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How To Stop Being Controlling: 22 Ways To Improve Your Relationships

How To Stop Being Controlling: 22 Ways To Improve Your Relationships

I don’t know about you, but I can be controlling sometimes. Have you noticed that you are too, and are you wondering how to stop being controlling in your relationships?

Maybe you always try to control everything your partner does. You decide how they’ll do it and when they’ll do it.

When things aren’t done exactly how you wanted them to be, you get angry or upset.

Perhaps you haven’t even noticed it yet, but it’s started to destroy and undermine your relationships with other people.

Do you want to change your behavior, improve your relationships, and grow?

Don’t worry because you can learn how to stop being controlling. You aren’t the only person with this problem, and a lot of us have had to work on ourselves for the sake of our relationships.

The problem with being a controlling person is that it’s hard to maintain a relationship. Whether it’s a romantic relationship or a friendship, no one really likes to be micromanaged.

When you’re trying to control someone, they feel oppressed and stressed out. Sometimes, controlling someone can even be abusive – and no one wants that.

It’s not just about controlling someone though.

Sometimes, a controlling person behaves differently than what we’d expect. Meddling, excessively worrying, trying to fix other people’s problems, and giving unsolicited advice – these all count as controlling behavior.

Maybe you do these things without even realizing, since it’s not that easy to have the self-awareness needed to notice this problem.

So, how do you stop being controlling and improve your relationships?

Identifying the problem is a great first step… but the second one is identifying the source of the problem.

Where does this need for control really come from?

How To Stop Being Controlling: 22 Ways To Improve Your Relationships

Often, the roots of the problem are fear and anxiety.

Other times, the controlling person falls into predictable patterns or behaviors to prevent deviations from their expectations or unexpected surprises.

Disruptions bother these people a lot because they’re constantly trying to avoid problems – even ones that could happen in the future.

So, controlling makes them feel like there’ll be fewer disruptions.

As long as everything is done their way – how they want and when they want it – they feel safer.

Sometimes, they control the behavior of others or influence it in order to have predictable relationships.

Only if their relationships actually are predictable are they able to prevent themselves from fueling their anxious thoughts.

Sometimes, their need to control others isn’t really their fault. And they’re unable to stop being controlling because they aren’t even aware of it.

Their family, friends, or partners might have contributed to their anxiety.

They did this by being incapable, pretending to be incapable, or offloading their responsibility onto the person who became controlling.

How can anything be done without someone conducting the chaos and taking action?

A shift in responsibility makes the controlling person think that they need to do that.

A controlling person could be that way for other reasons too.

Anxiety regarding maintaining their life and controlling tendencies might have roots in a hard upbringing.

They might have tried to fill all the gaps that were left by parents who couldn’t really fulfill their roles well.

When a controlling person sees something that reminds them of their childhood, their anxiety could escalate.

They might react very negatively to certain situations in life or behaviors.

At that point, they become overly controlling just to feel safe again.

How to stop being controlling?

Well, discovering what’s causing the controlling behavior is the first thing you need to do.

This might be difficult for you since most people don’t have that level of self-awareness.

Even those who do are sometimes in such denial that they’re simply unable to admit it to themselves.

In such cases, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a professional.

Changing your behavior will not be easy, but if you have a therapist to help you, it will be easier.

Do you think that you can get to the bottom of your controlling behavior?

Then try these ways to stop being controlling, and in the process improve yourself and your relationships:

1. Determine the root of the problem

How To Stop Being Controlling: 22 Ways To Improve Your Relationships

What is causing your controlling behavior? Read through everything above once again and try to see what best describes you.

Think about your upbringing. Something from your childhood could be causing this behavior.

Did you experience trauma in your past? Maybe you had problems with depression or anxiety, or have trust issues?

Once you figure out where your problem is coming from, it will be easier to fix it.

2. Think about how other people around you feel about your controlling behavior

An overly controlling person is not great company.

People around you might even consider you manipulative and toxic. They might prefer to keep their distance because they feel suffocated.

I don’t mean to scare you, but you might lose the relationships you have because of your controlling behavior.

If those around you don’t see any changes, they might give up on you, even if they care about you deeply.

That’s not the only reason you should learn how to stop being controlling.

You need to get to the bottom of it and figure out what the underlying issue is.

If you do, you’ll make a huge step towards being the best version of yourself.

3. Realize that your partner might rebel against you

No one really likes being controlled even if they go along with it. Control can’t go without rebellion, though.

Your partner might resent your controlling behavior and push back against you.

They might do things out of anger or spite. This means that they could start intentionally doing what you don’t like.

There has to be a limit to everything. To a certain extent, control is good, but if it crosses the line, it evolves into anarchy.

By anarchy, I mean rebellion, chaos, and disregard of all rules. This is just as bad as control, but the two are connected like action and reaction.

4. Remember that you don’t own your partner

Your partner is not inferior to you and they are certainly not there to serve you.

