Are you being controlled or manipulated by others?
A surprising fact is that every person plays controller or manipulator role at some point in time. You don’t believe that? Remember when you were trying to convince your friend or a significant other to do certain things your way. I am pretty sure you knew what you needed to say or how to behave to get what you wanted. These situations usually do not reflect who you are or how you normally behave. But there is a certain type of people that cannot exist without controlling others (or so they think), and they tend to manipulate or control others sometimes without even realizing that, while other times knowing exactly what they’re doing.
How you can recognize a controlling or manipulative relationship and how it feels being controlled or manipulated
No matter how hard you try to express your opinion or say how you feel or what you want, often times a controller will reject your opinion, ignore what you say, and will try to make you accept “their” opinion, “their” way of doing things and what “they” want. They may even see you as controlling party because of your attempts to communicate and express things; this is just who they are. Controllers usually have strong personalities, they can be real charmers and very social with others. But when it comes to people that are close, that they really care about, the situation often changes. Let’s say you have a boyfriend. You haven’t seen him for a while and you attempt to spend more time with him, go to certain places or meet friends. It is very likely that he will get resistant to what you’re trying to do this because he will not like your initiative as this will translate into the loss of his control / power over things. Most of the time he will attempt to show you the “right” way or make you do things he wants or when he wants them. In other words, he wants you to submit to him. This type of behavior would make you feel very frustrated, worthless and low. If you let this happen to you, you will feel that you’re becoming a person without a voice because no matter what you say, it will not go through to him/her and your attempts will bounce back at you with even greater force. This will create an inner battle as you will not know how to behave: escape from such kind of relationship, move on, stay and try to change things, etc. The greatest mistake people make is they try to change the controlling party. Unfortunately, you cannot win this battle unless that person is willing to dig deep, recognize and resolve the issues with some help from the side, which is not very likely to happen.
How to deal with a controller and not to lose you
First of all, you need to see and recognize that a person tries to control or manipulate you, that you are in a manipulative relationship (it can be at home, at work, among friends, etc.). This acknowledgement is already the first step towards breaking this vicious cycle. A controlling person is usually nothing more than a person with insecurities or lack of skill-set to communicate or accept you a person that is different from him/her. A surprising thing is that a controller is usually very friendly, social, generous, and helpful to others; he or she will treat you like this at the beginning as well. But when you get into a closer relationship with that person, the situation totally changes, and it may even get to the point of physical or mental abuse.
You have only 2 options here:
- Make the person realize what he or she is doing and help that person learn to communicate/ behave differently (therapy might be necessary)
- End the relationship and eliminate yourself from the situation completely
So which one you choose? Neither option is going to be easy to handle, especially if this person is a close friend or your boyfriend/ girlfriend or a partner. The only option will give you guaranteed results – peace in your life – is ending the unhealthy relationship. In any case, you need to decide what you want or whether you are okay with this kind of treatment. Deep inside you know what is right for you and that you need to look after you. Unfortunately, there is another voice inside you that will tell you – maybe you need to give that person another chance, maybe he/she will change, etc., and this monologue may continue indefinitely until you do lose yourself. The reality is PEOPLE DO NOT CHANGE. People may learn things, try new things, but they can apply new skills and stick to them only when they want and choose to do so. People need to want and seek to change their behavior, otherwise all the changes are very temporary and after a short while they will get back to the old ways. No one is saying it is easy to end the relationship. But there is nothing worse than a mental abuse (I hope it does not get to physical). If this happens, you will lose yourself and you will blame yourself that you do something wrong. He/ she will convince you that there is something wrong with you and not the other person and you will choose to stay in a relationship because you will feel worthless and undeserving of better treatment. So if any of this is already happening to you, run, get out of the relationship; you will be better off without it.
How to end the unhealthy relationship
- Be mentally ready. You need to make sure that you are ready to end the relationship. If you feel you are not, wait for a week or so, get into that state. The last thing you want to happen is to say you want to end it and a week later you call/text the person and start everything again.
- Don’t be mean about it. There is no reason to be like him/her, just say it’s not a match or that the relationship is not working and you want to end it. Period. Do not waste your time explaining or pointing out bad things as this will not work, he/she will not get it and it just will make things worse.
- Be strong, keep distance and do not respond. The person may try contacting you and getting you back, but you need to be strong, get yourself busy and just ignore these attempts. You removed his/her power over you and it is natural that the person will try to regain it using various means. If the person does not stop, then you will need to seek for help and get a restraining order, but I truly hope that you will not need it.
Be who you are and stand for yourself. You can do it!
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