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Are you in a relationship with the type of person who has to control the routine all the time in order to maintain a calm demeanor? Do you feel like they are being controlling? Have they displayed a desire to control other people? Do they feel the need to be the one to make the decisions, because theirs are the best? Are you made to feel like your opinions, thoughts or preferences are not important? Control can be defined as the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.

Recognizing someone is being controlling can be difficult. Someone with control issues, however, tries to control most all circumstances. Today, we are going discuss ways to recognize what it is like to be in a relationship with someone who struggles with control. Can you relate to this?

What are the Signs of Control?

Relationships are hard, even when both people strive to be a healthy individual. If one of people has a desire to control, the relationship can go beyond unhealthy to dangerous. It is important to listen to your inner self if you often feel someone is treating you in a way that makes you uncomfortable. Do you have someone in your life that makes you feel like you can’t be yourself and their wants are more important than yours? Do you have someone in your life that makes you feel like you’re unimportant and you feel unheard? They may struggle with control. Below are signs that someone may struggle with control.

  • Don’t take no for an answer
  • It’s their way or no way
  • Highly critical
  • Try to isolate you from others
  • Manipulative behavior
  • They are unpredictable
  • Use gaslighting
  • Excuse their behavior as “just joking”
  • Try to make you feel guilty
  • Don’t take responsibility for their actions
  • Don’t respect your boundaries

If you are in a relationship with someone who displays any of these signs, they may struggle with control.

What Causes Someone to Control?

The desire to control others and situations can be created within us many different ways. In all relationships, it is important that each person be themselves, be a healthy and safe person. Each of us need to respect the other people and their needs. When people are raised in environments that do not respect these boundaries, they can develop unhealthy boundaries themselves. They can also learn unhelpful ways to cope with life and stress, leading to them being an unhealthy person. Recognizing these traits are key to entering into safe relationships. There are many circumstances that can lead to someone having an unhealthy need to control. Some of those are listed below. Do you recognize any of these circumstances as possible for them?

  • Anxiety in someone can lead them to want to control all situations
  • Personality disorders can increase the desire to control others
  • Learned behaviors, from childhood or past relationships
  • Traumatic events in the past
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of abandonment

While these are some of the reasons that people can become controlling, these are not all. Regardless of why someone has the need to be controlling, it is never your fault nor responsibility to try to change the person.


What Can I Do?

Recognizing the need for change is always a good first step in taking action. It is important to realize that we cannot change another person, but you can take steps forward to do what is best for you. The below steps could help you in deciding a path forward. Once someone recognizes that there is a need for change, help can be right around the corner.

  • If you are in an unsafe situation, please seek help immediately
  • You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text START to 88788
  • Talk to someone you trust
  • Speak with a therapist who can help you better understand your circumstance
  • Set boundaries for yourself and learn how to keep them

Admitting that we have someone in our lives who are trying to control us, can be hard. You are not alone. Upstate Restorative Counseling can help. We have compassion to listen and help you establish steps forward to accomplish your goals.