PREVIOUS: Self-care, Internal #1
If you HAVE to deal with a Controller (cont)
1. INTERNALLY : for YOU (cont)
• Wait before responding to a text, call or email.
Write out what you want to say & then leave it alone for a little bit, to think thru the consequences. If you still want to send it / say it – condense it into simple sentences – short, declarative & to the point, using ‘I’ statement, from your Adult voice
• Set your own time schedule for discussions with a C. or to deal with a need or upset of theirs. Your time is yours to control – NOT them (most of the time 🙃)
❖ Eliminate Controllers from your life whenever possible. They are energy & self-esteem vampires to be ‘put in the light’ & let go of!
2. EXTERNALLY – dealing With THEM
• Ask questions – objectively & without anger. Try to find out what they’re frustrated about, what they really want & why, to minimize misunderstandings. This shows them the same respect that you want
• Avoid arguing. It’s best to just let the C. carry on until they’re run out of steam. As hard as it is to “zip the lip”, if you just listen without responding, eventually most people will feel ashamed &
contrite for carrying on so, especially when their outburst actually had nothing to do with you. This puts you back in control
• Be a careful listener (unless you’ve heard the same thing over & over!). It’s easy to tune out when you’re with someone annoying or aggravating. Repeat back what they’ve said & check to see if it’s correct. This reassures them you understand their point or what they need from you – especially at work. BUT it doesn’t mean you have to agree or do it!
• Be clear & mean what you say, so they’ll know you’re serious
• Be very firm that you’re NOT going to be pushed around. Say NO & stick to it even if you feel scared.
Most of the time it turns out ok, but some people can’t tolerate hearing ‘no’, so you have to get away from them as soon as you realize they’re not safe
• Don’t let them talk down to you. It’s insulting & belittling
• Emphasize positive things about yourself & let them know all the good decisions you make on a regular basis
• Pick your battles. Unless a topic directly affects you, don’t comment. You can appear to agree & still keep to your own ideas – quietly
• Point out when their way is unacceptable. It’s NOT wise to use emotions-ladened phrases like “It makes me uncomfortable”, because they’re likely to use it against you
• If a C. ‘keeps you around’ – whether it’s personal or professional – it means they need you for something! That can give you the upper hand, even if neither of you really like each
Don’t be afraid to remind the C. that you have value & want to treated with respect
• In a disagreement or argument, stick to your point and the current topic – don’t let them sidetrack you. Write or tape confrontations, to get clear AND have proof
• Try getting them to switch roles with you for a few minutes. You play the controller & they play you. Then discuss the results.
• Switch the focus away from what’s wrong with you, & get them talking about themselves or on the issue in question. They’ll like that!
Remember – you’re not responsible for their perspective, but it might give you some insight into their motivation, so you’ll be better able to sidestep or deflect their controlling-ness next time
NEXT: Over-Controlling OURSELVES – #1