In life it’s not uncommon to have times where we feel someone else has control of our actions, our needs or our direction. It could be in a work situation; it may have to do with family dynamics; or it could be active in a friendship. Let’s face it, we all have our own agendas and some of us are stronger at putting our wishes, thoughts and feelings forward compared to others. Equally too, some personality types are not natural decision makers. They are happy to go with the flow and whilst it may look as if they are bowing to someone’s wishes all of the time it may simply be that they don’t honestly care or feel strongly one way or the other.
Being an accommodating person is a wonderful trait but sadly it does leave you wide open to manipulation and control. This manipulation or control usually starts out small but escalates as the person realizes how far they can push you. Have you ever had a friend that regularly comes out without their wallet or borrows money from you and never pays you back? Bam! That’s how it all starts… you being the considerate friend would never see them go without so you buy the coffee or pay for the car parking or whatever is required. However soon you realize that you are the one always buying the takeaways or the meal out because you never make a scene and don’t like putting people in awkward situations. Or, maybe you have a friend that always makes the decisions around what you are doing when you catch up regardless of what you may want to do.
How does this control effect relationships?
Fast forward now to relationships… how does control factor into a relationship? Again as with the friendship it starts out slow and the controller tests the waters to see how far you will be pushed. It’s a bit like the boiled frog scenario… if you put a frog into a pot of hot water it will jump out. However, if you put it in cold water and boil it slowly it will not notice the subtle changes in temperature until it’s too late. The more you willingly accept the more the control will escalate.
So, how does this control start out?
First you are love bombed. By love bombing I mean you experience a relationship with a partner that wants to be with you or communicating with you every waking moment. Now initially you may think this is rather flattering. You think you have finally found Mr Right. He’s saying all the right things. He’s making plans. He wants to introduce you to family and friends and he texts or phones multiple times a day. Gosh he might even be planning holidays with you. Your old life seems to have faded into the background and everything now centers around you and him.
When does this control get out of hand?
You may not have noticed but slowly with all of this very flattering attention you are being moved from your old life, your old friends and all of what you know and feel comfortable with to his life, his friends and his agenda. Now that you are ensconced in this lovely comfortable relationship where you think you are adored and loved it’s harder to argue with the control. If you do you will likely be greeted with the sulks or the cold shoulder. Suddenly you will feel like you are dating a sulky, spiteful 5 year old.
I learned a little late in life that in a relationship you are equally responsible for it’s demise for accepting bad behavior and not calling your partner on it. Setting boundaries and being willing to act on them is vital for a healthy and happy relationship that will endure. Trying to simply brush bad and/or controlling behavior under the rug just feeds the monster.
On our Love Girl Talk Forum I constantly answer posts from wonderful ladies that have endured or are right in the thick of this very problem. Learning how to be your own person is the key to not succumbing to controlling personalities. Also, being able to identify and understand a controlling personality type will help you make healthier decisions in every area of relationships.