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Subtly Controlling Behaviors

- Excessive talking

- Being nice to create a sense of obligation or guilt

- Invoking urgency when it is not urgent

- Never being understood despite listeners best efforts

- Witholding affection and attention

- Using silence to drive the other to question thier actions

- Acting unhappy until others guess what they want

- Keeping others busy defending themselves, rather than attending their side of the story

- Asking for an opinion and responding to the answer as if it was a personal attack

- Toxic Delegation

- Asking questions to invalidate the other

- Black & white statements to block meaningful disscussion

- Never agreeing

- Pretending to not understand and implying the other's thinking is disorganized or incoherent

- Abusing truisms ("everyone makes mistakes")

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Any person of any age, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status can be controlling in relationships. Many of us imagine a controlling person as someone who openly criticizes and threatens others in their path. And although bullying or ongoing belittling are signs of misuse of power, the more subtle signs of controlling behaviors described above are important to look out for and address early on.

🚨Early detection can benefit not only the person being controlled, but the person doing the controlling.


Often times, controlling behavior stems from a place of deep fear or shame, rather than malice. Some people experience significant emotionally fragility and heightened vulnerability when they perceive OR experience rejection of some type. In some instances, these individuals have developed Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD). Here, the person responds extremely negatively to the perception of being rejected, judged, excluded, critiqued: It goes far beyond the discomfort most of us experience. If left untreated, it worsens and many people, including the individual, will get hurt.


So, if you have detected someone you love that struggles with “a need for control”, empathy, anger, or respecting your side of the story — speak up about it and seek support. Feel free to message me for recommendations



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