Can we all agree that being controlling is one of the most frustrating traits a person can have, especially when it comes to dating and relationships? In all likelihood, you have dealt with at least one seriously controlling individual, whether it was a parent, friend, boss, or romantic partner. Controlling types can actually be appealing at first because they come across as strong and confident, and we tend to be drawn to those traits. But once you truly get to know someone who is controlling, this trait becomes extremely repellant and all you really want to do is break free from this person’s grip. There are three types of people who tend to be the most controlling, and I will review each one and share what makes them unique
The Jealous Type
We can’t talk about the controlling personality type without talking about its absolute worst offender: the jealous guy or gal. Jealous individuals are extremely territorial in relationships because they carry the underlying fear that they will be left or abandoned if they don’t hold on tight enough. These types of men and women tend to be highly emotional and often volatile, and it often seems as if they are looking for a fight or argument. Sometimes dating someone controlling gives you the false sense that they get jealous because they care and love you that much, but what a misguided version of love that is! Being jealous and controlling is all about fear, and it has nothing to do with how much you are liked or even loved.
The Codependent Type
Imagine for a moment the couple who does everything together – they only socialize together, and are almost never apart from each other. With codependent couples, if you get one, you automatically get the other. Codependent men and women often don’t come across as aggressive or domineering; they often seem sweet, easy to get along with, and fun. But make no mistake about codependents: They are very controlling with each other, though they are careful to not let most people see their anxious, needy side. Codependent men and women have a leash around their partners’ necks, even though they would never own up to trying to control their partners. An example: Out with a group of friends recently, one especially codependent couple was trying to decide what to do when the group was deciding to split up and go to different bars for cocktails. One member of the couple decided to go one place, but it was not the place the other wanted to go. As soon as the one realized that his girlfriend wanted to go somewhere else, he didn’t say anything – but he sure gave her a look, and that look said it all. With normal, healthy couples, they should be able to separate from each other once in a while! What keeps codependent couples glued together is the fear that if one goes in a separate direction, he or she will find something else more appealing and he or she will be lost forever.
The Narcissistic Type
In a nutshell, narcissistic men and women are individuals who have a hugely inflated ego (what therapists call a grandiose sense of self). They crave being seen as superior to others, and they are extremely focused on their image and how others see them. Narcissists have little insight into themselves and they will rarely admit when they are wrong because keeping up the superior, always-good, always-happy pretense is the absolute priority. Though they can be difficult, narcissists can also be charming and likable, and they usually excel at seducing others. Sadly, narcissists are extremely controlling in relationships. Above all, narcissists want compliance from their partners. They look for partners who will conform to what they want, which means that the partners of narcissists almost always end up feeling resentful and unhappy.
How to handle these personalities when you encounter them in dating:
The best thing you can do to protect yourself from these 3 controlling types of people is to always tell them what you want and what you need clearly. You must speak up for yourself constantly with these types or they will steamroll over you and exploit you. Many times, men and women spot controlling traits early on but don’t say anything for fear that the relationship will end if they say how they really feel. The ugly truth is that there is no way to win or to have a healthy long-term relationship with someone controlling. You will end up unhappy either way. Consider this question: Would you rather walk away soon or wait until later when you’re deeper in the relationship when it hurts even more to leave?
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve