Solving the Problem of Controlling People

 / 

, ,
Solving Problem Controlling People

Are there controlling people in your life who like to boss you around? Perhaps it’s your manager or your partner or your son or daughter. Maybe a friend, a sibling, or a parent. Whoever you are, it’s likely to be the case that, from time to time, you’re irritated by other people telling you what to do.

It’s also just as likely, however, that being told what to do by others isn’t always annoying. If while eating dinner, you hear, “Would you pass the salt please, honey?” you’ll probably reach out your arm and move the salt in the desired direction without a second thought.

Why are some situations troublesome in that controlling way and others are not? What is the irksome aspect of being controlled by other people?

Imagine how great life would be if you could prevent this botheration from occurring or eliminate it swiftly when it did occur.

Before any problem can be solved, it’s important to understand what the problem of controlling people is. So, what’s the problem with people telling you what to do? And, more fundamentally, what does it mean to say that one person is controlling another person?

If we deal with the second question first, the first question might be easier to answer. We could probably agree that being controlled by another person is the situation that occurs when you do things according to another person’s instruction or request that you wouldn’t have done in the absence of the other person’s call. This definition, however, immediately raises a problem.

Related: 4 Hidden Ways a Controlling Personality Undermines A Relationship

According to this definition, you are being just as controlled when you absentmindedly pass the salt as you are when your boss “makes” you stay back late to finish a report.

The problem is that one situation feels like you’re being controlled, but the other doesn’t. Nevertheless, in both situations, you only acted a certain way because another person requested that you do so.

So, why do the two situations seem so different?

The distinction is crucial and gets to the heart of the problem of controlling people. With the “pass the salt” situation, you want to pass the salt, because you want to be kind and helpful to your partner, you want a sense of closeness in your relationship, and so on.

With the “working late” scenario, however, you don’t want to stay back late. You want to be at home having a family dinner or just taking it easy with a glass of wine or watching your favorite TV show.

How does it happen, then, that you’ve ended up somewhere you don’t want to be? The simplest explanation, unless you’re chained to your desk, is that as much as you don’t want to be at work, you also do want to be at work.

Related: 6 Signs Your Partner Isn’t Infatuated or in Love But is Obsessed And Emotionally Abusive

You’re staying late because your boss told you to, but that’s only half the story. The other half of the story is that you’re staying late because you want this job. You need to keep this job to pay the bills and put food on the table. You also think you might have a chance at a promotion in the next couple of months, so you want your boss to think well of you.

If you had as much money as you needed and weren’t concerned about the opinion your boss had of you, then it would be much less likely that you would conform to your boss’s demands.

Suppose that the next time you pop into the corner store to buy some milk on the way home, the guy behind the counter says, “Pick up that broom and sweep out the store before I sell you the milk.” Can you see yourself sweeping out the store? Maybe not.

Why? Well, you probably don’t care what the guy behind the counter thinks of you, and there are lots of other places to buy milk.

Three situations can arise, then, when another person tells you what to do:

1. You don’t want to do it, and you don’t do it (sweeping out the store).

2. You do want to do it, and you do it (passing the salt).

3. You both don’t want to do it and do want to do it at the same time (staying late at work).

It’s the third situation that is the most problematic. The trouble with the third situation is that it puts you in conflict with yourself.

There has certainly been a directive from another person, but it’s your goal to maintain some kind of relationship with the deliverer of the directive, along with your goal to do something different, that has engaged you in your own private war.

So, controlling people (which all of us can be, by the way) are only problematic when we become conflicted about both wanting and not wanting to do what they have told us to do.

Related: 9 Types of Toxic People That Will Drain Your Energy: You Must Avoid

The good news is that because the problem is our own internal conflict, we have a chance to do something about it.

We’ll probably never be able to stop other people telling us what to do, but we do have the ability to think about which goals are important to us at any point in time.

So, staying late at work could be seen as an exercise in improving one’s chance at promotion. Rather than feeling like your goal of “taking it easy with a glass of wine” is being stymied, you could see yourself as pursuing your promotion goal instead.

It does require some flexible thinking, as well as practice, to be able to step back and find the more important goal, but it’s a surefire way of minimizing the impact of those (other) controlling people.

The idea for this post came out of a conversation with a friend and colleague, Rick Marken. If you like these ideas, Rick and I have written a book about them called Controlling People.


Written by Tim Carey Ph.D.
Originally appeared on Psychology Today
Reprinted with permission from the author


Solving the Problem of Controlling People
Solving the Problem of Controlling People
Solving-the-Problem-of-Controlling-People-Pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

JOMO Vs FOMO: How to Stop Worrying About Missing Out And Start Enjoying the Present

JOMO Vs FOMO: Benefits And Disadvantages To Know

Are you ready to explore the psychological battle of JOMO VS FOMO? We’ll be diving into the two sides of social connectivity and the importance of solitude.

