Being in a controlling marriage or relationship can have serious negative effects on living a fulfilled life. Is it costing you your dreams, identity or dignity? Get Dr. Phil McGraw's advice for people who are being controlled.
Learn to Stand Up for Yourself
Start taking responsibility for your actions.
It's time to examine how your behavior might enable your controlling partner.
Negotiate boundaries with your spouse.
Don't negotiate when you're arguing, but during "peace time." Agree to have a consequence if these boundaries are crossed. For example, if your controlling partner starts to dominate a discussion, call a time-out. Revisit the conversation only when you're ready.
Don't give up.
If you're being pushed to your limit every day and you think about giving up, you will someday cave in. Giving up cheats you and your partner if you haven't both made a concerted effort to improve your relationship.
What's the cost of your relationship?
Ask yourself, "What is it costing me to be in this relationship?" If the answer is your dreams, identity, or dignity, the cost is too high.
Should you agree or disagree?
Controlling people often participate in emotional extortion: "Agree with me, or else." For the good of your relationship, sometimes it's best to agree to disagree.
Look at all of your options.
You don't have to engage in explosive arguments when dealing with a controlling partner. Refuse to participate when your partner is trying to control you.
Suffering in silence isn't love.
By not dealing with a controlling partner's behavior, you're only enabling it to continue—and are therefore cheating the relationship.
Published on January 16, 2001
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