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Stop Controlling Me

by Dr. Vesna Grubacevic

Does your partner, friend, family member or colleague want to control your every move?  Are you angry or frustrated by their controlling behaviour?  Would you like to know how to stop this pattern of behaviour and create a more empowering relationship with them?

Control versus Trust

The first thing to realise is that people who trust themselves, trust others and the flow of life.  Therefore, they find no need to control people and situations.  It is only people who have trust issues that feel the need to control others and situations.  These people need to learn to trust themselves first in order to trust others, including their partner, family, friends and colleagues.  So if people in your life have controlling behaviour towards you, they are probably exhibiting similar behaviour in other areas of life and/or with other people too.

Coping Mechanisms

Most controlling traits are developed in the first 21 years of a person’s life.  Our interpretation of our environment in the first 21 years of our life (parents, siblings, relatives, school, friends, role models, partners, TV, internet, etc) defines our personality later in life.  Often controlling tendencies develop during that time as a coping mechanism for dealing with life’s challenges.

For example, some people model their parents and if they see one parent as having control over the other when they are growing up, may on a subconscious level copy the same dynamic later in their relationships.  However, this need to have so much control with other people, can result in conflict and can sabotage the relationship.

Your Response is Key

How you respond to your partner’s, friend’s, family members’s or colleague’s controlling behaviour is important.  Behaviour rarely occurs in isolation.  In every relationship, it takes two or more people to create a dynamic.  You need to look closely at your behaviour and how you are contributing to that dynamic.

For example:

  • are you allowing your partner, family, friends or colleagues to take responsibility for how you feel, think and act, rather than owning this yourself?
  • do you give away your choice to make your own decisions and always rely on others to make decisions for you and your relationship/career/life (eg. where to live, the work you do, wwhen and how many children to have, etc.), rather than making the choices that you want?
  • are you a doormat and do you allow your partner, family, friends and colleagues to walk all over you and disrespect you, rather than stand up for yourself?
  • do other people behave in unacceptable ways (eg. put your down, criticise you, etc) and you do nothing to stop it?

Reflect on your thoughts, emotions and feelings and how these are contributing to how other people are treating you.

Next, consider your beliefs about yourself and how these may be contributing to other’s behaviour.  For example do you believe that you:

  • deserve to have the love/relationship/career/life you want?
  • are worthy of being treated with respect?
  • can safely express your emotions and thoughts to other people?
  • and your partner, family and friends are equal in a relationship?
  • are a good person?
  • are good enough?
  • are deserving of asking for what you want in a relationship/career/life?
  • do you take too much responsibility for making your personal and professional relationships work?
  • can trust yourself and your partner, family, friends and colleagues?

Remember that your beliefs affect your behaviour and these become self-fulfilling through your behaviour.  Hence, it is important that you identify all the beliefs that are limiting you and how you respond to other people.  Then address these so that you change how you and other people respond to each other.

Imagine being in an empowering relationship with your partner, family, friends and colleagues.

How to get the respect, love and appreciation you deserve!

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