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Controlling People: Signs of a Controlling Person and How to Deal with Them

Alicia was once free, happy, and prosperous. She regularly met with friends, enjoyed working, and made many decisions on her own until two years in a relationship with Randy. Her boyfriend began to control Alicia. She had no idea what was going on. Controlling people can do that.

Alicia didn’t think her boyfriend was someone with a controlling personality – two years later she is still confused about her boyfriend’s behavior. She tells her friends that Randy controls what she does and how she feels, but they say it’s typical for men to behave that way. She has gone to a counselor. Everyone says to work on her relationship more. Alicia sometimes thinks if she loves Randy more, he will change.

Few people know the signs of a controlling personality. You could even be unaware you’re a controlling person. By the time such behaviors are evident, years of misery pass in the relationship with much verbal or physical abuse. The sooner you can identify the signs of controlling men or women, and how to handle these people (but more importantly yourself) with the advice I’ll give you in this article, the better you’ll protect yourself from a dangerous person who can create an abusive relationship.

How a Controlling Personality Develops

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.Thomas Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

How we perceive and judge information is the secret to understand controlling behavior from a friend or stranger. Psychologist Carl Jung discovered that people have four psychological functions:

  1. Sensing (“It smells nice”, “I need to touch it first”, “Let me see it”)
  2. Intuiting (“I have a feeling something bad will happen”, “I bet today is going to go wonderfully”, “I sense there’s something special about you”)
  3. Thinking (“Lets look at the problem logically”, “It doesn’t match the set criteria”, “That happened before”)
  4. Feeling (“I feel pain”, “I love the energy in this room”, “It feels right”)

The sensate and intuit functions gather and perceive information. The thought and feeling functions evaluate and judge the information. You can see the four psychological functions and their relationships represented below.

Four psychological functions key to understand controlling people
The four psychological functions according to Carl Jung.

You might know these functions through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). All four functions serve an important part of the healthy human personality. The MBTI states that we have predominate functions and rely on other functions to a lesser degree. You rely on the sensate function by trusting your five senses (“I love the taste of this new recipe”), but at the same time you still receive messages from your intuition (“Customers are going to enjoy this new recipe”).

While the healthy person is connected to these four functions, the controlling person is unaware of one or more functions and unaware of one’s dictating behavior. Patricia Evans, author of Controlling People, says a controlling personality begins when one of the four functions are blocked, which leads to poor self-understanding and a blindness to one’s behavior. Once a guy loses a connection with himself, which formed his reality, control is pursued in the exterior world.

Men typically control others when their feeling function is blocked. Males have been told: “don’t feel pain”, “real men don’t cry”, “you’re too sensitive”, “men must stay strong”, and “if you get emotional, you lose”. A young boy cuts his knee and cries to which his father responds, “That doesn’t hurt so stop crying.” Gradually the boy disconnects from himself then ignores his feeling function. The boy’s inner reality is negated by others who tell him his feelings are wrong.

Once a guy loses a connection with himself, which formed his reality, control is pursued in the exterior world.

Disconnection is natural, yet ongoing disconnection is dangerous. It is necessary for a soldier to block his feeling function to get through the blood and brutality of war, but if the temporary blockage becomes permanent, he loses awareness of the feeling function. The soldier returns from war unsure how to feel pain and joy and struggles to empathize with someone in distress. Trauma, culture, and parents are the primary reasons people disconnect.

The four functions are necessary for survival. Without attention to bad-tasting food, a vibe that warns you of a dangerous location, obscure rationale, and another’s feelings, safety is jeopardized. A soldier deeply connected to pain in battle struggles to survive.

When a person permanently disconnects, an identity problem arises. The person’s psyche is violated. Once a person cannot believe his own senses, intuition, thoughts, or feelings, what consistency can be established to form the person’s identity? Identity and control must be established in the only other way possible: by controlling people.

Evan’s terms this a “backwards connection”. If people are not self-aware of inner experiences, they form their identity from the outside-in instead of the inside-out. While healthy people construct their identity from experiences via the four functions, soon-to-be controllers construct themselves by a desired self-image or what others think one should be like. Controllers define another person’s reality. Intergenerational behavior leads them to treat their partners or children the same way they were treated.

The Dark Dangerous Secret of a Controller

Healthy, authentic persons realize authenticity in others. Controllers on the other hand, hate authenticity. Their experiences are unknown so they circumvent others from their experiences.

