Is your controlling behavior sabotaging your relationships? Maybe your partner tells you that they need more space or want to do things their own way. Maybe you recognize your own tendencies and feel guilty about snooping around their Facebook page.
When taken too far, controlling relationships can lead to domestic violence. Even if your actions are much less extreme, you may still be reinforcing your insecurities and losing opportunities for friendship and love.
If you’re willing to change, you can develop healthier ways to interact. Learn how to become more cooperative and less controlling.
Steps to Take with Yourself:
1. Consider therapy. The need to control your environment often begins in childhood with parents who may have been demanding or unreliable. Counseling can provide the help you need to change such long-standing habits.
2. Manage anxiety. Trying to dominate others is usually a sign of insecurity. Learning to recognize and soothe your own anxieties will make it easier to be vulnerable and treat others as equals.
3. Build your confidence. At the same time, you can work on developing a more valid sense of self-esteem and confidence. Remember your strengths and achievements. Practice asserting yourself without putting others down.
4. Widen your circle. Do you want your partner to spend time with you instead of their family and friends? You’ll both be happier if you maintain other connections. Different relationships help meet different needs.
5. Spend time alone. Becoming comfortable with solitude can also help you to feel less dependent on others. Plan activities you can enjoy solo such as meditation or visiting an art museum.
6. Assess your career. While controlling behavior may drive you to reach your goals at work, it could also limit your job satisfaction. Do you feel comfortable taking risks so you can learn and grow? Do you have office buddies to share lunch and laughs with?
Steps to Take with Your Partner:
1. Negotiate more. Romances may end quickly if you’re used to giving orders and arguing until your partner gives in. Experiment with a more collaborative approach. Take turns making decisions. Search for compromises that will satisfy you both.
2. Recognize manipulation. Making your partner feel guilty for disagreeing with you is also likely to drive them away. Be honest with yourself about your intentions and ask for what you need directly.
3. Stop keeping score. Can you do a favor for someone without first tallying up what they’ve done for you lately? You’ll find that giving is more rewarding if you forget about the balance sheet.
4. Respect privacy. It may be tempting to look through your partner’s phone and social media accounts if you find it difficult to trust. However, they deserve their privacy and exercising restraint may help you relax too.
5. Think positive. Criticizing others can be a way to feel superior. Before you say something harsh to your partner, ask yourself if it’s truthful and constructive. Be sure to tell them what you like about them too.
6. Keep an open mind. Close connections depend on being able to listen to each other and respect different points of view. You’ll be less likely to belittle your partner for their beliefs if you feel secure about yourself and your relationship.
7. Love unconditionally. Whatever your childhood was like, you can decide to do things differently now. Value others for who they are instead of what they can do for you. Accept them as individuals rather than requiring them to live up to your expectations.
Turn your life around by finding the support you need to give up your controlling behavior and form connections based on trust and respect. You’ll enjoy greater peace of mind, and your relationships will be more stable and fulfilling.