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7 Things That Stress You Out That You Should Ignore

7 Things That Stress You Out That You Should Ignore

Life is hard enough without letting things – especially things that other people do or say – stress you out even more. Some stress in life is good, I think. I mean, without feeling a little stress to perform, would you always do as well as you could at your job? Without a little competitive stress, you might not try to win, or at least do well, in a race. A little stress about your mother-in-law coming over gets you off the couch and cleaning a bit before she shows up.

On the other hand, too much stress can have negative health benefits, increase your anxiety and make you feel bad about yourself. While a little stress is good, take the opportunity to eliminate – or just plain, old ignore, other stressful things in your life, like these:

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Ignore Blatant Negativity

Whether it’s from someone else, or you are creating it yourself, blatant negativity should be avoided at all costs. People who always have something bad to say can really bring you down and stress you out. I recently started a farmers’ market in my little town. It’s been going really well, even though the weather hasn’t always been ideal. Living near the ocean, it gets windy, rainy and just plain ugly some days. There is a woman who is a vendor at the market that always makes a point of complaining to me about the weather and indicating that she thinks I should be able to do something about it. As the newbie in town, this really bothered me for the first few markets, until I realized that this particularly negative person would complain about any weather — or anything else — no matter what. Now, I just smile and nod and walk away before she can get to any negative comments that I can’t do anything about.

Ignore People Who Try to Blame You

Just like my farmers’ market lady from the above scenario, there will always be people who either try to blame you for everything — or who bring all of their problems to you. And if you’re like me, you want to help people. You want them to come to you when they have issues and you want to help them sort them out. But have you ever noticed that there are a few people who have drama in every aspect of their lives? And they need you to get in the middle and sort it out? Don’t. This sort of negative energy can start to permeate your life as well and you simply don’t need it. Once you let the negative lives of others seep into yours, you start to feel stressed out — over stuff that isn’t your problem! Sometimes, you have to say “no,” or “I’m sorry, I can’t help with this right now.”

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Ignore Other People’s Opinions

Other people’s opinions of what you do and how you do it can bring a lot of stress into your life. For a long time, I avoided moving to Alaska and pursuing my own dreams because of the opinions of my family. They thought I would be irresponsible and crazy if I took my kids so far north. Now I know that they were really just afraid for me, but for a long time I let that stress control my life. Whether the other people’s opinions are good or bad, you must ignore them to keep that stress out of your life and move forward.

Ignore the Idea of “Perfect.”

Too often, we want things to be “just perfect.” The house, the yard, our car, our job — all of it should be and act just according to our plan. When the house doesn’t look nice for company or we don’t get the promotion in a timely manner, we start to feel stressed. Unfortunately, life doesn’t happen on a perfectly planned time table. Let the notion of “perfect” go and you will find the stress you feel reduce immensely. Sometimes, when the book club is coming, “good enough,” is “good enough.” Sometimes, when the day is beautiful, it’s more important to spend it at the beach with the kids than to worry about the lawn getting mowed or the weeds in the flower bed.

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Ignore the Desire for Stuff

The desire to get more stuff can create more stress than we really need. Yes, a new car would be nice, but for how long? If you are fortunate enough to have a car that works well, then don’t worry about getting another. Do you really need a huge TV or the latest washer and dryer? The desire for new and better can create stress among family and friends that you really don’t need, especially if you feel like you are the one being left behind. Practicing gratitude for what we have — and wanting what we have can reduce stress and make our lives much more pleasant overall.

Ignore “Easy.”

Life isn’t easy. Ever. In fact, if something is too easy, it’s probably not worth your trouble. Things that are satisfying are often hard. Trying to make things too easy can be stressful. Assuming that things that are important are going to require effort will actually reduce the amount of stress you feel.

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Change

Be flexible. Change as it is needed. Make changes. Adapt. When you accept that things have to change, you can reduce the amount of stress you feel. Go with the flow and you’ll find life, work and relationships a lot less stressful overall.

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Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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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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