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These Simple Gestures You Do Will Make Your Relationship Happier, Even Though You Don’t Feel So

These Simple Gestures You Do Will Make Your Relationship Happier, Even Though You Don’t Feel So

Being thoughtful is the easiest way to build and keep a stronger, happier relationship. Everyone’s life gets busy, but taking the time to do something nice for your honey will not go unnoticed. When one person in a couple is thoughtful, usually the other half feels inspired to be so as well. And when both partners are finding simple ways to remind each other they care, it makes for a really sweet, loving relationship where the focus is positivity and happiness. In a world where there are so many things to worry about, wouldn’t it be nice to have a relationship that fills you with joy?

Finding ways to be thoughtful will not only make your significant other feel great, they will leave you with a smile too! Doing nice acts is contagious and fuels a pleasant environment. Don’t underestimate the value of the little things in life!

1. Mail a Letter

Romance is not dead! Just because we have the internet and texting, don’t underestimate the sentimentality of mailing your love a letter. Long or short, the effort of sending a piece of mail (even if you live together) is very sweet and thoughtful. You can express how your partner makes you feel, or you can just wish him or her a good day. This small gesture will be a great surprise when he or she opens their mail and it’s not all bills!

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2. Plan a Picnic

Alone time is always special, but taking that little extra moment to plan a meal that isn’t made at home, or even at a restaurant, shows you went above and beyond. Whether you pack caviar or just PB and J, the good deed won’t go unnoticed.

3. Hide a Note

Whether it’s in your babe’s pants pocket, luggage or lunch — the surprise of finding a little love letter is always wonderful. The fact that you took the time to wish your love well, or to have a good day really will brighten his or her mood. This one never gets old!

4. Show Up at Work

Work can be stressful and/or boring. A visit to your partner’s office is a simple way to brighten his or her day. You don’t need flowers or lunch, sometimes just a great hug from the one you love can really heighten a dull day.

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5. Arrange for a Surprise Visit From a Friend

A good surprise can take a lot of time, thought and effort, but when it’s pulled off everyone involved feels elated and excited. Take a moment to call your love’s friends or family and arrange for a get together. Whether near or far, coming home or showing up at a restaurant where a long-lost pal is waiting is a wonderful shock. This idea will be talked about for weeks thereafter!

6. Fill the Fridge With Favorites

Do you know what your honey loves to snack on? Why not go out and buy those goodies and put them in the fridge or cupboard. No notes necessary, when he or she realizes you took the time to think of his or her favorites, the consideration will be greatly treasured.

7. Clean the Car

Having a messy car can be stressful to some, and who wants to put in the effort to get it cleaned? Offering to clean the car or surprising your beloved with this act is sure to bring smiles all around.

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8. Give a Massage

Light a few candles, get out some good lotion or massage oil and get ready to lather your loved one down. You don’t have to be the best masseuse to try and help your hun relax. If a whole body massage is intimidating, perhaps just try a foot rub while watching TV together. The idea that you want to make him or her feel good will certainly set the tone for a great night.

9. Buy a Gift for No Reason

When you are out and about, if you see something that makes you think of your significant other, buy it! Gifts don’t have to be just for birthdays, Christmas or Valentine’s Day. They are so much sweeter and more thoughtful when they are bought as a “just because.” Your loved one is sure to have a big reaction to this, and you will be feeling good as well!

10. Give Up the Remote

It’s very common to have different tastes and interests as far as what you like to relax in front of. But every once in a while, give up the remote! Cuddling and snuggling actually releases endorphins that make you both feel satisfied. Your show can wait, the idea that you just wanted to be next to your dearest will not be overlooked.

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We tend to put forth our best selves in the beginning of a relationship, and then as time passes we forget the little things that made our union so special and exciting. Bring it back with these thoughtful gestures. No act is too small to say, “Hey, I’m thinking about you.” Sometimes, the smallest acts are really what mean the most. Challenge yourself to do something thoughtful every day. Not only will you see a change in your partner, but you will see a change in yourself. As the energy in the relationship elevates, your entire life will brighten. Doesn’t a world where people are happy and nice to each other sound great? Make it happen, it’s not that hard!

Featured photo credit: The Kiss Pedro Ribeiro Simões 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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