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Are They Being Controlling?

Are They Being Controlling?

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.

 

 

Why Do I Try to Control So Much?

Why Do I Try to Control So Much?

Are you the type of person who has to follow a routine all the time? Do you have a desire to control other people? Do you feel the need to be the one to make the decisions, because you feel yours are the best? Control can be defined as the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events. What we each have control over is actually pretty small. You have control over your thinking, behavior, attitude, and the energy you bring to every interaction. Today, we are going discuss tools that could help when we have a need to control. Do you think you have a desire to control more than your own thinking, behavior, attitude or energy?

What are the Signs of Control?

Relationships are hard and can be one area where we see evidence where we are trying to control circumstances or others. If one of people has a desire to control, the relationship can go beyond unhealthy to dangerous. If a person struggles with control, their closest relationships may be the first indicators. Do you relate to any of the following signs of control?

  • Are you unwilling to accept no for an answer
  • Is it your way or no way
  • Are you highly critical
  • Trying to isolate others
  • Manipulating the situation to achieve your goal
  • Unpredictable in the way you will relate to others
  • Using gaslighting
  • Failed relationships
  • Excusing your behavior as “just joking”
  • Trying to make others feel guilty
  • Choosing to not take responsibility for your actions
  • Not respecting others boundaries

If you are relating to any of these, you have control issues. Have you considered talking with someone you trust about your struggle?

What Causes Someone to Control?

The desire to control others and every situation can be created within us many different ways. In all relationships, it is important that each person be themselves, be a healthy and safe partner and each person respect the other person 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 relationship partners. 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. There is help, you are not alone.

How To Stop Controlling Behaviors

Recognizing the need for change is always a good first step in taking action. If we do not see the need for change, we will not change. That is statement that is proven to be true over multiple applications. Once someone recognizes that there is a need for change, help can be right around the corner. Below are some ways to start to identify and work on controlling emotions and behaviors.

  • Identify what is it you are feeling and why
  • Make the choice to better understand why you need to control
  • Accept yourself and other people for who they are
  • Practice stress management techniques regularly
  • Journal what you are experiencing each time you feel the need to control
  • Be intentional about keeping your thoughts positive
  • Talk to someone you trust

Admitting that we may have a problem can be hard. Remember, none of us are perfect and each one of us need to be aware of how we treat others. We have to be willing to recognize our faults and work on becoming healthier.

Have you had multiple relationships fail for the same reasons? Do you have a hard time seeing any fault in yourself, although you have tried different skills to maintain relationships? You are not alone. Upstate Restorative Counseling can help. We have compassion to listen and help you establish steps forward to accomplish your goals.

Is Your Relationship in Trouble?

Is Your Relationship in Trouble?

Written by Ashlee Cantrell.

How Do I Know If My Relationship Is In Trouble?

Being part of a relationship is a beautiful thing. You get to love one another, care for one another, and know that there is someone there to support you. Relationships often bring about an emotional connection to another person of your choosing, which often allows for vulnerability and healing. Whether you’re in a new relationship, a long-term relationship, or married, relationships can be good for the soul when they are healthy. However, some relationships can take a bad turn. There are times when unhealthy habits or hard times can sneak up on people and may cause temporary or permanent damage to a relationship. Is it possible to know ahead of time if your relationship is in trouble? A relationship’s end is rarely as sudden as it may seem. There may be warning signs to look out for. Let’s discuss some.

Warning Signs 

Whether you’re fresh into your relationship or have been with your partner for years, it is always important to be vigilant when your relationship is slipping through the cracks. Some warning signs are obvious, but some are surprising! However, the biggest shocker of all is the weakening or losing of the relationship. While the emotional connection may slowly start to slip away and the relationship satisfaction is eliminated over time, it may become hard to notice how quickly the foundation of the relationship disappears. How can you know for sure if your relationship is in trouble? Let’s go through some warning signs.

