Monday, November 29, 2010

Surviving and Thriving in your Relationship With a Controlling Person

What if the person you love is driving you crazy with their high need for control? This person could be your partner, a coworker, your boss,or a parent. You may be frazzled by this demanding person, who feels like they personally need to be responsible and in charge of just about everything, including the spinning of the earth on its axis! High control behaviors usually come from insecure people, with low self-esteem. Understanding and dealing effectively with the controller in your life is critically important for your mental health and well-being.

You cannot be codependent and live or work well with a control freak. Codependency comes from the literature on alcoholism and the family. Each member in an alcoholic family often has a role---like hero,scapegoat,joker, etc. Alcoholism impacts the entire family as everyone tries to deny or cope with the problem. Codependency is the pattern of painful dependence on compulsive behaviors and on approval from others in an attempt to find safety, self-worth, and identity. People who love or work closely with a high-control individual can take note of typical codependent behaviors and benefit from doing the OPPOSITE.

Codependent people often demonsrate these behaviors:
*think and feel responsible for other people
*find themselves saying "yes" when they want to say "no"
*are unaware of their own wants and needs
*feel safest when giving
*overcommit themselves
*fear rejection
*have a lot of "shoulds"
*feel anxious or depressed
*report they give to everyone else and nobody gives to them
*find themselves attracted to needy people
*feel empty and worthless if not solving problems or helping others
*have trouble accepting when somebody gives to them
*do not feel happy, content, or at peace

This list of codependent behaviors is your handy guide of what NOT to do if you have a high-control person in your life. Instead, you need incredibly good self-esteem and confidence.You must give up the idea of making the controller happy, because it is an impossible feat. You will need to stay grounded. Exercise daily. Keep up your own support system. Get some personal counseling or coaching if you open to having a healthy ally on your side. Use humor to deflect. Lead your own life. Communicate clearly and effectively when you are being stepped on. Let the little things go, but define your line in the relationship where you have to set limits and boundaries. You have to hold on to your own dignity, self-respect,and sense of humor.People are allowed to ask you for anything, but it is your job to stand up for what is reasonable to expect of you and what is over the top.

Taking charge of your own self-esteem, and doing the things which will make you feel more confident, will be a good offense. Keep up your relationships with other people. If your controller is at work, keep up your contacts with other departments at your company, and with professional groups within your industry. Don't let the controller isolate you. Consider taking advanced training or certifications. Keep up your contacts. Manage up, by submitting your own generated monthly reports on what you accomplish, and give a copy to your boss and keep one for your use if the controller starts to minmize or take credit for what you do.

If your high-control challenge is at home or in your personal life, love them, but know your own healthy boundaries. Don't let the controller criticize or tear you down, or belittle your friends or family. See this negative behavior for what it is: an attempt to isolate you and make the controller feel better about their own low self-esteem. People who like themselves, and are at peace internally, do not need to pick apart others. As philosopher Kahlil Gibran noted centuries ago in his book "The Prophet", couples need to develop a separateness that makes them stronger as a couple. Two trees planted too close together cannot grow in each others' shadow,as Gibran writes.

Can you survive, and even thrive, with a control freak in your life? Only if you take safeguards to protecting yourself emotionally and not taking their drama as gospel.You have only one life to live, and don't let the high-control person in your life, at home or at work, make you feel less than, or in their service.You are also a child of the universe, no less than the sun and the stars, and as it says in Desiderata, you have a right to be here and be happy.Seeing controlling behavior for what it is, and knowing how to handle the behaviors with wit, humor, compassion, and limits is essential. Let me know how it goes. (

No comments:

Post a Comment