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How to Cope With a Controlling Person

It is not easy to deal with or cope with a controlling person. And it is, especially, not easy to cope with it being someone that you care about. Nevertheless, a person should not be completely blinded by love. No one deserves or wants to be controlled. If they do, they may have issues that they need to deal with. In life you'll come across quite a few controlling people. However, try hard not to let that stop you from carrying on and just being yourself. Let people see you for who you are on the inside, rather than deciding based on what is shown on the outside. Maybe this article will help others to cope with controlling people. There are a lot of them out there. And although nobody has all the answers on how to deal with them, some people have managed to cope with the ones that they have run across. Understand that 'Controlling person' is a code for 'Codependent person', and coping with people with this prevalent disease can be virtually impossible- 'controlling' today will just most likely morph into some other Codependent behavior tomorrow, i.e. 'manipulative', 'bullying', or other 'aggressive' behaviors, or 'passive' equivalents. Read 'Codependent No More', a seminal work on the subject, or seek other resources, such as a Coda meeting, for more information.


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    Recognize that you are dealing with a controlling person in order to combat his or her position because they want to be able to take control of you.
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    Stand firm on the fact that you are not going to be controlled.
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    Work together. In any relationship or marriage, cooperation is vitally important. That does not mean that either person is lord and master, nor should either of you want to be. It doesn't help in building a strong relationship.
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    Point out to the controlling person that their ways are stressing you out or making you feel uncomfortable.
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    Let them know that you don't need another parent, that you have parents already.
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    Reassert the fact that you are not a child, and that being individual and responsible for one's own decisions is what adulthood is all about.
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    Stay away from their obviously blind arguments. By engaging in an argument that's obviously silly, you give their sometimes ridiculous statements validity. Reply with "Nonsense!"[1]
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    Be strong so their problem doesn't become yours.
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    Realize that you are not the one with the problem, you are making an effort to communicate your feelings in the hopes of facilitating a response in your favor.
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    Do the things that you enjoy even if the controlling person you care for is not supportive as you do them. (Withdrawing their support is a way to discourage you from doing things without him or her, reinforcing the sense that you need this person in order to have an enjoyable time, rather than the healthier sense of just wanting to share things with him or her).
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    Spend as much time as you can away from controlling people, for you'll need that break.
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    If you have made plans, don't let someone else cause you to break them.
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    Pat yourself on the back by letting a controlling person know about the good decisions that you make for yourself.
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    Leaving the room may be best if you are getting nowhere in a conversation. Do not resort to sarcasm or play into their game. Maintain your own dignity.
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    Remember that in conflicted conversations, the controlling person will likely become very manipulative and turn things around to the conflict being your fault and will try to gain your sympathy by crying or changing the subject to something entirely different from the subject at hand. Try to stay focused and tell them to stay on the subject at hand. If he or she persists, say that you will return to the new discussion at a later time, and refocus them on the immediate problem. If that doesn't work, end the conversation immediately. Controlling people often try to escalate or prolong conflicts because it seems to have the effect of wearing you down so that they get their way in the end. It's better to end the conflict abruptly, because this is one you will not win.
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    If the controller is your mother or father, you must show them that you're the bigger person and cannot be pulled by strings. Don't fall into their trap of making you less confident in yourself so that they can control you, and do not be afraid to go against their opinions. For example, oftentimes parents who are controlling will make bad remarks about someone that you like or know. Stand up for them because it's wrong for them to say things like that. Also, if they abuse you, tell somebody else that you trust.


  • Don't let someone else tell you how to manage or spend your own money, unless you have hired someone to manage it. In a marriage, both partners should be deciding equally how money is allocated, and this is always negotiable.
  • Be honest with yourself and do what is right for you and makes you happy. Don't let someone else control you!
  • Don't allow anyone to talk down to you, for it is degrading and a form of mind control.
  • Stay focused on positive things, for it will help you cope.
  • Don't let someone else live your life for you, manage it yourself.
  • Do remember that it is within your power to set the boundaries on your relationship. If you set a tone that allows another to control you, it can be very difficult to get a partner who has been accustomed to getting his or her way with you to understand that you now wish to make your own decisions. If you set a healthy, autonomous tone in the beginning, your relationship with this person will go much smoother.
  • Leave your mate a simple note on your whereabouts, but don't act like you have to punch in on a time clock. Your obligation is to be considerate and responsible so that your loved one doesn't worry needlessly, but you are an adult and should be able to come and go as you please within reasonable limits.


  • A controlling person appears to be charming,tolerant,and easy-going around other people. But with you they are impatient and a tyrant. So watch out for those signs.
  • Not everyone can cope with certain types of people. So use your own judgment on the course of action that you should take.
  • Controlling and/or manipulative relationships can be managed sometimes; however, if you're not successful in resisting control, or if the individual is extremely strong-willed and persistent, these relationships can be very destructive to your other relationships with family and friends.
  • Don't let friends and family guilt trip you back into making contact with the person. Do not get into a discussion with them about this.

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Categories: Managing Conflict and Difficult Interactions