  • Communication Issues. Do you and your partner communicate regularly? Do you both understand each other correctly without having to repeat each other? Do you both feel that you are being heard appropriately? Are you both able to communicate without arguing with each other? If you answered No to any of these questions, you   might have an issue with communication.
  • Consistent Criticism. At times partners who struggle get irritated with each other often, leading to criticism forseemingly small things, like personality differences, scheduling disagreements, etc. When the scale of an argument tends to lead out of proportion to the topic at hand, that usually means that there is something underneath the surface being left unsaid. However, this leaves a partner being criticized and hurt.
  • Spending Time Apart. All couples need time apart. However, when couples begin to make excuses to spend time apart, there becomes an issue. Looking for opportunities not to be around a significant other appears to mean that there are issues that an individual would rather ignore or not confront with their partner.
  • Conflict Lacks Resolution. When couples fight, they either fight for themselves or fight for their relationship. Oftentimes couples who are in conflict a lot find themselves lacking resolutions at the end of their fights and turning towards resentment. This could be detrimental to a relationship.
  • No More Fun. Think with me for a second. When was the last time you and your partner went out on a date? When was the last time you and your partner went for a stroll or just did something spontaneous? Having fun is super important to any relationship! However, adding kids, finances and other responsibilities to the mix makes having fun difficult.
  • Personal Resources. When you think of personal resources, you may think of money, availability, energy, affection, and focus. All these things are crucial to making a relationship work and keeping emotional connection intact. Each partner in a relationship becomes responsible for sharing these resources to allow the other to feel valued, supported, and cared for. However, when a relationship begins to slip those resources become sparse as well.
  • No Sex Life. Not every relationship requires the same amount of sex and physical intimacy However, physical contact in the form of affection, sexual interaction, or being near each other is important to many couples. Unless a conversation has been had regarding differences in sexual intimacy or needs, negative changes in a couple’s sex life may be an indication that something is going awry.

Getting Things Back on Track

When your relationship starts to feel as though it may be falling apart, it might be difficult to be honest with yourself about what’s going on. You may not want to talk to your partner out of fear of starting an argument. You may not want to talk to your friends out of fear of making it noticeable. You may feel completely alone and therefore struggle with what to do, where to go, and how to handle this information. You are not alone.

There are some subtle ways to get things back on track at home and strengthen your partnership:

  • First, you must approach each other without blame and with patience. Regardless of how close two people may be, everyone may go through their daily stressors and hardships. Sometimes a partner may not talk about those things, and they can build up over time hurting a relationship.
  • Being gentle and kind with words can be helpful and healing to a relationship when in trouble, rather than using emotions like anger and disappointment at the forefront of conversations.
  • Last, but not least, both partners must be involved in getting their relationship back on track. With this, both partners need to be able to own up to their mistakes and their participation in allowing their relationship to slip through the cracks over time. This may include apologizing to one another, having meaningful and vulnerable conversations with one another, and creating a plan for how they want to move forward with their relationship together.

If you find yourself relating to the information shared above, know that you are not alone and that there are resources available to help you. Upstate Restorative Counseling offers couples counseling services for couples looking to hone in on their communication skills and other relationship-related issues as well as individual counseling for those just looking to chat.

Do I Need Forgiveness?

Do I Need Forgiveness?

Written by Ashlee Cantrell, LPC-A

Last week, we talked about the true meaning of forgiveness. Let’s recap. Forgiveness means letting yourself release the negativity you might hold towards the people who have hurt you, letting go of bitterness and anger, and allowing yourself to feel at peace—regardless of whether the person apologizes or not. Forgiveness may also mean repeating this same process but to yourself, in a self-forgiving manner, by accepting responsibility for your actions and learning from personal mistakes. Overall, we have learned that forgiveness is to help guide us towards a peaceful mindset. But is it completely necessary? Is it possible to live a peaceful life without forgiveness? Well, let’s find out.

How Does This Affect Me?

Depending on what has happened to you past or present, any harmful event can give rise to a potential set of negative emotions and behaviors. This is especially true when the event is triggered by someone special to us, like a family member, a friend, or a loved one. Let’s look at some responses that may occur after a negative event:

  • Emotional/physical pain
  • anger
  • hate
  • hurt
  • trauma
  • resentment
  • bitterness

At times, these symptoms can be the starting points to much more serious ailments such as depression, anxiety, and other health issues. Can you think of any other symptoms that can occur for dealing with pain? Maybe we can discuss it together. If you were able to recognize any of these responses in yourself, don’t worry! Change is possible. Recognition is a positive step towards recognizing a need for peace. We must recognize when it is time to step away from negativity in life and, instead, step towards healthy connections. A healthy first step in this process is forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of the hardest tasks to accomplish, but it is one of the most freeing and beneficial skills to have. Last week, we discussed how to accomplish this skill but what are the benefits? Let’s talk about it!

