Controlling People: Nine Subtle Ways You Give Others Too Much Power

Controlling peopleControlling people. Are you sick of everyone trying to control you?

It’s easy to get sick of controlling people. They think they know what’s best for you. They feel like they need to approve of every decision you make. They believe they are better, smarter and more capable than you. To them, it’s obvious they should be calling the shots.

Of course, you can see right through controlling people, right? They show their hypocrisy with every move they make! It’s frustrating.

And you can’t make them stop, right?


You can stop controlling people and take away their power over you. The question is, are you willing?

If you’re willing to block controlling people, then you need to look at what you are doing to encourage and even indulge their controlling behavior. That’s right. You cannot change this by changing the controlling person. You can change their world by giving them a different person (yourself) to respond to – a person that will not be controlled by other people.

Here’s the AHA: you are indulging controlling people in their controlling ways. You’re putting up with it, tolerating being controlled and feeling like a victim. Worse, you are probably not even aware of how you are doing it. This post will show you examples of how you are allowing yourself to be a target for controlling people. Then, you can put a stop to the madness once and for all.

Key insight: allowing others to control you is a subconscious habit. If you are doing it, you probably learned to do this a very long time ago when you didn’t have the option of making your own choices. In fact, one or more controlling people probably prevented you from making independent decisions and learning from your mistakes.

In short, you had to give your power away to someone who was eager to prove how righteous he or she was. The habit of giving power or control away turns into a psychological attachment. The frustration of feeling pressured and controlled becomes more of a way of life than anything else.

Waking up and seeing how you play into the hands of controlling people – walking right into it time and time again, is an amazing AHA experience. Once you see it, then you can exercise choice. You can’t have a choice about things outside of your conscious awareness.

Best-selling author Stephen R. Covey has stated: Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character…”


Check out these nine subconscious habits that give controlling people power over you:

All of the examples are common and completely reversible. All it takes is conscious awareness and the desire to live a genuinely interdependent life. Notice which scenarios below may apply to you. When you come across one that applies, it may give you that sinking feeling inside – or it may even cause anxiety. It may also make you angry or annoyed and want to find a reason why it isn’t your responsibility.

Press forward anyway! Knowing how you offer yourself up to controlling people is the critical first step to overcoming this psychological attachment.

1. Neglecting or refusing to take care of yourself

If you don’t take care of yourself, you send a subconscious message to others. The message is: I can’t take care of myself, so please take care of me. This invites controlling people intervene and tell you what you should be doing. It also invites them to nag you to get yourself together. You are inviting control from others by neglecting yourself.

2. Rebelling is an invitation to be controlled

Emotional rebels are masters of being controlled. When genuine authority beckons, rebels resist, which invites greater intervention from those in charge. Line up 10 employees. Nine of them follow the rules and cooperate with each other. One is a rebel. Who gets monitored more closely? The rebel. The rebel invites more authority into his life than anyone. He is begging to be controlled.

He hates authority but is subconsciously inviting authority to come down on him daily. Deep down, does he really hate authority or is he seeking to be controlled by it? Both. When controlling people are in authority over you, a rebel only makes matters worse.

3. Failing on your obligations gives controlling people an opportunity

You’ve agreed to do certain things. You don’t do them. What happens next? You get confronted. Someone comes after you, demanding you make good on your word. By not doing what you agree to do, you invite others to step in and take charge of you. Controlling people love the opportunity to collect what you owe them.

4. Asking for unnecessary guidance

Ever known anyone who compulsively asks for help to do things that he or she could do just as well alone? Sometimes this is an invitation for companionship. But if you do this constantly, you’re asking others to take charge. When those others happen to be naturally controlling, you’re in for it.

5. Indulging in self-doubt

If you’re afraid of making mistakes and being held accountable for them, you’ll likely invite controlling people to come in and take over for you. Fearing mistakes is fearing the inevitable. Everyone makes them. Smart people are thankful for mistakes because mistakes help you learn, which makes you more independent.

6. Can’t say no

Huge set up for giving power away and feeling controlled by the demands of life. When you can’t say no when you should, you are automatically overextended. Then, of course, people expect you to follow through. When you can’t, they begin to bug you.

7. Not expressing your opinion gives controlling people a chance to assign theirs to you

A sure way to ensure that controlling people have all the power is to withhold your thoughts, feelings and opinions, ensuring that you have no say in what’s going on. This way, you agree to the agenda of those willing to speak up. They have the power and you are at their mercy by virtue of your silent compliance.

8. Inviting controlling people into your life

You may just be attracted to people who like to control others. These controlling types may appear more powerful, independent, charismatic and safer for you to be with. If you have a subconscious desire to be controlled, you may not feel comfortable with someone who expects you to make your own decisions and be responsible for them.

9. Lack of feeling awareness

Feelings are an indispensable part of decision-making. Clear feelings reflect your values and give you a sure foundation in life. If you aren’t in touch with your feelings, you may not have a clear idea where you stand.

For example, someone asks you to do something that you are not comfortable with. Your discomfort is vague and you push it away, not wanting to grapple with it. Unable to be clear about your feelings, you are more likely to ignore them and “just do it.”

This is risky. It’s this level of repression that entices you to succumb to pressure or make decisions based on someone else’s agenda.

It all boils down to this…

The end result of these subconscious or subtle means of inviting more controlling people into your life is that you end up feeling powerless, helpless, a victim of controlling people and circumstances. If you feel this way – like your life is not your own to live – then, you may have an attachment to being controlled.

In other words, it is self-sabotage in the end. A subconscious attachment to being controlled causes you to seek out controlling environments and people, while hating every minute of it consciously.

To learn how psychological attachments create self-sabotage, and how to overcome them, watch this free and enlightening video.

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iNLP Center Staff
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