Whether it’s your boyfriend or girlfriend, they are equal to you.

You can’t make them do things against their will.

They agreed to be in a relationship with you, but that doesn’t mean that you own them.

Show them respect and listen to them as much as they listen to you.

5. Keep your style of communication polite

How To Stop Being Controlling: 22 Ways To Improve Your Relationships

Do you know how much the way you communicate influences how others perceive you and your point? Simply put – a lot.

If you are unyielding, direct, and curt, you’ll be perceived as a controlling person, even if you’re not.

Of course, there’s the right time and place for delivering your message that way.

If that method of communication is your primary one though, others will resent it – and eventually, they’ll resent you for using it.

Polite language is always a better approach, so make sure to use “thank you” and “please.”

When you want something done, don’t dictate it.

Instead, ask for help, make suggestions or requests. Soften your approach and it’ll make a huge difference in your relationships.

Not only will others perceive you differently, but even you will think differently about the point you’re trying to make.

6. Trust your partner

Controlling people often don’t trust other people’s abilities.

Don’t always assume that your partner isn’t capable of making decisions – and I mean good decisions.

You have to trust them and their choices.

If you’re the one who does all the deciding, the way they’ll feel about it is not the only problem.

Eventually, you will get tired of it and see that you need someone else to make decisions sometimes.

7. See your partner’s point of view

Imagine that you’re your partner. How would you feel?

If you act like a dictator, that’s how your partner sees you.

How long would you stay around someone who doesn’t let you be yourself?

If you’re forcing your partner to behave according to your standards, your relationship is doomed.

Talk to them sometimes. And don’t just talk, listen to them. Hear them out and consider their wants and needs.

8. Make peace with the fact that things can’t always go your way

Regardless of how badly you wish you could control everything, you simply won’t ever be able to.

You’ll never be entirely in control of things, and that’s just life.

Sure, sometimes, you can use manipulation to get what you want, but it doesn’t always work.

There are things beyond your control. Some of them are your partner’s feelings and the way they think.

The only person you can control is you.

9. Let things go or let someone else be in charge and trust them

How To Stop Being Controlling: 22 Ways To Improve Your Relationships

You know that everyone has different thoughts and standards on what a successful result is, right?

Controlling people don’t just want things to be done, they need them to be done their way. This approach often backfires.

Your way probably isn’t the right way all the time. Sometimes, you just need to trust someone else and let them do it their way.

You can’t control what they’ll do either way, so you just have to trust that they’ll do what needs to be done.

Sometimes, a good conversation can get you to meet halfway.

10. Don’t expect your significant other to be exactly like you

Even if your partner is your soulmate, you’re not exactly the same.

Your personalities are different and so are the backgrounds you’re coming from.

You have to respect each other’s differences to have a healthy relationship.

You’re equal but not the same, and you see things differently. The sooner you understand that, the sooner you’ll be happy in your relationship.

11. Give each other some space and privacy

How To Stop Being Controlling: 22 Ways To Improve Your Relationships

Transparency is a part of a healthy relationship. Demanding daily reports for what your partner does 24/7 is not.

It’s a bad relationship (even if an amicable one) when it seems like you don’t have room to breathe and space to move.

All people need some time to themselves. Even if they’re extroverts, they need to recharge every now and then.

When you’re in a relationship, it’s important that you’re a team. You’re a partnership and you need to lift each other up.

If you don’t focus on yourself though, it can create huge problems.

It’s not healthy to worry about everything your partner does all the time.

Naturally, you worry sometimes because you want what’s best for your loved one.

Doing it all the time, though, is definitely not good for either of you.

Give each other some space and privacy.

12. Don’t threaten your partner just to get them to do what you want

Stop threatening your partner when you make demands.

They might do what you demand from them, but it will change your relationship.

At some point, your partner will have had enough of your threats.

They won’t do what they’re not happy doing, and they’ll realize that you’ve been forcing them to.

To have a healthy relationship, you can’t use threats or ultimatums.

You should discuss things with your partner and come to an agreement together.

13. Be more understanding and patient

Not everyone is good at things you’re good at.

What could seem simple to you could be incredibly difficult to your partner.

If that’s the situation you’re in, don’t be mean to your partner.

Don’t pressure them into doing better at something that doesn’t come as easy to them as it does you.

You can’t put a tiger and a fish next to each other and grade them at who can run faster or swim better.

Let your partner do what they’re good at doing and give them the scope to learn about the things they themselves want to learn.

14. Quit being paranoid

A person can get over-possessive because of anxiety or paranoia.

If you want to have everything under control, stop for a second and try to loosen up.

You don’t have to take all the responsibility for everything, and it’s bad for you to even try holding the weight of the world on your shoulders.

It’s not your job to stop everything bad that’s going on or to save anyone who makes wrong decisions.

