Dealing with controlling people

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Dealing with controlling people

Everyone without exception hates to be controlled, manipulated or forced to do something that he doesn’t want to do. Despite this hatred towards being controlled most people fall prey to stealth control attempts made by people who use methods that are not by any means obvious to control others.

Unlike a controlling boss who uses very clear methods for controlling others like punishments, threats and aggressive behavior there are types of controlling people who are too stealthy to be noticed yet their impact on our lives are great.

In this article I will tell you how to recognize different control attempts then i will tell you how to deal with controlling people.

Why do people control others?

Before you know how to escape from someone’s control you must first understand why people control others. While there is no single reason behind the desire to control others still in most cases one of the following reasons will be the root cause of the control attempt:

  • Lack of control of one’s life: Some people try to control others because they lack control over their own lives. The only thing that makes them feel in control is to see other people helpless and so feel that they are powerful. In my book Breaking the habit tonight i explained how some people use bad habits like smoking or shopping in order to feel in control over their lives. This is no different than people who try to control others in order to feel in control of their own lives
  • Low self esteem: In relationships this is the most common reason for controlling the other partner. A husband who controls all the moves of his wife might actually be suffering from low self esteem and want to make sure that he is in control of the relationship
  • Fear and anxiety: A president who controls the people of his country with an iron fist is actually anxious and afraid of what might happen if they were to express their opinions freely. Fear and anxiety of what might people do is one of the most popular reasons for the desire to control others

The stealthy control attempts

Some people try to control others by using their own emotions against them. The friend who calls you selfish for not calling him for a day or two even if you have other responsibilities is actually trying to control you by making you feel bad about yourself.

If you called him you will get the gift of being labeled "the nice friend" while if you didn’t you will be called the selfish self indulged person. This type of control is by no means different than the way a controlling boss treats employees, its even a worse way of controlling others because its not obvious.

Some people might try to control you by making you feel guilty, others will try to control you by making you feel ashamed of what you did while a third group might try to control you by making you think that you did something evil.

The first thing you need to in order to break free from the control of such people is to recognize their stealthy control attempts. Secondly you will need to do something that almost no one has ever done to them in their life time which is to face them with the truth they have been hiding for years.

Tell them that you have the right to have your own time for yourself and that not complying with their orders doesn’t mean that you are bad, selfish or evil.

Tell them that they feel safe when they find that they are in control and that’s why they try to control others.

Tell them that you can’t be their puppet or loyal pet but you can only be there for them as long as the constrains of life allows you to be there.

Tell them that you not selfish but they are the ones who are control freaks

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