What are boundaries?
Boundaries are like invisible lines we draw with other people that protect us from getting hurt. They are rules we have for ourselves that tell other people that we have self worth, self respect, and we will not allow others to define us, manipulate us, control us or be abusive toward us. They are limits we set to protect ourselves and define the behaviors we will or won't tolerate in our own lives. Without boundaries, you can not have healthy relationships with others. You have the right to say how you want to be treated by others, and the behaviors you will not accept. It is important to let others know that you will not be disrespected or mistreated. You know your own values, your wants and your needs. Never let another person try to make those decisions for you.
How do I recognize a controlling person?
A controlling person will often leave you feeling like you have been stepped on, or run all over. They often cause chaos and anger for others by their manipulative behavior. Controllers are aggressive and rude, and use verbal abuse and assaults and attacks on your character. They do not listen to you, or care about your feelings. They try to force their opinions on you, even when you don't ask. Controlling people are intrusive into other peoples business, feeling as if they have to have a say in everything, even in situations that don't directly involve them. They may be fully aware of others situations, but that does not give them the right to be intrusive and violate boundaries. Controlling people are very self righteous, thinking they know best, and think they should solve your problems. They become forceful, rude, opinionated, and pushy. They often will tell you how you should feel, what to do, how to think, and even what you think. You may be hurt or angry about their behaviors toward you, but they will tell you things like, "you are over sensitive," or "you need therapy to control your feelings." They will never acknowledge the way they make others feel, and they will never take accountability for their own behaviors, or hurting others. They will always make it your fault for having feelings. Controlling people are very toxic. They will always be critical of you, putting you down, and trying to guilt trip or shame you for any flaws, weaknesses or insecurities you may have.
Controlling people will try and come across as if they are better than you. They don't treat you like they would want to be treated. They feel they should be respected, but they don't have to respect you. They feel they can say whatever rude or negative thing they want about you, but don't you dare do it back to them. They are critical and will point fingers, saying, "you do this..." and "you do that....." Being condescending and self righteous, and putting you down, or pointing out your weaknesses makes them feel "lifted up" or better than you. They have a grandiose sense of themselves.
Controlling people lack empathy for others. They can't understand why you are hurt by the things they say. A lack of empathy often exists in victims of childhood abuse. It is a trait of narcissism. They simply can't feel for their victims or can't feel for others. Many controlling people are victims of childhood abuse and that is where their control issues begin to form.
Manipulative and controlling people emotionally project. They will accuse others of the very same thing they are guilty of. An example of this would be if someone accused you of being "negative" all the time. They may be snobby or condescending and accusatory. In reality, they can't see their own negativity. They can't see their own behaviors toward you, or the negativity they dish out or take out on you. They won't say anything positive. They "project" the things they don't like about themselves on to you and try to guilt trip you for it. They may condemn you or tell you that you need "therapy" to learn that "only you control how you feel." But if they don't like something you said back to them, they may say, "Well. how am I suppose to feel?" They are allowed to have feelings, but when you have feelings, they will try to tell you that you need help or therapy for it. They are huge hypocrites, and will always have double standards. They preach, lecture and condemn you, and never take their own advice they so freely dish out. Double standards and hypocrisy are also traits of narcissism, which many controlling people have.
Controlling people are huge blame-shifters. They will treat you badly and unfairly, and then blame you for their behaviors. Instead of taking responsibility for their own ill feelings toward you, they will blame you for reacting to their bad behaviors. They think we should tolerate their criticisms, and negativity, and control. They think we have to listen to their opinions and unsolicited advice.
Controlling people are emotionally immature. They almost always have traits of narcissism, or other personality disorders. They don't give constructive criticism, and instead dish out destructive remarks and opinions. They are condescending and sarcastic. Insecurities, and bad upbringings are what drives a controlling persons need to control others. They won't deal with their own internal chaos and issues. They are often deeply unhappy with themselves, insecure with very low self esteem, and feel like they need to dominate other people and other peoples personal situations in order to feel better about themselves.
Controlling people have no concept of other peoples boundaries. They become very intrusive and in all of your personal business. Controlling people will always be blaming others for drama and chaos. None of us like a dictating, controlling person in our life. None of us want others intruding in our personal problems. Controlling people are very insulting to us. They think we can't resolve our own issues.They come across as huge know it alls, forcing opinions on us. Controlling people have no insight into the emotional damage and pain they cause others. They will never be supportive of others. especially when you disagree with them. The more they lose control of you, the more aggressive and rude they become and the more they blame you.
How do we set and enforce our boundaries?
Toxic and controlling people are notorious for violating boundaries. It is essential that we protect ourselves from rude controlling people. It is necessary for our mental health, peace of mind, and our own self esteem.
You must have a certain amount of selfishness to set boundaries. You do not have to please others at your own expense or tolerate behaviors that are hurtful, cruel, or rude. Don't be afraid to tell others when you want your space or to be left alone. Don't be afraid to tell a rude, intrusive, controlling person to mind their own business.
You don't have to accept or tolerate someone falsely accusing you, or someone trying to tell you "how you are." Don't let someone else define you or try to shame you for any mistakes or flaws or weaknesses. Don't allow someone else to tell you how you should or shouldn't feel. If someone hurts you, they don't get to tell you that they didn't. They don't get to dictate your feelings. Speak up if someone isn't treating you the way you want to be treated.
If the controlling person does not listen, does not take responsibility for their behaviors, does not validate you or simply "blames" you, then you must enforce consequences for their behaviors toward you. Decide what consequences you need to apply. You may want to cut off contact. You may want to say, "Your behavior toward me is hurting me. Don't do it again, or else I will no longer have a relationship with you." You may want to say something such as, "If you can't treat me decently or like you would want to be treated, then I no longer want you in my life."
You have just as much right to be respected and treated decently as they do. If they can't get help for their behavior, or correct their behavior, then you don't have to tolerate or accept that in your life. Toxic people, or controlling people will always take boundaries as an attack on them. They may start saying things like, "you kicked me out of your life," or "you don't care about me anymore." Once again, they don't look at their own behavior or take responsibility for bad behavior, so they will turn it on you, and blame you for setting rules instead of looking at themselves.
Having healthy boundaries makes us happier. You are not worthless. Controlling people, abusive people, and rude people often try to make you feel worthless or not important, but you must not listen to their negativity. Boundaries allow us to be who we want to be without others constantly criticizing us or being petty fault finders. We don't have to walk on eggshells for fear of being judged, criticized and put down. Boundaries allow us to have a healthy self esteem, and not be manipulated or controlled by others. You can't control what other people think about you, or how they feel about you, or even what they say to you, but you can decide what you will and won't put up with, and you can eliminate people who are rude, hurtful or controlling. You don't have to bend your rules for others. You don't have to betray your values. You don't have to be someone you are not just to satisfy someone else. You don't have to explain your personal issues or reasons or decisions to a controlling person. What you do in your own life isn't their business. You don't have to tolerate a dysfunctional person and their failure to get their own help or failure to take accountability for their own actions and behaviors. Controlling people will always leave you feeling like you have to tolerate things that they would never even tolerate in their lives, You don't have to tolerate anyone who hurts you, criticizes you, attacks your character, or tries to control your personal choices and decisions. Setting boundaries will free you and allow you to have the respect you deserve.