Does any of these situations reminds you of anyone around?
You wanted to hang out with your newly met friend but he insisted that you shouldn’t go because he didn’t know your new friend.
She wanted you to tell her exactly where you’d be going every day, at what time and with whom, and always kept her posted.
These people could be your partner, your friend, or your family member.
Dealing with control freaks is not fun at all. No matter how much they “mean well” or their “heart is in the right place” when all said and done, a control freak in your life is a toxic force to be dealt with.
But what is a control freak exactly?
Control freaks are usually perfectionists who feel vulnerable to anything uncontrollable.
The term “control freak” is a psychology-related slang. It describes a person who wants to dictate what everyone does and how everything is done around them. People who have an extremely high need for control over others are considered as control freaks.
Control freaks are often perfectionists who attempt not to expose any of their inner vulnerabilities by making sure everything around them is under their control. To avoid having to change themselves, they always manipulate and pressure others to change and do what they want.
We can spot a control freak in every walk of life, it’s about how to deal with them.
With a few key strategies up your sleeve, dealing with that control freak in your life right now – be it a family member, colleague, or otherwise – can be a lot easier to do.
Difficult people need some extra care in the approach you take, so here is your guide to being free of the control freak.
1. Spend as little time with them as possible
Firstly, get away from them. Controlling people exert stress, which can make you more vulnerable to their habits.
Keep your distance and create a gap between you. Letting this person think they are your friend offers a space of opportunity for them to jump in and attempt to control you.
Step back from the relationship as far as you can, be polite but not friendly, and make it clear by your actions that you don’t wish to spend time with them. If they ask why, you have the perfect chance to explain to them.
2. Use strong body language
Body language is a clear signal and can speed up better communication; get acquainted with unspoken assertiveness to aid your message of no messing.
3. Remember why they are controlling
Most controlling people can be charismatic, witty, energetic and wonderful when you meet them, it’s on the micro, on- to-one level that their behavior is apparent.
Remember that they are controlling due to a personal insecurity, paranoia, or deep set emotional issue. None of this justifies their behaviour, but remembering that they are vulnerable beneath the veneer can help in addressing the issue of their behaviour.
4. Practice saying NO
Controlling people use the façade of persuasion to hide what is, actually, pressure. When you do not submit to what they are “encouraging” you to do, there is often a display of emotional behavior.
Do not submit in appeasing them because it’s easier. Practice saying “no” without feeling the need to justify it. You don’t need to do things that you do not want to do and under no circumstances should you be made to feel as though you must.
Be clear and firm in your communication; practicing stock phrases and replies to their suggestions can help. Using a mirror, practice saying ‘no’ without expanding more with excuses.
5. Find an ally and sounding board
If the controlling person is close in your family or workplace, it can often be hard to decipher what is and is not acceptable behavior.
Find someone who can see the situation clearly and who can act as a sounding board for you. Controlling people typically select targets that pose as potentially vulnerable personalities, so if you are depressed or emotionally vulnerable, they hone in on that potential for exploitation. Buddy up if you are struggling and stand your ground.
6. Work on your own self esteem and confidence
If someone is causing stress to your life by being controlling, work on your own self confidence and sense of self.
Equip yourself with the NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques to deal with their games better:
- Dissociation — Imagine yourself encountering the same negative situation, but play back like a mental movie with a funny soundtrack. This can help to get rid of the negative emotion.
- Content reframing — Shift your attention on negativity to other sides of the same issue. This can help you see the bigger picture more clearly.
- Anchoring yourself — Identify the positive emotion you want and try to remember the scenario in which you felt that same emotion. Choose an anchoring phrase like “I am _____ when I ____ .” and tell yourself this every time when you experience negative emotions.
It could be challenging at first, but you deserve a free life, not a manipulated one.
When a control freak makes you stressful and doubt about yourself, be brave enough to pick yourself up and do whatever you can to keep a clear boundary with them.
If you’re in love with a control freak, it maybe time for you to think about ending the relationship and move on for a better life.
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