Advertising
Advertising

Being Kind to Control Freaks Is Being Cruel to Yourself

Being Kind to Control Freaks Is Being Cruel to Yourself

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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:[1]

  • 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.

Reference

[1] The Law of Attraction: 5 NLP Techniques That Will Transform Your Life

More by this author

Jo Gifford

Design Guru, Writer, and Founder The Dexterous Diva and the Killer Content Academy.

Being Kind to Control Freaks Is Being Cruel to Yourself 10 Tech Tools That Can Help Save Up Your Time 8 Simple Ways You Can Try Now To Train Your Brain To Stay Focused How To Be Super Organized And Quickly Get Things Done job application mistakes 14 Dumb Job Application Mistakes The Employment Recruiters Often See People Make

Trending in Communication

1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

Advertising

1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

Advertising

3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

Advertising

It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

Advertising

Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next