This blog is all about communication. We blog about internal communication within organisations and relationships, external communication with customers, partners, suppliers and fellow SMEs.
This blog is about personal communication. This blog is about you. This blog is not for the faint-hearted, or weak. It is not for those who habitually practice dishonesty and cultivate a closed mindset. If you consider yourself brave, strong, honest and willing to learn, read on.
Are you controlling the communication around you? See how many yeses you can answer to the following questions. Be careful of drawing misleading conclusions. Do not take one Yes and interpret this as indicating you have a controlling personality. Take clusters of Yeses. And, take them in context.
Do people have to tiptoe around you?
- You may notice that not many people want to spend time with you. And, that those who do are exercising their right to limit that time.
- And, when they do spend time with you, do you notice that they are quieter? Or hold back? That may be a sign of fear.
- Do they avoid subjects altogether, or quickly change the topic in a group when it’s likely to set you off?
- Do people not seem to have a personality, or opinions, or plans of their own, when you’re around? They’re avoiding telling you anything, incase you react badly, or forcefully and disrespectfully try to change their mind. Restricting the flow of information is a tactic used by assertive people, in an attempt to protect themselves from controlling personalities.
You feel left out? That is correct, you are being left out of the loop because people need to protect themselves from you. They’d be delighted to hear, if only once, “oh, that’s interesting”, “well done you”, or “wow, you’ve really thought about and planned for this, haven’t you?”. Anything that validates their right as an individual to have a different life, plans, opinions, morals, and thoughts to you.
Are you moody?
This is not Depression. I’m talking about unpredictability and unease and anxiety that others feel around you, as they have no idea how, when or what you will react badly to.
- Do you explode with anger when plans are changed, even slightly?
- Do you sneer at the plans of others, even when they don’t involve, or affect you?
- Do you make (non too subtle hints) that things would be less expensive or smarter if done another, specified way?
Their good news and plans make you feel threatened, useless, like a spare part.
- Do you have a reputation for spoiling every good piece of news that is shared with a cutting word, or sneering face?
- Do you tell one person one thing and one person another, causing complete confusion over what you really think, or (attempting to) spoil friendships or relationships?
Unsaid and unresolved hurts surface at the unlikeliest of times, leaving those around you wondering: “Where did that come from?”.
Even when there may be a genuine, or at least understandable, reason for you to react badly to something, your reactions seem particularly over the top. Are people afraid of you physically? Do they wonder when you will take that piece of furniture and hit them with it, instead of just pounding on it? Does your menace take the form of hidden manipulation of others in your circle, to the detriment of the one you want to hurt?
- Do you swear revenge, for the smallest of reasons? Do you see people as trying to making a fool of you? Is your ego so fragile?
Your nice, friendly, good days are likely to be wiped out by one bad, or extreme, episode of moodiness. If you frighten or threaten someone, or threaten to hurt yourself, or swear never or always to [insert dramatic statement], the good is forgotten – instantly. People are afraid. And, further good, welcoming, friendly, or supportive comments are likely to be seen through that veil. People will be suspicious, in order to protect themselves.
You think you’re winning, but you’re losing out on honesty.
Do you have a temper?
- It’s so easy to physically threaten to harm a child, isn’t it? You just raise your voice, maybe thump the breakfast bar, and threaten all manner of specified or unspecified things. Instant control. Instant compliance (or, so you believe). But, also, the end of respect. The end of love. The end of relationship.
- This, and its ilk, is emotional abuse. It is very often accompanied by physical abuse of some type.
Can you accept “No”?
Do you permit other people the right to disagree with you, or say “no”?
- When someone says “no” to you, how do you respond?
- Have you ever accepted anyone’s “no”?
- What about that spouse who is on the receiving end of your proclamations all day, every day? As a percentage, how many nos have you accepted from them, without it turning into another opportunity to abuse them?
How do you react in mundane conversations?
Do you expect people to read your mind? They must already know how you feel, what you want, where to go, what to decide. After all, everything is about you, isn’t it?
- Your child’s decision about what to do with their car when it’s travelled its last journey is all about you, yeh? That’s why you feel so threatened and have to offer your (always contrary) proclamation on what should be done with it.
- Your co-worker’s decision about how to handle the office move is directly designed to cause you maximum pain, isn’t it? It’s not about efficiency, or cost, or anything else. The entire company has conspired against you, and your co-worker just happens to be a convenient whipping post.
- Infact, when it comes to questions, you’d rather be in what you see as the driving seat, asking the questions, interpreting the answers (to your pleasing) and making the decisions.
- Do you ever go insane with anger when someone does something in a way in which you’ve told them not to?
You think you’re in control of the motivations and decisions of others? You’re not; you’re losing respect.
What happens when someone wants to do their own thing?
- Does this threaten you? That’d they’d want go out for an evening or on holidays alone or with other people, not including you?
- Do you attempt to make them guilty for “leaving you alone”, including infantile behaviour such as not eating or taking care of yourself physically, because they’re not there to do it for you? Most eight-year old kids would be capable of making themselves at least a sandwich!
- Do you make pretend you care for them and tell them that you’d miss them? So that they feel their right to their own life and independent pursuits is invalid?
- Do you manipulate them to change their plans to suit you? Or, in desperation at your lack of control, do you delay their departure? For example, do you ask them to complete some mundane task for you (such as make a cup of tea, or find an invoice), that a chimp could do, just as they are leaving the house for their day out?
- Do you constantly ring them while they’re away from your company to ask when they’ll be back, despite already knowing their estimated return time? While on the phone, do you regale them with how dull and uneventful your day or week has been?
Really, you want to reshape them, like a potter and his clay
- They don’t exist outside of you do they?
- How would they ever cope without you?
- They’ll be sorry when you’re gone, won’t they?
- They’d never be able to afford to survive, if you weren’t there to provide, or organise the accounts.
- Nothing is ever your fault is it? It’s always someone else’s.
Let me light a fire under your ass. You’re the common denominator in all your failed relationships.
- “If only you wouldn’t… then I wouldn’t…” You should get this tattooed across your chest, so you don’t have to say it 50 times a day.
Not only are you losing. You’re a loser.
Do you ever give compliments?
No, is the correct answer.
That would be to agree with someone, to praise someone’s effort, decision, character, appearance or achievement. Instead, your criticise and pick faults. They may even return a piece of clothing or pair of shoes (a very personal choice for many of us) because you don’t like it. They may choose not to share a recent purchase with those whose opinion matters to them, because you berate their enthusiasm. And, all evidence of personality or enthusiasm must be quashed, yeh? You must break them…
Perhaps you do compliment people, but offer it up back-handed, through someone else, or with a barb attached. So, it’s not really a compliment at all. You wouldn’t want that person to feel good about themselves, now, would you?
After all, your goal is to keep them down, mould their personality, siphon off their self-esteem, so you can grow larger as you become their master. Is the ultimate aim that they become your clone? Talk like you? Criticise like you? Rage like you?
But, all is not lost yet.
- You must stop blaming those around you for your pitiable life, disappointing family, shattered career or self-inflicted loneliness.
- You must realise that change is alone down to you.
- And, then you must take the first step toward dealing with it. This may be therapy, counselling, reading a book, learning new communication skills, or all of the above.
You are the common denominator, and it is you who must change. If you need help in this area, if you seem to be losing all the time, get in touch. We will be able to point you in the direction of some agencies who offer therapy and counselling.
Image credit: moggsoceanlane.