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When your Partner is a Control Freak - Dealing with Someone Controlling
One of the most trying situations in a relationship occurs when your partner wishes to control every aspect of your life. If you find your partner determining what you should do, whom you should not meet, even what you should wear and think, you know you have a problem at hand. Here are a few things you can do when your partner is a control freak.
- Understand that it is not about you.
Control freaks are extremely clever and adept at manipulating people and situations to fall in with their wishes. If your partner is one, then most likely you have been brainwashed into believing that you are incapable of thinking or doing anything right on your own and that the only way to do a thing is to do it their way. You may have acceded to your partner’s wishes a few times in the past just to avoid any unpleasantness. But your partner will point this out to you as evidence of your own weakness and continue to bully you to act in accordance with their wishes. So the first step in dealing with a control freak is to understand that you are not weak and incapable. The very fact that you have sensed that something is wrong means your faculties and intelligence are fine and not matter how much your partner bullies you into thinking that you are helpless without them, it is not so.
- Beware of a two-faced personality.
A control freak lives two different lies – on the outside they are hugely social people, popular and vivacious in company while only those who know them well are familiar with the aggressive and hurtful nature that lies beneath the surface. This is one of the reasons why your friends and family may not understand your unhappiness in such a relationship and on the contrary praise your partner for the caring person he/she is. Indeed this two-faced mask suits your partner fine since they can use it convince you that nobody else has a problem with who they are and so things are as they should be.
- Have a discussion.
Though experts believe that a controlling behavior is part of a dysfunctional personality, if your partner has just begun to show such signs, perhaps there is still time to work things out. Ask your partner if you can have a talk at a time and place of their convenience. And when you have got their attention, point out how their desire to control your life and choices is no longer letting you be the person they fell in love with in the first place. You can bring up example like the time your boyfriend asked you to wear a different dress as you were getting ready to go out or when your girlfriend stopped you from meeting your football buddies because she doesn’t like the gang. As long as the issues fretting your control freak of a partner are still minor, you can take a shot at a reasonable, level-headed discussion.
- Stand up for yourself.
However the thing with control freaks is they are likely to take your good nature for weakness. You may give in a couple of times to unreasonable demands like not ever having pasta for dinner or refusing to ask your folks over for a Sunday lunch. But once you start giving in to take the easy way out, a controlling partner only gets more confident and expert at imposing their wishes on you. Here the only way out is to stand up for yourself. If you think that there is a chance that your partner may still want this relationship to work out in a healthy way, let them know that while you love them very much, you will not tolerate any more bullying. Your wishes and needs are equally important and they will have to learn to respect them if you are going to be together. You may need to establish clear boundaries on what sort of behavior is and is not acceptable. If you find your partner at least willing to listen, help the process along by being more specific like what sort of personal liberties you expect and what kinds of responsibilities you want to handle on your own. This may be easier said than done since a control freak may have induced such fear and anxiety in you over time that you may no longer believe in your ability to make a difference. However you should realize that no matter how many times you give in to your partner’s wishes and how understanding you try to be, unless you do something to defend your own self-worth and self-respect, no one else will.
- Prepare ahead.
Unfortunately people trapped in long term relationships with controlling partners usually have had their independence and resources taken away from them early on so that they no longer have the courage to strike out on their own. A woman who may have succumbed to a whirlwind romance and quick marriage to a control freak may find herself a stay-at-home mom, unable to break out from an unhappy marriage due to lack of financial resources. If ever she gets the courage to express her misery, her husband may blackmail her into staying because of the kids or threaten to leave her without any money. Here the best way to go about it is to prepare yourself financially and emotionally to lead an independent life and then face your partner and force him to call his bluff.
- Go for counseling.
If you really wish to make your relationship work, you may need to seek professional counseling, preferably with your partner or even by yourself. This is because a severe controlling behavior is a sign of a psychological condition and this is not something that you may be able to repair on your own. Even so, sometimes the only way to deal with a controlling partner is to opt out of the relationship. Control freaks seek to impose their wishes on people and situations around them usually because somehow they lack control over a vital aspect of their own life. They may be suffering from deep-seated insecurities, in the grip of a devastating habit or unable to cope with work or financial pressures. Determining the lives of others gives them an illusion of a sense of control without which they cannot feel good about themselves.
Control freaks are of all sorts and degrees. While a few may have the potential to wreck your sanity and self-worth, many of them may do little more than exercise their opinion on why you should avoid a certain food or dress. Finally it is your call on whether you choose to try and work things out or leave an overbearing, controlling partner.