How to Deal with Controlling People

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One variety of human beings we tend to have too many of in our lives (too many as in, more than zero) is controlling people.

Considering the stress they can create, knowing how to deal with controlling people effectively is serious business and it requires a key set of people skills.

Controlling People Explained

Fundamentally, controlling people have a powerful need to control others (doooh!). This need is reinforced by their belief (conscious or subconscious) that they can bend the will of other people to their own and use others to get their way.

Having lots of practice, most controlling people are real masters of pressuring and manipulating others. They often have very good people skills (the bad kind) and may initially come off as very charming.

The basisof beingable to deal with controlling people effectively, from my perspective, is making them understand that they cannot pull your strings. Thus, you are shaking one of their core beliefs and you have the best chances of them backing off.

4 Principles for Dealing with Controlling People

Starting from this basis, there are 4 key people skills principles I encourage you to apply, in order to deal successfully with controlling people:

1. Distinguish pressure from persuasion. When someone presents facts and logical arguments for doing something, while allowing you the freedom to choose, that is persuasion.

When someone uses lying, exaggeration, manipulation, drama and tries to take away your freedom to choose, that is psychological pressure. “If you care about me you’ll help me, nobody cares about me, oh poor little me” is not a persuasive approach, it’s a manipulative one, often used by toxic people.

Practice analyzing how people try to influence you and what methods they use. You will sharpen your skills of distinguishing pleasure from persuasion.

2. Say “No”, “Yes” and “Fuck you”. Firm personal boundaries are often set using firm, strong words. It may not sound polite, but trust me, when you are dealing with controlling people, this is how to get the job done. Honesty and directness in communication have a mesmerizing power to convey confidence and create results.

Practice saying “no” when you don’t really want to do something instead of trying to bail out subtly. Practice saying “yes” when you want to do something other’s don’t want you to do, and learn to tell people off sometimes.

3. Do not submit to pressuring behavior. When they can’t pressure you with words, controlling people will resort to pressuring behavior. The logic of the game is simple: whenever you don’t play by their rules, they withdraw a certain positive behavior or insert a negative one.

Controlling people may stop talking to you, helping you, doing their chores, having sex with you etc., in an attempt to get you to play by their rules. If you submit, you lose. There are only two ways to deal successfully with this kind of behavior: either not reacting, or withdrawing a positive behavior yourself.

4. Do not seek the approval of one person. We all need to be approved and loved by people. It’s a human thing. However, we never, truly, really need the approval of one specific person.

One important attitude lesson I’ve learned is that no one person is irreplaceable in your life. Realize this, let it sink in, and you have the freedom to piss off a controlling person without feeling bad. Thus, they lose their major source of power over you.

Learning how to deal with controlling people usually requires at least some serious self-coaching. In all this process, if you find it hard, keep in mind that you are improving a set of people skills with a positive influence that stretches into many areas of your life.

PS: I now blog and share advice over here. Connect with me.

Image courtesy of thorinside

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Comments

  1. Richard Massey says:

    I live with my GF and her mother and my GF’s mother has found a Boyfriend who I completely detest!

    The first time I met him, he came around to our house and tried taking over my computer and helping himself to stuff around the house. He’s rude and ignorant and over talks to high heaven.

    All his opinions are so wrong! He lacks common sense and continues to talk over me! 99.9% of what he says is complete and utter bollocks which I prove him wrong!

    Things I’ve tried :-

    During a conversation I said “excuse me, I was talking”. THIS DID NOTHING!

    During a conversation I continued to talk when he spoke. THIS DID NOTHING!

    I just said hello to him and was very one worded with his. THIS WORKED VERY WELL AND UPSET HIM! I FELT KIND BAD FOR HIM AND GAVE HIM ANOTHER CHANCE!

    Then he continued to talk over me and I was desperate for a permanent fix so I got him in a corner and said :-

    I’ve given up talking to you, your rude and ignorant and never listen to what others have to say! Your only interested in yourself and your opinions and I don’t want to listen to you talking crap anymore. I also said I will be polite to you for everyone’s sake. So all I do is say hello and goodbye to him. I don’t make conversation with him anymore and when he waffles on I just leave the room.

    I’ve not spoke to him properly for months and why would I want to? People like this will never change! I’ve tried to talk to him and every time he is rude to me.

    I always remember my first GF saying to me:-

    IGNORANCE IS THE SIGN OF A WEAK MIND!

    This is true, people who overtalk are ignorant and weak! Deal with them and all your problems will be solved!

    GOOS LUCK! ;)

    • William Jackson says:

      It is important though, to tell them that they’re bulldozing the conversation. Or talking too much. Tell them specifically what’s wrong because they might not realize what they’re doing.
      People who are very extroverted will often talk even more when I pull back to monosyllables. And they’ll laugh at the end of every sentence. Even though there’s nothing funny or particularly interesting about what they’re saying. Those people are not trying to bulldoze us, they’re trying to interest us. So they need to be told.

      As for myself, I’ll talk too much when I want to share something I’m interested in. And then I need to be told what I’m doing.

  2. Hi William just want to ask your advice. I’m 28 and still live at home with my mom. I’m the youngest of 3 children and lost my dad when I was about 16 . I battle with depression and over drink from time to time. I feel like I lack ambition and the people skills to even make friends but as I’m getting older I’m realizing it’s my mother that makes me feel like this and she manipulates me and has the ability to just make me so down. I feel like she is scared to be alone and that why she doesn’t want to loose control over me or let go and I don’t have a job at the moment cause I’m trying to setup my own business but she’s trying to control that too because I think she is scared I make money and move out. Please just give me your advice you can be brutally honest

  3. what if you found out you’re a controling person and feel bad and want to change how do you fix that? like how do you not be controling by using emotions for your advantage.

    i have bad depression and i found out that i tend to over react when people don’t message me / talk to me and i think they’re mad or hate me i used that oh gues you don’t love me thing before without realizing it even though i was really hurt… idk what’s wrong.. do i have a problem? someone very dear to me told me she felt uncomfortable with me becase i kept making jokes about pervy stuff even tho she did it to and was ok with it . .. i feel sorry for what i did she’s had past experiences with controling people and stalkers and we both had experience with depression.. so we understand one another.. it got to the point where i over reacted so much that i nearly broke our friendship because of the drama… how do i stop doing this? how do i fix my drama causing ways calm down and not control people..

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