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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.