How to Escape Controlling Behavior

In most cases, once you recognize a controlling pattern with someone, you can use this Boundary Checklist provided by Southbrook Counseling to identify the issue:

a. What boundary of yours is being violated?

b. How does it affect you and your relationship?

c. Whether or not the problem is a pattern or an occasional event. Make note of frequency so you can be specific in addressing the issue without saying “always.”

d. Why is it important enough to risk conflict over it?

After identifying the core repeating issue, you will want to work on having the difficult conversation where you will want to begin with validating the person and explaining the benefits to the relationship as a result of adhering to the boundary due to how it makes you feel about the relationship when not respected.

“Boundaries we’re not designed to end relationships, but to preserve and deepen them.” Henry Cloud

In more severe situations that I have witnessed in the counseling sessions where the individual has shown controlling behavior or even abusive behavior, it was common that they handled all the finances and safety was a concern.  In these extreme situations, the control seeker has wanted a spouse who does not work so they have financial control over them. The women then stay in abusive relationships because they don’t have the ability to move out financially.  If you are in a situation like this, make sure you become informed and are at least aware of account balances, account numbers, and passwords.  It is crucial you stay educated.  If that is not possible and you are one of those women in a living arrangement where you feel you are in danger call for help.  National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE.

If you are stuck with an extremely controlling person in a business situation and none of the above methods of communication have worked, look at your options rather than suffering and doing things that conflict with your value system.  If it is a client, go to your manager and explain the situation and see if there are options for account transfers.  If the manager doesn’t support you then report it to your Human Resources office.  If your company doesn’t have one or you are afraid of the repercussions, then look for other positions.  In my experience, if the manager is someone who cares about you, they will work to help you.

If you feel trapped in your job unable to handle extreme situations where you are feeling controlled to do inappropriate things please see

Help for The Controller

Photograph was taken of Cliffs of Moher in Ireland