  • Healthier relationships
  • Improved stress
  • Improved hostility levels
  • Decreased depression
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Better mental health
  • Living in the present
  • Improved health
  • Freedom

What is Stopping Me?

At this point, we know what forgiveness means, we know how to forgive in theory, and we know the risks and the benefits. However, there may be a feeling deep inside telling you that forgiveness is just not the answer. Why? Let’s take a quick history lesson. In AD 590, Pope Gregory I of the Catholic faith revised a list of what we now know to be the “seven deadly sins.” Of that list, three “sins” are most often seen in individuals who have difficulty using forgiveness in their everyday lives; these “sins” are labeled as “wrath,” “envy,” and “pride.” Wrath is described as feelings of anger, rage, and sometimes hatred. At times, wrath reveals itself by the need or wish to seek vengeance or cause harm to others. Envy is described as feelings of sadness or resentfulness towards the traits or possessions of another. Oftentimes, envy can lead to unhappiness in the perpetrator, providing the urge to inflict harm onto others, revenge-like activities, and hatred of another. Pride is described as excessively or obsessively connected to the self and the ego. Oftentimes this can lead to selfishness, lack of healthy connections with others, self-righteousness, and sometimes narcissism. Do you resonate with any of these? Each of these characteristics may cause issues when forgiveness is brought up. Because of this, it is important that we allow each person to feel safe and process their feelings appropriately without judgment.

So, Where Do I Start?

If you were able to recognize any personal connection to the information above or want to learn more about how to forgive, you are on the path to becoming free. Recognizing your need for peace and making the decision to forgive is the first step. Whether you are making the decision to forgive a family member, a friend, or even yourself, choosing to take that first step will lead you in a positive direction. As mentioned previously, learning the process of forgiveness is a difficult task to go it alone. Well, you’re not alone and you don’t have to be. Upstate Restorative Counseling has created a counseling group specifically to help adults (18+) just like you who struggle with forgiveness and finding inner peace. Our group, called FREEd and Forgiven, is a 6-week processing group that helps with a basic understanding of forgiveness, and how to practice forgiveness based on Ripley and Worthington’s (2014) forgiveness and reconciliation through experiencing empathy (FREE) model. More information to come. **

Forgiveness is a touchy subject, but not impossible. Regardless of what triggers you, scares you, or runs you away from the idea of forgiveness, know that there is the comfort of wellness and you do not have to do it alone. If there is hope in you that forgiveness is possible, join us for our counseling group at Upstate Restorative Counseling. If group counseling is not your cup of tea but you still seek professional help, URC is still here for you!

Is Forgiveness the Answer?

Is Forgiveness the Answer?

Written by Ashlee Cantrell, LPC-A

There are many scenarios where people are hurt by the ones they love. For example, friends hurt each other, parents leave their children at young ages, partners commit adultery, violence occurs within many homes, and so much more. Imagine one scenario where you were hurt by someone you loved or who was supposed to love you. Now, imagine an alternative scenario where the person who hurt you asked for your forgiveness. Would you be able to forgive them? Unfortunately, this happens every day; people get hurt by others, and whether by guilt or to solve conflict, they attempt to come back and beg for forgiveness. So, what would you do? Let’s find out if forgiveness is the answer.

What is Forgiveness?

When people talk about forgiveness, it can sound scary and impossible. As children, we were taught that saying “I forgive you” was the answer to solving conflict and fixing a relationship. However, as we have grown, the purpose of forgiveness has developed a much deeper meaning. Forgiveness means allowing yourself to release any negative emotions, letting go of bitterness and anger, and moving towards the freedom to feel at peace with your memories of the event, the person, and with yourself—regardless of whether the person acknowledges their wrongdoing or apologizes. As adults, forgiveness means relinquishing yourself from allowing others to affect you negatively. Now, let’s pause. Is this even possible? Well, let’s see. Forgiveness requires a complex set of skills that involves these four tasks:

  • deciding to forgive
  • acknowledging the event, the person, and the relationship through discussion
  • removing negative emotions and processing memories of the event through detoxification
  • learning how to move forward and finding peace

These four tasks are crucial in allowing the process of forgiveness to set in place. Oftentimes without forgiveness, people are not given the option to move forward. With this, they do not get the opportunity to let go. We have all heard the phrase: “forgive and forget.” This is a common misconception. In actuality, the purpose of forgiveness is to allow a person to let go of the pain that was done to them or to let go of the person that caused them pain so that they can live their life in peace. So, that person in your mind that you’ve been thinking of while you’ve been reading this? YES, that one! Was it someone close to you? Is it you?