Ever hopped on your phone and instantly felt envy? You scroll through your social media feeds and see friends having the time of their lives, while you sit at home doing nothing.

It’s what psychologists call FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out), a condition many people are familiar with in our age of smartphones. But could there be a healthier alternative? Say hello to JOMO (the Joy Of Missing Out).

What Is JOMO vs FOMO



Up Next

12 Surprising Benefits Of Talking To Yourself Every Day: Tuning Into Self-Talk, Unapologetically!

Amazing Benefits of Talking to Yourself

Ever talked to yourself? Ever told yourself whether you are right or wrong? Ever gave yourself some much-needed advice? Of course, you have. Most of us talk to ourselves as self-talk is one of the best ways to reflect and gain clarity. But are there any benefits of talking to yourself?

Perhaps you’ve whispered words of encouragement before a big presentation or voiced out your thoughts while working through a challenging problem. It is always fun to talk to the most captivating person in the room – yourself! 

You trust yourself, you always have your best interests at heart and you always keep your own secrets. Talking to yourself is undoubtedly the best conversation you will ever have. But is self-talk a bit weird? Or is it actually good for you?

Yes, it might seem a



Up Next

How To Deal With Nosy People? 8 Ways To Handle Intrusive People

How To Deal With Nosy People? Effective Approaches

Are you tired of dealing with nosy people who always seem to pry into your business and personal matters? No matter how hard you try, they always seem to have their nose in your private matters? Well, I have some good news for you. Today, we are going to talk about how to deal with nosy people, and also the signs of nosy people.

I’m going to give you some golden solutions to navigate such sticky situations. Whether it’s your nosy neighbor, your overly inquisitive co-worker, or even that pesky relative who just stop asking personal questions, I’ve got your back.

So, let’s explore how to spot nosy behaviors and how to deal with nosy people. First, let’s talk about the signs of nosy people.

Related



Up Next

4 Ways To Find Greater Fulfillment In Life

Finding Greater Fulfillment In Life: Ways To Achieve That

Living a fulfilling and purposeful life is one of the most underrated mindsets and skills to have. But what are the best ways you can go about finding fulfillment in life? Let’s find out, shall we?

Søren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher, theologian, and poet is considered by many to be the father of existentialism.

His work focuses on individual experience and the importance of personal choice and commitment, and his philosophy offers insights into living authentically and finding fulfillment amidst the distractions and pressures of the modern world.

In the course of Kierkegaard’s writings, instructive themes emerge for how to navigate life’s complexities with integrity and purpose. Here are four.



Up Next

How To Make Right Decisions: 10 Proven Decision Making Tips You Can’t Afford To Miss

How to Make Right Decisions: Best Decision Making Tips

Have you ever found yourself standing at a crossroads, unsure of which path to take? Trust me, we’ve all been there! Life is full of decisions, big and small, that shape our journey and define who we are. This is why it’s crucial that we learn how to make right decisions.

Scratching your head about making a life-altering decision? Life loves throwing us curve-balls and forcing us to make decisions. Whether it’s choosing a career path, making a major purchase, or deciding on a life partner, the ability to make right decisions is an invaluable skill.

So let’s explore what is decision making and delve into some amazing decision making tips that will help you be a better decision maker. These practical insights help you navigate life’s crossroads with confidence and clarity.



Up Next

8 Things To Never Do In The Morning After Waking Up

Things To Never Do In The Morning After Waking Up

Mornings can be a battlefield, especially when the alarm clock rudely interrupts your dreams of tropical beaches and unlimited snooze buttons. But here’s the deal: there are certain things to never do, once you’ve woken up. Trust me, I’ve made my fair share of morning blunders.

Picture this: stumbling around and extremely groggy, you are reaching for that tempting snooze button like it’s your lifeline, only to realize that you’ve wasted precious time and now you are running late for work and household chores.

If you relate to this scenario, then it’s high time you ditch those toxic morning habits and practice some healthy ones. So, grab your coffee and read on to know about eight things to never do after you wake up in the morning.



Up Next

Monday Morning Inspiration: 8 Simple Tips to Make Your Monday Morning Better

Monday Morning Inspiration: Best Tips For Monday Morning

Discovering a way to enjoy the start of your week is hard for everyone. After a weekend full of relaxation, you have to go back to work or school and face another five days before you can rest again. If you’re looking for Monday morning inspiration, here are some tips!

Hearing an alarm on Monday morning feels like a punch in the gut. It’s an unpleasant reminder that it’s time to get up and do adult things again.

But out of this widespread feeling of discontent comes an opportunity for change! Instead of letting the Monday blues take over, let’s see if we can find some ways to find Monday morning motivation and make the first day of the week more enjoyable.