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:
1a. INTERNALLY: Re. 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
• Take full responsibility for all your thoughts, words, emotions & actions – and what long-standing buttons the C. may be pushing
• 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
• Work at building strong boundaries so you don’t take on the Cs problems
• 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
• Write out all your frustrations, hurt & anger about how the C treats you – and the mental arguments to prove your side of the story, without censorship. Picture all that pain draining into the paper & then burn it – safely!
• 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
• Let yourself feel any emotional reactions to the C. rather than pushing them away – but not with from the C. (meetings, therapy, journaling…).
Always be clear that the pain is from the WIC, so take a step back from those 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!
• 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
NOTE: However, for ACoAs, as long as a situation is pushing old buttons, our Es can 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…..
• Look for the lesson in any difficult situation – but not at the expense of the emotions. And that does NOT mean self-blame or judgment.
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?”….
Getting something out of each encounter with a C. can help you be stronger, healthier, more awake, more self-protective…. for the future
• Do something physical – run, swim, dance, exercise….it clears the mind & burns off the anger, numbness, fear, frustration…. that deplete us
• Spend time away from the C. Taking regular breaks is important for mental health. Do things you enjoy even if the C. isn’t supportive.
NEXT: Self-Care Around Controllers (Part 2)