26 Body Language Signs Of Controlling People

body language signs controlling people

Controlling people have dominant personalities. They usually display a body language of dominance to appear superior and in control. However, their movements tend to communicate impatience, tension, and anxiety.

Body Language Of Controlling People

A dominant and controlling body language is usually adopted by an individual who wants to be perceived as being in charge. It refers to how they use their body to intimidate others and show that they are in control of the situation. However, a person displaying non-verbal signs of domination may often not be consciously aware of such behavior.

It can often occur unconsciously due to their dominant and controlling personality. But some people may intentionally behave in a controlling manner and send dominant signals to intimidate and influence someone’s behavior and mindset.

Related: The Myth of Using Explaining and Defending As Viable Forms of Control

26 Body Language Signs Of Controlling People
26 Body Language Signs Of Controlling People

Power Struggles In Relationships

Power and control enable us to influence someone’s behavior. Although power struggles in relationships are normal, insecure people with low self-esteem can often become controlling after the initial phase of their relationship. This allows them to boost their feeble egos and poor self-esteem. Controlling people can often have aggressive body language that may lack any positive emotions. As they may feel insecure or threatened by others’ social status, a person may appear compelling, intimidating, and controlling to assert their dominance in a relationship.

However, this is mostly seen in relationships where both partners have equal power. As dominating and controlling behavior is associated with power, people with the least or greatest power do not usually feel the need to appear dominant.

This is why it is crucial that you identify controlling behavior in relationships early on. Insecurity and unhealthy display of superiority can not only make the relationship unhealthy, but it can lead to a negative and toxic experience for both partners leading to the end of the relationship.

Related: 4 Ways a Controlling Partner Damages A Relationship

Identifying Dominant Body Language

Although you can easily notice the body language of a controlling person, some can be rather subtle and can be less obvious. As we mostly communicate and convey messages through nonverbal communication, understanding their body language can help us understand them better. However, most of us are unaware of the messages we deliver with our body language and, thus, these tend to be a more genuine representation of our thoughts and emotions.

Every posture and gesture can reveal what we are thinking and feeling. You can clearly understand what someone is trying to tell you simply by observing their body language rather than simply listening to them. For people engaging in controlling behavior, their need for dominance is often noticeable in their bodies. And this becomes even more obvious when they are anxious or find themselves in scenarios they cannot control.

What Is The Body Language Of Controlling People? 

body language controlling people signs dominance infographic
26 Body Language Signs Of Controlling People

Here are some of the most common body language signals of controlling people that you should watch out for:

1. Stiff facial expressions

Controlling people use certain facial expressions to show dominance over others, especially in relationships. When we communicate in an honest and spontaneous manner, our body language and gestures are usually relaxed. We tend to smile from time to time and our facial expressions add to the sincerity of our words.

However, when controlling people communicate, they lack genuine emotions. Either their expressions will not accompany their words or they will remain blank or stiff. They may use inappropriate and impersonal gestures. They desperately try to control their gesture and communication to show they are in charge.

Dominating people also tend to stare. An article in Exploring Your Mind explains, “They fix their gaze on someone and don’t even blink sometimes. It’s a way of intimidating the person they’re talking to.” This is usually done to either challenge the other person or to assert their power over others.

Related: Understanding The Power And Control Wheel For Child Abuse

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