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15 Ways You Never Knew You Could Do To Complain Wisely

15 Ways You Never Knew You Could Do To Complain Wisely

The definition of complaining is

“Expressing dissatisfaction about a state of affairs or an event.”

There can be many reasons a person might complain. Some are well justified out of a legitimate desire to make things right. If these complaints are followed by action, that is intelligent complaining. There are constructive ways to complain in order to make things better. How do you find these complaints?

1. “Here is what I have observed. It may not be true for you in which case, please ignore my advice.”

Telling someone something negative is difficult in most cases, but this statement allows the person to look at the situation and have his own opinion of it. There is no manipulative intention in this statement because you have invited him to ignore your advice if he disagrees and told him that you won’t hold it against him if he does nothing about it.

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2. “When you do or say (blank), it upsets me. Please don’t do or say it in my presence”.

This statement lets someone know that their words or actions have an effect on you and gives them the choice, i.e. “Either don’t say this or do this or don’t expect me to be present.”

3. ” I have noticed (blank)” or “I have some bad news.”

Sometimes we do have to tell someone something we know they don’t want to hear. Honestly, I don’t think there is a perfect way to phrase something negative that you, as a friend really should tell someone. In this category I would include things like chronic bad BO or offensive curse words used at inappropriate times. Ask yourself if you really are doing that person a favor by telling them. Also ask yourself if there is anything that person can do about it. If not, it is useless to bring it up. In cases where you think that your best friend’s jeans make her butt look big but she thinks they are great, zip your lips! If her boyfriend is cheating on her and you have proof, then you do need to let her know.

4. “Your (husband, friend, kid) is awesome! I would love to help you guys out if you ever need it.”

Telling someone something negative about someone they care about is never a good idea. When you do this it puts the person that you do it to in a position of having to choose between you and his or her loved one. Even if the person is complaining about a family member or friend, don’t agree too strongly, because later, when things are going better, the person may resent the comments you made.

5. “I understand and I am there for you.”

A person who is having a rough time does not want to hear about how much worse you have it or had it. Just listen. If you really need a shoulder to cry on, find someone else until the other person gets back on their feet.

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6. “Do you think (so and so) needs our help?”

If you notice something off with another person, and it’s bugging you, you should communicate about it. Then, if you think that person needs help, give it to them. If it is just a case of differing styles, again, keep it to yourself.

7. “Wow! Teach me to do that! You ROCK!”

Courage comes with knowledge. There are methods and technologies for learning ANYTHING. Are you embarrassed by Sting or John Mayer when they sing? They have learned art of performing and you can too!

8. “I’ve noticed (Blah di blah) and I think it needs to be handled! What can I do to help correct that?”

Noticing and taking action on things that are not correct is a sane and smart response.

9. “(So and So) is involved in (harmful action putting himself and others at risk) and here is the proof. I think we need to do something about it.”

People generally do not like to confront and handle others even when the list of harmful acts is growing and affecting a lot of people. The proof of this is the inaction of the world against Hitler in World War II until after millions of people were slaughtered. The bottom line though, is that action in some useful direction is a sane and correct response. Do not be surprised if you are the only one willing to tackle the problem. There is nothing wrong with pointing out and trying to curtail someone else’s harmful acts or crimes. There is something wrong with sitting around and doing nothing while that person destroys himself and everyone around him. Sometimes merely telling another about the situation is the first step in handling it. On the other hand, there is also something wrong with manufacturing false “proof” and presenting it as real. An act like that is never warranted.

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10. “Something negative may happen but no matter what happens we can always do something to make it better. “

Simple and true.

11. “Wow! That is awful! I’m sorry that happened to you!”

Now, the person may have done an awful thing but pain and unhappiness never did anything to really solve a problem correctly. A person’s urge to commit harmful acts comes about because of past pain. Adding present time pain to the backlog of pain does not help

12. “I forgive you.”

If the person just messed up and is carving himself up with daggers on your doorstep, and you are certain he or she will pay more attention next time, decide whether you can trust him or her again. You can forgive someone without opening the door to future betrayals. Look carefully and decide.

13. Text “Are you free in the morning? I need someone to talk to.”

The phrase “I need someone to talk to” is a meaningful phrase. Your friend will understand and be there for you. You ahve also shown respect by asking first, instead of just unloading.

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14. “What happened to Joe could have happened to any one of us. We need to correct that!”

Whether anyone you tell agrees with you is neither here nor there. Take steps to correct the situation so that it doesn’t take you all out. If you can’t correct it, find a better and safer environment.

15. “OK, that (thought, action, idea) was not the best. I know I can do better!”

There is nothing wrong with making mistakes and learning from them. Even the worst mistakes are learning experiences. It is not OK to degrade or invalidate yourself over your mistakes or to let someone else degrade or invalidate you because of them. We all make mistakes and the real go-getters make more mistakes than other people because they are more active. It is not OK to do it to someone else, so don’t do it to yourself.

I know that much of what I have said requires courage and in answer to your unspoken question, Yes I have had my tushie handed to me more times than I can count by standing up and doing the right thing. But it has only been the times that I have failed to act and someone got  hurt that I regret. Courage means standing all by yourself sometimes, knowing that you are right. If you avoid all of the stupid complaints and work to make things better, you will be respected and even better, you will know you have kept your integrity. You may get your tushie handed to you but if you do I will be there for you.

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Chris Ellis

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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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