The controller molds his or her partner or child into the desired person then connects to that fake person. A controlling husband can say he loves his wife, but he really loves the perfect wife constructed in his mind. This is one reason women struggle to address a controlling husband. Victims are so blinded by this pretend love, thinking the person who defines and controls him or her is truly in love.

Victims are so blinded by this pretend love, thinking the person who defines and controls him or her is truly in love.

Controlling and abusive relationships are common in marriages because one spouse does not fit “Prince Charming” or “Princess”. It is impossible anyway for these personas to be realized.

In our example, Randy creates a backwards connection by connecting to the fake Alicia. She has senses, intuition, thoughts, and feelings Randy ignores because her experiences fail to match up to the idealized princess. This leaves Alicia feeling confused, invalidated, and ignored.

The ideal image knows what the controller wants, feels, and thinks. Controllers assume “one mind” with their victims. If the controlled person fails to behave congruently with the ideal image by mind-reading the controller, the person is often ignored, abused, argued against, or told what to be, say, and feel in an attempt to negate authenticity and mold into the unattainable image.

Victims like a woman who try to be the perfect wife based on the abuse received from her controlling husband cannot consistently be the idealized image. Moments of genuineness always show – they are who the person really is after all.

Controllers do not see their behavior for what it is, however. Most are completely dumbfounded as to why they control others. If you are a controller, you will not know why you behave hurtfully towards one or two victims of your controlling behavior while most people see you as a beautiful, nice, caring person. Pleas for help can easily go ignored for the behavior is deceptive.

Controllers assume ‘one mind’ with their victims.

Blame blinds controllers. Rapists, murderers, and others convicted of assault say it was the victim’s fault because the victims showed authenticity that stirred the perpetrator to eliminate. Controllers never take responsibility for their behavior and instead accuse their victims who “deserved it”. Battered wives are blamed, beaten-down, and belittled by abusive husbands who believe their spouses are responsible for their rage. Criminals can sit in their prison cell and still blindly conclude their victims are the reason one is imprisoned.

2 Major Signs of Controlling People

The best sign to identify a controlling man or woman is to see if the person assumes one mind. I would assume one mind with you if I became angry over you not knowing what I wanted.

One-mindedness is a warning sign of a controlling person because the ideal image knows what the controlling person wants, thinks, and feels. The moment this perfect understanding is brought back to reality with a question, rage can form. If Alicia asks Randy, “When will you be back?” “Why do you treat me like this?” and “Why can’t I satisfy you?”, he could show controlling behavior like avoiding, arguing, or abusing her.

A second major warning sign of a controlling person is they define you. I would define you by telling you what you think and feel.

A controlling person defines victims based on the ideal image. Authenticity is neglected. What a victim really feels and thinks is replaced by the controlling person’s definition. The definition forms a fantasy, trying to pull the victim back into the perfect persona. You can see this in the following situations in which Alicia is defined by Randy:

Other Signs of Controllers?

Most additional signs of controlling people are derived from the major two warning signs of one-mindedness and defining others:

  • Intense jealousy is a sign that shows when the victim displays interest in others, meaning the ideal image is not focused on the controller
  • The controller belittles the victim, attempting to destroy any authenticity
  • The controller says he or she will change after an episode of rage, but no change results
  • The controller blames one’s anger on others
  • The controller isolates the victim
  • Lavishes the victim with gifts in aim of making the person entirely dependent
  • Close-mindedness shows the person lives in the fantasy world
  • Alicia says, “I want to order chicken teriyaki.” Randy replies, “Don’t get it because you won’t like chicken teriyaki.”
  • Alicia says, “I’m trying.” Randy replies, “You’re not trying!”
  • Alicia says, “Please don’t treat me that way.” Randy replies, “You always try to blame me for what happens to you! It’s your own bloody fault you get treated that way!”
  • Alicia says, “I’m feeling sad.” Randy replies, “Stop trying to manipulate me.”
  • Alicia says, “I want to work again.” Randy replies, “You don’t know what you want.”

Randy defines Alicia. He destroys her authenticity by molding her into his idealized image.

Most of the responses defining Alicia are paradoxical. Controllers create the exact opposite of what they try to achieve:

  1. They try to get close by barking orders, but their controlling behavior creates distance
  2. They try to show power by belittling others, but their controlling behavior shows inferiority
  3. They try to show wisdom and intelligence by disproving a victim’s point of view, but their controlling behavior shows incomprehension and shallowness
  4. They think their perception is clear, but it is unclear

Intimacy is a paradoxical outcome avoided. The controller attempts to fulfill a need of closeness with the victim, yet true closeness is never achieved when the connection is with an inauthentic person. You cannot be intimate with a controller. Intimacy requires two persons to understand their feelings and connect with each for who they really are. Controllers cannot get intimate because they lack one or more of the four operational functions.