Self-Forgiveness, What is That?

Forgiving yourself is very similar to forgiving others, but sometimes it can be more difficult. It may be easier to acknowledge that other people make mistakes and to have sympathy. However, you may be much harder and less generous to yourself. Therefore, learning how to forgive yourself is crucial for your well-being and mental health. Self-forgiveness is not a “get out of jail” free card, but rather a way to allow yourself to accept responsibility for your actions and to learn from your mistakes for the purpose of growth and a peaceful mindset. In order to forgive yourself, you should:

  • Accept responsibility for your actions
  • Treat yourself with kindness and empathy
  • Process your emotions
  • Make amends and apologize
  • Look for ways to learn from the event
  • Focus on making better choices in the future

 

 

Now that we know what self-forgiveness looks like, can you learn how to forgive yourself using our four steps to forgiveness? Absolutely! Let’s try.

  1. Making the decision to forgive yourself = accepting responsibility for your actions
  2. Discussing the event/person/relationship = discussing the event, processing emotions, learning from the event
  3. Detoxify the negative emotions from the event = processing emotions, personal kindness, and compassion
  4. Devote yourself to moving forward and finding peace = personal kindness and compassion, make amends and apologize, focus on making better future choices

Taking the First Step

To make things seem a little easier, let’s break it down. By now, you’ve acknowledged that someone, or even maybe yourself, has been holding you back from enjoying a peaceful mindset.

You are not alone. Upstate Restorative Counseling has created a counseling group specifically to help adults (18+) just like you who struggle with forgiveness and finding inner peace. Our group, called FREEd and Forgiven, is a 6-week processing group that helps with a basic understanding of forgiveness, and how to practice forgiveness based on Ripley and Worthington’s (2014) forgiveness and reconciliation through experiencing empathy (FREE) model. More information to come. **

At the beginning of the post, you were asked if you believe it to be possible for you to forgive the person who hurt you. After reading this post, does your answer remain the same? If there is hope in you that forgiveness is possible, join us for our counseling group at Upstate Restorative Counseling. If group counseling is not your cup of tea but you still seek professional help, URC is still here for you!

 

 

Rest & Unwind

Rest & Unwind

Finding time to rest and unwind, especially when life is busy, is important. When we operate in a high stress go mode, our body and mind doesn’t function at it’s best. Over time, we can even start to experience the stress and wear and tear from no rest or time to unwind. Did you know that while we rest our body heals itself physically, emotionally and mentally. This improves our overall well-being. Today we are just going to talk about ways to rest and unwind. Do you include time for yourself in your schedule?

What do You Enjoy?

Finding activities and rest methods that you enjoy that excite and encourage you. We can benefit from activities and movement and rest, but if it is something we truly enjoy, it benefits us more mentally. Having the discipline to include rest and unwinding in your week can improve your quality of life over time. Did you know that allowing time for your body to recover physically and mentally can also improve your relationships? Study show that our closest relationships struggle the most when we are under stress. Could you use some ideas for resting and unwinding?

Ways to Rest & Unwind.

When you enter into time for you, it might be helpful to exhale, take a deep breath and allow your thoughts to come to a soothing positive thought. When you are feeling ready to, you can try one of the methods below.

  • Take a 20 minute nap
  • Climb or take a walk
  • Make something
  • Enjoy a bath
  • Visualize what you cannot control and let it go
  • Journal your thoughts or feelings getting them out helps
  • Listen to music you enjoy
  • Exercise
  • Get a massage
  • Get out in nature
  • Schedule time with someone you enjoy
  • Take a class and learn something new
  • Read something enjoyable
  • Think of and write out the things you are grateful for
  • Enjoy some tea
  • Do you like dark chocolate? Enjoy a piece.
  • Keep a regular sleep routine with ample hours each night

Learning ways to relax and unwind that you enjoy are important in maintaining a balanced life. We need the space and time that allows our bodies healing. Will you add some you time to your calendar this week? What will you start with? If you have tried to incorporate methods into your life to reduce stress and help you enjoy but feel they aren’t enough or don’t work for you, we are here for you. Contact us today.