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Learn what causes a controlling relationship, how to recognize the signs you're in one and what to do about it.

Signs Of A Controlling Relationship

We've all experienced one type of controlling relationship or another.  Sometimes, though, the control goes too far, and one person begins to feel manipulated or intimidated.  In these cases, it's good to understand how to manage your side of the relationship and turn it around.  That's what this article is all about.

Many Types Of Controlling Relationships:  Normal controlling relationships are by choice or necessity.  It's necessary to be in control of your infant or toddler, for instance.  True harm comes when a parent fails to exercise that control.  People choose to be controlled by their employers, even when they think the boss is wrong.  That's an economic choice!  Normal controlling relationships exist in schools and churches, even in government.  What we're going to concentrate on are the abnormal controlling relationships, and what to do about them.

Signs Control Has Gone Too Far:  Everywhere normal controlling relationships exist, abnormal control is possible.  Some people just can't tell the difference.  There's the controlling pastor who goes so far as to tell people who they can marry.  Everyone has met at least one government autocrat who uses his tiny cubicle to terrorize anyone unfortunate enough to need his signature.  These are so obvious as to be clich√©.  What are the signs, though, when what you thought was a normal relationship, becomes controlling?

The controllers rarely know!  They're operating from a deep need to lord it over others based in things they're often unaware of.  It could be a small man trying to compensate for his size, or someone who was an abandoned child needing to have people beholding to him.  The fact is, controllers feel so intensely inadequate, the only way they approach "normal" in their minds is to be in charge of everything and everyone.  There is nothing more threatening to them than a differing opinion.  They will control with whatever tools they can find.  The usual tools are authority, age, intimidation, relationship, threat, manipulation, money, or political influence.

The signs that someone is trying to control you are pretty simple.  Basically, do they accept and respect your decision or do they use one of the tools above to change your mind?  Maybe you don't notice it at first, but you find yourself trying to twist and rationalize yourself away from what you think in order to accommodate the controller.  Controllers use the fact that everyone wants to get along, to pressure people into going along with them, when they don't agree.  Sometimes you know you're in a controlling relationship when you hesitate to offer your opinion for fear of a controversy..."better let the controller speak and avoid trouble."  Generally, the greater fear the controlee has, the more threatening and bullying the controller is.  This can quickly grow into abuse as one becomes too timid to do or say anything but what the other wants.  These kinds of relationships are most common between spouses or parents and children.

Two Sides of A Controlling Relationship:  Even in family relationships where one person seeks to dominate, there are always two sides to the controlling relationship.  Small children have no choice at first, but as they grow, they need to assert themselves and face their fears or they will suffer and struggle their whole lives.  Bullies will continue until someone faces them down.  I was 18 until I finally faced down my abusive father.  Afterwards, he was docile and even friendly toward me.  In a marriage, if one person is allowed to control everything, there is no way love can grow.  The relationship will become abusive or the controlee, seeing no other recourse, will leave, to the great surprise of the controller, who thought the relationship was near perfect.  The fact is, the controlees have more power than they're willing to use.

How To Turn It Around:  The controlees, in fact, have all the power.  Remember that people are controllers to compensate for a feeling of inadequacy.  Once the controlee understands this, it can be a powerful tool to keep from being controlled.  Now, you're not fooling me...some of you want to be controlled to avoid responsibility for your own decisions, but you're not who this article is for.  For those who want to end this form of psychological imprisonment, you can.  Just say no, calmly, consistently, uncompromisingly, no!  At times when you agree, agree, but NEVER change your mind in the face of any kind of pressure. 

If the controller continues and increases the pressure, let him know you feel he doesn't respect you or your opinion.  If your controller keeps on, let him know, if he doesn't change the way he behaves, you'll have to end the relationship.  You can't compromise with a controller...all you can do is submit.  I suspect, if you wanted to continue doing that, you wouldn't have read this far.  Frankly, if these tactics don't change the behavior of the controller in your life, the only thing you can do is put the controller out of your life.  Frankly, if these tactics don't change the controller in your life, you were never important to that controller...just a placeholder for them to assert their need to dominate.  Get away, stay away, and work to build your self-esteem so no one can put you in that position again.

I want you to know there is someone who can help, who loves you and wants only the best for you.  That someone is God.  If you want help from God, just click on Help Me God.

What signs are you seeing?

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