If you control someone, seeing theses signs is usually enough to make you see firsthand the false reality you live in and what you need to bring yourself back into an authentic world. Some recovering controllers see the severity of their behavior and cannot kill it so they respect their victims by ending a relationship to seek healing.

How to Deal with a Controlling Person

Now you can recognize and understand a controlling person – maybe you even identified some characteristics in yourself – I’ll share with you the secrets to manage a person who tries to control you.

The first step to deal with a controlling person is to believe no one knows exactly how you feel and think. Victims of abuse can have their self-esteem pummeled heavily into the ground that they believe abusers more than themselves. Someone cannot define you – not even a psychologist. It is vital you acknowledge and believe your self-understanding over what a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, father or mother, manager or employee tells you.

The second step to deal with a controller uses the one-mindedness warning sign. Identify when the person trespasses your “psychic boundary”. Similar to the first step, detect trespasses by seeing what someone does when they attempt to define you. While the first step is an acknowledgment and belief before controlling behavior surfaces, this second step reinforces the first step the moment someone controls you.

Though you are a victim of someone’s hurtful behavior, you are responsible for your response.

The third step is to speak up to controlling people. You cannot shatter the idealized image placed on you until you speak up to face the problem. Though you are a victim of someone’s hurtful behavior, you are responsible for your response. (Tweet this quote.)

The fourth step uses the “What?” technique taught by Evans who says victims fall into the false reality controllers create by arguing with them. Most people respond to controllers by trying to contradict the nonsense such as: “I do love chicken teriyaki!” “Far out, I try so hard!” “I am sad… You don’t know how I feel!” Here is a sample dialog between Randy and Alicia who sticks to her habits by arguing with Randy, which is ineffective:

“I want to work again,” says Alicia.
“You don’t know what you want,” replies Randy.
“I do want to work again. I have a desire to pursue my photography career.”
“You don’t really like photography! Keep doing what you’re doing now.”
“No! I’ve been looking at some photography magazines and I really want to do it!”
“Where are those magazines? GIVE THEM TO ME SO I CAN TEAR THE DAMN THINGS UP YOU F***** B****!”

Do not argue with a person who defines you. Evans recommends you do not even validate what they say through argument. You instead ask, “What?” or variations of it repeatedly. Other responses Alicia and you can use that do not validate a controller’s remarks are, “Cut it out”, “Quit that”, and “What are you doing?” Here is a sample dialog between Randy and Alicia who uses variations recommended by Evans:

“I want to work again,” says Alicia.
“You don’t know what you want,” replies Randy.
“You don’t know what you want.”
(For the first time Randy realizes something is going on.) “Cut it out. You heard me. You don’t want to work again.”

A word of warning using this fourth step: do not use it on a dangerous person. It is too threatening to use on someone who can potentially go into rage. Protect yourself, protect your children. Be careful when you deal with a controller because they fight to keep their reality alive. A cut to their reality is perceived as death.

No controlling person is going to change their behavior through one conversation. The above dialog between Alicia and Randy is the start of healing. Controllers need to see for themselves the backward connections they have created with others.

Leaving a Controlling Relationship

Humility means accepting reality with no attempt to outsmart it.David Richo, The Five Things We Cannot Change

If you decide to leave a controller, their fake reality weakens. They may not change, but many do realize what their behavior did to themselves and the lives of their victims.

Be careful when you deal with a controller because they fight to keep their reality alive.

There are shelters that help sufferers of abuse should you leave a controlling spouse. Other options you can consider is to stay with family and friends and contact the police. Do something about the problem for the safety and happiness of yourself and your children.

Children in controlling relationships need help otherwise they are at risk of dictating others later in life. The moment a child’s fundamental needs remain unfilled, the child escapes to a fake world where those needs are met.

Psychotherapists say a common object in which a child obtains these needs is from a toy like a teddy bear. The bear is spoken to as an idealized person, always listening, always knowing, always understanding the child. The teddy is defined by the child and is one mind with the child. Later in the life the toy is projected onto others who get controlled by the person.

The intergenerational transmission of control cycles again unless it is stopped. Now is the time to deal with controlling people to take control of what is controlling you.