Try to relax and do what makes you happy. And let others live their lives the way they want to, too.

15. Find healthy ways to manage stress

How To Stop Being Controlling: 22 Ways To Improve Your Relationships

How to stop being controlling? Well, what’s the source of this behavior?

The source of controlling behavior is often anxiety. It comes from the inability to handle stress well.

If anxiety is the source of your problem, you should try to work on the way you manage stress.

Poorly handled stress can be a big problem and create a mess in all aspects of your life, not just your love life and other relationships.

Maybe you had a tough day at work and brought that stress home with you without venting.

One of the first steps to stop being controlling is to assess how you handle stress.

Are there some stressors you could remove or reduce? What can you change in your life?

Maybe you could find a new career or hobby. Perhaps you could start eating better, sleeping more, and exercising more often.

For starters, try to relax. I know that it’s harder than it sounds, but do try.

If you improve the way you manage stress, everything else will improve, including your well-being.

16. Don’t demand perfection

Maybe you have high standards, but people aren’t perfect. You can’t pressure your significant other to meet your standards.

When you’re in a healthy relationship, you both have room to grow as individuals.

Yes, your partner will sometimes disappoint you and you will disappoint them.

This is natural since you’re both humans. Don’t expect it to never happen.

Instead, when it does, try to reassure your partner of the unconditional love you feel for them.

17. Learn to compromise

Sometimes, you have to meet your partner halfway.

Learning to compromise will help you stop being controlling and really improve your relationship.

Both of you need to have equal say in your relationship.

Don’t make big decisions without consulting with your partner. Both of you need to adjust and make compromises.

18. Fight your insecurities

When you impose your dominance, you’re actually hiding your weaknesses.

Being a controlling person actually often means that you have insecurities that you need to work on.

Maybe you’re trying to appear scary and tough because you subconsciously want to prevent others from causing you harm.

You’re not the only person with this problem, but you need to work on it. If you do, you’ll have a happier life and healthier relationships.

When you’re insecure, you’re not valuing yourself the way you should. Plus, you always question the intentions of others.

Maybe you’re forever wondering who your partner is texting, who they’re talking to, and what they’re doing when you’re apart.

These insecurities contribute to your controlling behavior and are telltale signs of a controlling woman.

Sometimes, insecurities are caused by bad experiences in the past.

Those who were badly hurt or cheated on in the past often try to protect themselves from experiencing that pain again.

When you’re in a relationship, you might get hurt. But you just have to risk it when you care about someone.

Your insecurities might be fueling your controlling behavior or even ruining your otherwise healthy relationships.

Maybe your partner is the one who’s controlling. You should definitely check whether he’s caring or controlling because there’s a huge difference.

19. Don’t manipulate people

How To Stop Being Controlling: 22 Ways To Improve Your Relationships

When you set up things to get what you want, you’re manipulating the person you put in that situation.

The same goes for using bribes, ultimatums, or other methods of manipulation.

Manipulation and control often go hand in hand. These are very toxic ingredients in a relationship.

Are you the toxic one in a relationship? How to stop being controlling?

It might be simple – just stop manipulating people.

If you try to manipulate someone into loving you, they’ll eventually stop caring about you.

When your partner realizes that you’re using this toxic behavior, don’t be surprised if they turn their back on you.

20. Be open to change and new experiences

Getting out of your comfort zone is important.

There are a lot of changes you’ll go through and a lot of new experiences you’ll have. Don’t avoid them – embrace and look forward to them.

Controlling people often just want to maintain the status quo. More often than not, the status quo isn’t worth hanging on to.

Things aren’t always as good as you need them to be. New isn’t always better, but it’s new and it might be better.

Things change and accepting that will help you grow as an individual and manage stress. Identify the things you can improve as well.

With time, all relationships evolve. Maybe you’d like for everything to stay the same, but it’s not possible.

You need to actively nurture and improve the relationship you have with your significant other.

21. Nurture your mental and emotional health

Being controlling can sometimes mean that there are underlying emotional or mental problems.

It might be trust issues, depression, low self-esteem, stress, or anxiety.

You need to take care of your emotional and mental health just like you would take care of your physical health.

Get enough sleep, unwind regularly, and exercise.

Embracing a healthier lifestyle could help you and make a big difference in your life.

22. Ask for help

If you want to stop being controlling, know that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you could use a helping hand.

If you have a problem, talk to someone about it. There are professionals who can help you with this, but talk with your loved ones too.

You have nothing to be ashamed of. All of us need some help sometimes.

It’s time to loosen the grip. You can’t be in control the entire time, so don’t even try.

It’s okay to sometimes simply let things unfold themselves and go with the flow.

Things aren’t always going to go the way you want them and expect them to.

Your partner isn’t the ideal person, they’re the person who loves you.

Try to loosen up and let go.

Good luck!


How To Stop Being Controlling: 22 Ways To Improve Your Relationships