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15 Things People Who Have Mentally Strong Parents Understand

15 Things People Who Have Mentally Strong Parents Understand

Mentally strong parents can be tough for any child to get used to when growing up. These parents often share their tough-love attitudes with their children and it can be a challenge for many adolescents.

I know firsthand. I grew up with mentally strong parents and would sometimes despise the fact that they were harder on me than most of my friends’ parents.

But now I understand why. And I am incredibly thankful for the way I was brought up.

My mentally strong, sometimes tough, and always loving parents passed on their mentally strong attitude in life onto me. And for this, I will be forever grateful!

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If you’ve had mentally strong parents, you’ll know exactly what it was like and you’ll appreciate what they did for you. Here are 15 things that only people with mentally strong parents will truly understand.

1. Life’s Not Easy

From as far back as you can remember, if you’ve had mentally strong parents, I’m sure this is one of the recurring sentiments they’ve told you, “Life’s not easy.” Mentally strong parents are mentally strong because they’ve completely grasped this concept long ago. Sometimes life gets hard. Sometimes it gets tough. Sometimes you don’t think you can go on. But mentally strong parents always told you that you’ll be okay. They prepared you for life’s ups and downs and you were ready for each and every one of them.

2. Never Give Up

Along these same lines, mentally strong parents always told you not to quit. Whether it was a sport that you weren’t too fond of or a class you signed up to take, mentally strong parents always made you stick it out. They didn’t want to raise a “quitter” and so they always made you see things through. You may have hated it at that time, but that drive to never give up stayed with you throughout life!

3. It Takes A While For Good Things To Happen

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” This phrase was often repeated throughout your childhood and although you may have wanted things right away, you quickly realized that things worth waiting for were things worth having. You now have a great patience when it comes to obtaining things you desire.

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4. Sometimes Your Best Laid Plans Won’t Work Out

“The best laid plans of mice and men oft’ go awry.” This statement was probably uttered quite frequently as a child to you. Even if you think everything is going to go as perfectly as you plan it to, sometimes life throws a wrench at you. You have to take things in stride and shrug off unforeseen complications.

5. You Have To Adapt

Along the lines of taking things in stride, you have to adapt. Adapting is a critical part of succeeding in life. Those who adapt to different situations will always come out on top. Ever since you were little, your parents told you that you have to adapt and grow in order to be successful. They were right.

6. Hard Work Trumps All

Life doesn’t reward people who are lazy. Those who work hard and put the time into doing something are the ones who get what they want. Mentally strong parents made their children do chores, go to sleep on time, wake up for school on time, get good grades in school, and do their homework as soon as they came home. If you have mentally strong parents this happened to you too. And this hard work and preparation carried on throughout your life. There are probably few people you know who have anywhere near the same work ethic as you do now.

7. Life’s Not Always Fair

If your parent rehearsed lines from Mick Jagger before, you probably had a mentally strong parent. “You can’t always get what you want” was a sentiment often uttered by my parents, and one that I learned very early on. But by learning that things weren’t always going to go my way, it made me prepared for all sorts of stumbles I’d encounter later in life. I learned to be tough and ready for anything.

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8. Anything Is Possible

Even though I knew things weren’t always fair in life, I knew that one thing remained true, anything is possible in life. Even things that seem unbelievably challenging or long-shots that seem like they would never happen, can happen. “You can do anything in life” my parents often told me . . . and I always believed them.

9. Don’t Be A Sheep, Be The Sheep Herder

“Most people walk around like sheep, always doing what they are told. Don’t be like them. Be the guy who herds the sheep.” These phrases were told me as a young boy and I knew I never wanted to be a sheep. I knew I always wanted to do what I wanted to, and I wanted to have my own mind and my own heart. My mentally strong parents wouldn’t allow me to be a follower, they demanded that I be a leader. And I am.

10. Stand Up For Yourself

My mentally strong parents never took any crap from other people. They always demanded respect and they always got it. If they felt they were not being heard, appreciated, or respected, even in the slightest way, they demanded a change. I watched them stand up for their beliefs countless times over the years, and they led by example. They always told me to do the same and I always did.

11. Fight For What You Believe In

“Even if everyone else does something, do what you really believe in. Do what is right.” If you have strong-minded parents this belief is deeply engrained in you. You always fight for what you believe in and stand by your convictions. Mentally strong parents teach you this as soon as you start to talk. Because of this, you always do what you know is right in life.

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12. Everyone Has Problems, Not Just You

Your parents taught you to get over your problems early on by telling you that “Everyone has problems, it’s not just you.” In other words, they made you believe that you weren’t being unfairly singled out in the issues department. And that rather than complaining about your issues, you have to get over them! If you have mentally strong parents, you don’t dwell on your problems; you quickly move past and get over them!

13. You Can’t Please Everyone

Mentally strong parents are mentally strong because they know who matters. They also know who doesn’t matter, and they know not to waste their energy on these people. Your mentally strong parents told you early on that “You can’t please everyone” and you listened. You now know this to be true and you don’t waste your time on people who don’t matter. Instead, you focus your energy on more productive things.

14. Sometimes You Have To Take Risks

All mentally strong parents knew that in order to succeed in life, you sometimes have to take risks. Even though it may be scary or nerve-racking, risks are essential to getting ahead. The weak-minded settle for less and never go for things they truly want in life. The strong-minded, however, do. If your parents were mentally strong, you’ve grown accustomed to taking the necessary risks in life that reap the best rewards. You’ve been watching your parents do it for years.

15. Don’t Feel Entitled To Anything

“You work for what you want in life. You are not entitled to anything.” This motto was definitely prevalent in your life growing up. Mentally strong parents would never allow you to feel entitled to anything. The mentally strong are self-reliant, independent, and hard-working, and the feeling of entitlement of certain things is an insult to them. They instilled the core beliefs of self-sufficiency in you early on, and you never forgot them. You are now self-reliant, independent, and hard-working, just like them!

Although it may have been tough growing up with mentally strong parents, by now, you should realize just how lucky you were. Your peers and friends may have had it easier back then, but your mentally strong parents were shaping your future. They were giving you the tools needed to not only prosper and succeed in life, but to also be happy. You can now thank them for everything they’ve given you!

Featured photo credit: Stephan Hochhaus via flickr.com

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Justin Stenstrom

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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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