SELF-CARE around Controllers (Part 1)

many options I HAVE LOTS OF OPTIONS – I just need to practice

PREVIOUS: Responses to Controllers-#2

SITE: How to Cope w/ a Controlling Person

See Acronym PAGE for abbrev.

If you HAVE to deal with a Controller:
• Be true to your own personality – quiet, strong, talkative, fun-loving, up-beat, intellectual, funny….
✅ Trying to out-control control freaks generally doesn’t work. They’ve had a lot more practice
• Continue to work on building strong boundaries so you don’t take on the Cs problems

Stay as calm as possible when in conflict with a C., especially since they’re likely to lose their cool if you challenge their desperately needed sense of power
• Do something physical – run, swim, dance, exercise….it clears the mind & burns off the anger, numbness, fear, frustration…. which deplete us

• Take full responsibility for all your own thoughts, words, emotions & actions – & whatever long-standing buttons the C. may be pushing

• Let yourself feel all emotional reactions to the C. rather than pushing them away – but not with the C. – do it in meetings, therapy, journaling… Always be clear that the pain is coming from the WIC.
Take a mental step back from the Es, putting them ‘outside‘ of yourself, rather than drowning in them or sweeping them under the carpet. This defuses the intensity.
The best way to protect yourselves is to be fully awake to the effects a C. has on you. That’s what Es are for.

• Focus on how to meet your own needs, rather than on what the C. is doing or not doing. Don’t over-compensate for someone else’s limitations or failures. It doesn’t help anyone, only drains you
• Know you have the right & power to say how you want to be treated.  This comes from knowing your worth as a person – just because you exist

• Identify what really matters or what you real goal is in each situation & then ask: “How important it this?,  Do I need to be right, validated, applauded, justified…, or can I let go in order to be at peace? //  How will reacting to this person make my life better (or worse)?”.
If it’s not literally a life & death situation, you can redirect your energy by quietly talking to the Inner Child, & focus on using Recovery tools

• Look for the lesson in any difficult situation – but not at the expense of the Es. So – NO self-blame or judgment. Getting something out of each encounter with a C. can help you be stronger, healthier, more awake, more self-protective…. for the future
Ask : “What are they telling me about themselves?
“Have I been ignoring the signals about this person’s patterns?
“Have I stayed too long? , Did I somehow set them off?
” How are they like my family? Are they just a bad fit with me?”….

• Conventional wisdom says: “Stop endlessly talking to everyone about a negative event or conflict”, which is meant to stop the drain on your energy. This is valid if all you’re doing is whining, complaining, obsessing, dumping…. rather than carefully evaluating what’s really going on, & ✒︎ taking it to the right place to process

Write out all your frustrations, hurt & anger about how the C treats you – & the mental arguments to prove your side of the story, without censorship. Picture all that pain draining into the paper & then burn it – safely!

NOTE: For ACoAs, as long as a situation is pushing old buttons, our Es support groupcan be overpowering, getting in the way of functioning.
We need to keep sharing what’s upsetting our WIC – in the right environment – and for as long as it takes to bleed off the accumulated hurt & rage that keeps our obsessions alive.

We may also need outside validation that we’re not crazy – that someone really is being abusive, that our feelings are normal in that circumstance…..

NEXT: Self-Care Around Controllers (#2)

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