In this blog we will answer the question “Am I controlling?”
We will also discuss what a controlling personality is and what you can do to stop being a controlling individual.
Am I controlling? Signs that indicate that you are
Here are some characteristics and patterns of behaviour of controlling individuals. If you think that most of these traits apply to you, it is very possible that you are a controlling individual.
Here are some of the signs that indicate that you are controlling:
- You tend to exert excessive control by appearing intimidating or acting superior to others constantly and this might show up in terms of threats that you might often dismiss as a joke. You might also interrupt other people during conversations or talk down to someone in front of peers.
- You find it extremely hard to take no for an answer and are unable to accept the boundaries of other people. You might disrespect their boundaries by pressuring them or refuse to acknowledge their needs etc. and you become very distressed, angry even, when others tell you no.
- You become extremely distressed, angry, moody, and anxious when things don’t go your way or follow the plans you have because you believe that your way is the best way or the only way to get things done.
- You tend to be very jealous of other people, especially when they have all the attention. So you might talk negatively about them, gossip, talk over them, dismiss their achievements, try to cause drama to divert attention etc.
- You might use psychic power to get what you want and this might include pushing people physically, or threatening them to use physical force to get what you want, or physically blocking other people’s way to get them to behave the way you want them too.
- You tend to be controlling of other people’s relationships, who they meet and spend time with. You might become anxious when they have plans with other people and become very angry and express passive aggressive behaviours when they talk about other people.
- You tend to blame people for things that go wrong, be it a minor issue or a major one. You often tend to think that it is their fault and that you have become a victim to their mistakes or the situation.
- You tend to criticise people a lot, and undermine their efforts and their abilities. You might even exaggerate their flaws and disregard their efforts. You might even make mean jokes about them and their mistakes.
- You might also be extremely demanding of other people, constantly seeking their attention with the desire to keep them to yourself. This might come off as an innocent desire to spend time with them, however you become extremely distressed when they do not spend time with you or refuse your invites.
- You tend to keep score of every little favour you might have done for them and every little hurtful thing that they might have done to you. You might also tend to be overly generous not to make them feel loved by making them feel indebted.
- You tend to underlie their expenses by telling them that they are overeagerating or being overly sensitive. You might also tend to disregard their pain as a way to gaslight them.
What is a controlling personality?
A controlling personality is often observed as an individual who tries to take control of the situation, irrespective of context.
Being a controlling individual is not necessarily a bad thing. Usually having a controlling personality often fits well in certain situations such as being in a leadership role in school, being a manager at work, or a CEO.
Individuals who have a healthy controlling personality will take charge in times of crisis, drive their team and other people towards common goals, and get things in order and get things done.
However it is possible that someone who is controlling, in unhealthy situations, tends to control people rather than control the situation.
In unhealthy personality traits of a controlling individual is that, instead of getting things done or helping lead others towards a common goal, the individual might manipulate and coerce others to do things that they do not want to- usually to gain power or to gain something they personally want, rather than a common goal.
How to stop being so controlling?
Here are a few things that you can do to stop being so controlling of the people around you.
Explore your fears
When it comes to controlling behaviour or personality, these tendencies tend to be fueled by fears. People tend to become very controlling because they do not have control over certain aspects of their own lives and that causes them much fear.
So, take some time to explore what it is that you are afraid of and where this fear comes from. Explore how likely this fear or this threat will impact your life and your sense of self.
For example, if you are controlling of your partner’s daily in and outs- you might fear the unknown; the fact that you do not know what they are doing when they are not with you.
Ask yourself what this fear means- is it fear that they will cheat on you? Is it fear that they will meet someone else? Are you afraid that they will find someone better than you?
Understand your fears
The next thing to do is to understand what this fear says about you. If we consider the same scenario and the same fears, it might be indicating that you do not trust your partner and that you seem to have low self esteem to think that there is someone better.
Take time to understand where your fears are coming from, some fears can also include beliefs like- “If i don’t take control, everything will go wrong.” Or “If i don’t take control of this group project, we are going to fail.”
Challenge your fears
Once you have understood this fear of yours, the belief it stems from, challenge them. Most of these fears come from irrational beliefs.
You might think, “if they find someone else then I am doomed to be alone.” or “if I get low grades on a Thai group project, my academic career is over and if that is over, so is my whole life.”
Most of these fears- when you put it out for what it is- you tend to realise that these fears are not really realistic and are confounded.
So what you can do is to challenge them by asking yourself how likely it is for what you actually fear to have. “Will failing this test really mean that your career is over?”
“Will your partner cheating on you, really mean that your worth as a human being is completely destroyed?”
Replace your beliefs
Replace yourbeleifs with more realistic ones. Beliefs that allow you to grow into a better version of yourself. Beliefs and an outlook that allows you to remain optimistic and hopeful.
Something like “If I get low grades here, I can work hard on something else and make up for it.”
Or, “if my partner leaves me for someone else, yes it will hurt- but it does not mean that I am worth any less.”
Once you have challenged and replaced your beliefs , take it a step further by accepting the present and accepting the situation for what it is.
This means changing your thought process from what is going wrong to what is going right. For example, instead of worrying about the project- allow yourself to enjoy the experience of collaborating with other people.
Or accept that your partner is someone who is very social, who loves meeting new people and that you are both separate individuals and the choices they make is something you cannot control.
Learn to get your needs met
Now, another thing that you can do is to work towards meeting your needs. You can do this by communicating assertively.
WHat this means is that you let your partner know that you are anipus and that you need some reassurance from them. COmmunicate this in a way that allows them to see where you are coming from, no matter how uncomfortable it might seem.
You can also let the others in the team know why it is so important to you that you ace this project and ask them if they would like to try making this group project the best you can together.
Developing mindfulness is the choices that you make, the behaviours that you engage in, and the language that you use.
Notice what is controlling, acknowledge that you are doing, and make an effort to replace these behaviours with more helpful ones.
For example, if you notice that you are using a lot of “shoulds” and “musts” you can change that around by using words such as “could” instead. So it would sound something like “We could use this colour instead.” from “We should use this colour.”
Take notice of your own behaviours, how you deal with stress, rejection, and nos. Ackenoldeg how your moods change and your thoughts turn towards negatives and instead choose to calm yourself down and opt for more positive thoughts.
Another thing that you can do, if you find that what you have been trying to do and change is not working out is to consider an outside perspective from a therapist who can help you get a clearer understanding of what is happening to you and what you can do to bring change.
Your therapist will help you get a clearer understanding of what is causing you to become so controlling, help you to accept uncertainty and other realities while also helping you to learn how to love yourself, practice compassion and grow into a healthier version of yourself.
In this blog we have answered the question “Am I controlling?”
We have also discussed what a controlling personality is and what you can do to stop being a controlling individual.
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