How To Deal With Controlling People, According To Experts

And last but certainly not least, having a controlling person in your life requires knowing and acknowledging when it’s time to walk away. As Tsabary notes, when setting boundaries doesn’t work, “then it is important to create emotional space and distance in another way.”

It’s really important to look at how this person responds when you bring up what’s bothering you, when you set boundaries, and when you talk about how their behavior is affecting you. If they continually get defensive, violate your boundaries, and/or continue exhibiting controlling behavior, that’s simply an unhealthy relationship dynamic to be in.

If you’re dating this person, that may mean it’s time for the relationship to end. If it’s someone like a friend or family member who you don’t want to cut off completely, you can create some space within the relationship. For example, therapist Tiana Leeds, M.A., LMFT, previously told mbg that ending a controlling friendship can be as simple as “no longer initiating contact or plans as frequently and allowing the connection to naturally fade.”

Whatever you decide the best course of action is, don’t lose sight of your own needs, how this controlling person really makes you feel, and what you require from your relationships going forward. Anything less is less than you deserve.

If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. For anonymous and confidential help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224) and speak with a trained advocate for free as many times as you need. They’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also speak to them through a live private chat on their website.

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