how others view you, and how they might respond to your style or interests. Don’t pre-judge their reactions. Make it your aim in life to embrace yourself completely. Being who you really are relies on it. If you are being kind and welcoming, speaking honest and thoughtful words, and wishing only the best for yourself and others, you are revealing a healthy outlook worth continuing.

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5. The types of relationships you pursue.

Sometimes those who have not healed from past relationships, abusive situations or other traumas, will continue to pursue those that remind them of their troubled past. It’s important to remember that you are not your past. Your past is a part of your story, but it is not everything and you don’t have to keep reliving it everyday. Who you are attempting to date, marry or befriend can reveal who you really are, but if you are not fully healed, your pursuits may be skewed and are only temporary. If you find yourself interested in a particular type of personality, there may be a pattern to your choices. You may also be pursuing people because they reflect how you view yourself and the world. Your relationships can reveal a lot about who you really are.

6. How often you admit your own mistakes and failures.

Mistakes and failures are a natural part of living. Without mistakes and failures, we wouldn’t learn all that we do. You may take responsibility for your actions and are honest about the part you play in the choices you make, you may not want to acknowledge your troubles at all, because you just can’t deal or you may be hesitant to mention where you went wrong because you are most concerned with how others will view you and what others will say or think of you. These are some ways you will reveal who you really are. Mary Pickford, one of the first actresses of the United States and Canada, once said, quite beautifully, “You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” Not only how often you accept responsibility for your actions but also how you you cope with the failures will reveal who you really are.

7. How you treat people in need.

Do you look down on those that have less than you? Do you pity them or come to their aid? Do you ridicule their style or make fun of them? Are you willing to help others or do you feel put out? However you may approach those in need will reveal who you really are.

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8. What you read, listen to and get entertained by reveals who you really are.

Do you like anime? Sadomasochistic films? Action or political satire? Do you enjoy listening to the radio or violent movies? Does a comedy make your evening complete or maybe a famous trilogy? Do you like classic literature or journaling your thoughts? Do you paint or work on engineering and coding? Or are you more business-minded? Do you collect dolls or something else? Do you prefer traveling, listening to records, or jogging? Do you frequent strip clubs, expensive resorts or casinos? Do you like photography, attending live music shows or gardening? Do you spend time wreaking havoc in your community, vandalizing and bullying passersby? Do you find pleasure from quiet time at the library or a soothing chat and tea with an elderly person? Do you use drugs to numb yourself or drink until you are passed out? Do you enjoy a weekly television program or cooking up edible delights from scratch? There are a million ways people like to be entertained. One’s entertainment preferences often reflect what’s going on inside their mind and heart. What you choose to do in your free time and what you find joy from tells all about your story and who you really are.

9. The way you approach your greatest failures.

Your failures don’t define you, and you shouldn’t wallow in self-pity or punish yourself for the stones that may obstruct your path from time to time. But how you approach those struggles will reveal what you are made of and who you really are. If you use your failures as a time to attack those around you, play the blame game or belittle and humiliate, throw tantrums or yell obscenities, it’s time to take a look into your habits and character. Your greatest failures are often simply the beginnings of your greatest achievements.

10. What you find comforting reveals who you really are.

If you find pleasure in the struggles of others (Schadenfreude), or laugh at their expense, because it makes you feel better about yourself, you are revealing yourself negatively. If you find comfort in loving, sharing and being kind, you are revealing an empathetic approach to others. Celebrating someone’s bad days just because you feel low about yourself isn’t cool or interesting. It doesn’t make you seem fun or enticing to hang around. What you find comforting and relaxing will reveal quite a bit about who you really are and what you really want out of life for yourself and those around you.

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11. How you spend your money.

Going on spending binges, spending money you don’t have or at the other end of the spectrum, never spending any money and living very frugally are all ways of revealing who you really are and what you feel inside. Do you spend your money to help others, your community or to furnish a comfortable, inviting home? Do you enjoy spending your money on loved ones and family members? Are you cautious with where your money goes? Do you keep a financial log and save all your receipts? The way you spend money and view finances shows a lot about who you really are.

12. How you speak of others behind their backs.

Gossiping, accusing, criticizing, unsolicited advice and blatant lying are some peoples choices when offered a chance to speak of others. Others might opt to not talk about others private comments and personal life, but instead focus on kind and respectful words or not talk too much at all about others when they are not around, to avoid denigrating another’s character or life, out of turn, and without all the facts. Remember that what you say about others will reveal a lot about how you feel about yourself. What you say about others will show who you really are. If you need to speak the truth about someones hurtful or negative actions and their impact in your life, it’s a quite different story, however.

13. The choices you make are revealing of who you really are.

When you are faced with options, how you choose reveals who you really are and what you really want. Do you go for the easy route? Or is being brave and daring important to you? Do you like new ways of approaching an old topic? Do you reach out to a counselor or is your father’s opinion more important to you? Do you go for the popular choice or the most healthy option? The pattern of your choices are a big part of your true self.

14. How you argue.

Fighting fair is an integral part of any relationships. Do you go straight to the most insulting retort? Do you hear out your friend or partner? Or do you opt for swift revenge? Revenge will only lead to more emotional injury and show that who you really are isn’t so healthy. As Mahatma Gandhi once stated, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” If that’s the way you have been operating and want to change, you can change how you fight or argue. When you fight, do so neutrally, recognizing that perfection is illusive. Be present, open and honest. Don’t keep score and don’t demand someone read your mind or try to do that of others. If you want to reveal a healthy and revitalized self, you’ll listen and encourage the same of them, when it’s your turn to talk. The way you choose to argue or discuss a disagreement shows a lot about who you really are and what you are about. Remember that almost everything we live is a choice.

Featured photo credit: DuneChaser via flickr.com

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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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