When we think of a controlling personality, we think about a romantic partner or a school bully. We think of how they made us feel small and inconsequential. We think of the associated trauma and the toxic experiences. But, we often do not realise that an overly-critical and controlling person can subtly slip into our lives at any time, and they can be our parents, friends, colleagues, an acquaintance or even a stranger. If you feel their looming presence and are bothered by it, here is everything you need to know.
The blame game
Remember that a controlling person will almost always blame you for everything. They will find fault with even the most innocuous of things, and make an issue of it. They will squarely tell you that you are responsible for it, even if it had nothing to do with you. This behaviour can become cloying and make you feel hurt.
After the blame comes the criticism. A controlling person will tear apart your confidence by pointing out your mistakes in public and private. If it’s a colleague, for instance, they will point out the smallest flaws at work. They will, however, not give you the credit for doing something right. A controlling person can go livid over small things like not taking their calls. They can find faults with the way you dress, talk, cracking jokes at your expense in public.
One of the most odious things that a critical person can do, is stop you from interacting with people you actually love. They will constantly demand your attention and isolate you from friends and family. Also, they will throw a fit and tell you how you barely spend time with them.
They will gaslight your experiences and whatever you say, and instead make you believe that you are being overly sensitive about nothing. You will begin to second-guess yourself. If it’s a friend who has been spreading rumours about you, a confrontation will result in them vehemently denying their involvement.
The jealousy and drama
Since you are their pet project, they will want you all to themself. So, they may show rage and/or disappointment when you plan something with someone else. Also, they will not let you have your moment. Say you are gushing about your achievements at work, they will invariably divert the conversation and make it about them.
These behaviours can make you feel increasingly stuck and claustrophobic. Try to talk to an expert and seek their advice. Do whatever you can to break free from your abuser: take some time for yourself, put your foot down, answer back.