If you suspect someone is in a controlling relationship, possibly the greatest gift you can give them right now is an understanding and freedom from controllers by telling the person about this article. Share this article by email, post it on Facebook, or tweet it.

(To discover more on one-mindedness, checkout chapter three of my Communication Secrets of Powerful People program, which reveals this communication barrier many people use. You can learn more about the program that can help you better communicate in your relationships here. If you want to become whole again and connect with suppressed parts of yourself so you can easily connect with people, my other program Big Talk: Effortlessly Talk to Win Friends with the Real You is a breakthrough solution you can discover here.)

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Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

Joshua Uebergang, aka "Tower of Power", teaches social skills to help shy guys build friends and influence people. Visit his blog and sign-up free to get communication techniques, relationship-boosting strategies, and life-building tips by email, along with blog updates, and more! Go now to


Ate Emi

i’m also a victim of controlling behavior since childhood. too sad because the controller is my very own mother. i’m already in my 40’s but until now, she never changes. she never listens to what i say, never tries to feel how i feel, she’s just very much preoccupied with her own beliefs which she would like to dictate to others. (she also does that to my father, which is oftentimes the source of a heated argument.)


Wow, sounds like my mother! I am 46 and have been living with my mother for the past year, due to leaving a bad relationship. Think i just left one and went to another…lol. She is rude, sarcastic, spiteful, controlling and just downright mean. She treats me like a child, and tells me “don’t ask questions, just do what i tell you to do”. I have no other place to go unfortunately

zipporah nderitu

Thanks so much.
I now understand how to effectively deal with my controlling pals without ultimately defying their orders.
keep me learning more.
kind regards.

Nuwagaba Vincent

Thanks Joshua. Though it’s been a while since I heard from you, this article has interested me. Keep updating us on issues happening in this dynamic world. Keep it man

Thomas Senaji

This is a terrific article and provides invaluable insights regarding controlling.
Thank you

Thomas Saenaji, ABD


thanks joshua. i have learnt a lot in this article. i have been with two controllers in my life, my own father and husband. i have been trying to defend myself in most situations because they act as if am not hurt by actions and hence dont listen to me or try to understand what i feel. i guess controllers are also perfectionists who think they are right in everything and do not make mistakes in life thus they end up blaming other people for the wrongs that happen in their lives.


This article is brilliant and the best I’ve read. I have also read Patricia Evans’ book “controlling people” and many others as I’m studying this behavior. It is an excellent preview of the book and goes a long way to summarize some fairly complex theory..

It may be useful for people to know there is a forum (search on – Men Ending Verbal Abuse and Control).

People who have been/are abusers are advised to visit this site as should victims of abuse. The people there are very friendly and can help VAC’s and victims through a lot of care and support.

coral blazely

Thanks for your article. I do see some characteristics about myself but my main concern is for a eleven and 10 yr old grandchildren. I contacted docs on my granddaughters behalf she refused to go home for over seven weeks but after docs visit her parents got her back they got to her before their interview with docs. Now the girl is drawn into herself she is not aloud talk to us or eat anything at our house the father is a mind control freak if its not done his way its not done at all. My daughter has been belted in past at present he has avo for belting me he is non-confrontational you cannot reason with him without violence. He has told the boy if anyone hits him at school to hit them back. The father has a hate for women stemming back to his childhood. My daughter has been fully controlled by him believing everything he tells her. He has been bullying us for eleven yrs. I’m afraid for my grandchildren. Has anyone got any suggestion? Thank you

phoebe sebushumba

Thanks Joshua, It has been a while since I heard from you, this article has realy interested me continue updating me on issues happening around us.KEEP IT UP


Great article. On some occasions I have control issues. I have to work on it.


I would like to give Omar props for being so brave to admit he has things to work on. Don’t we all?! Omar, the fact that you are willing, ready and able to acknowledge that you are imperpect goves me great hope for your success.



it gives me new insights into the peoples life and thought processess
kudos to you for writing this article


after reading this I see that I am a controller. I need help before i loose my job and family. Like you say, I did not know about this so please send more on how I can began to heal and communicate with others in a loving way with out hurting them or their feelings. Today I received a write up because of the way i communicate to others. 😳


i have gotten this article in my box for so long without reading it. thank God today is a great day because i had the opportunity of reading it,through it i got to know that i am a controller who needs great help. Because of this small but dangerous thing,i have lost so many great realationship. Hmm!! it is time to change before it is too late. help!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mercy Uzoma

Thanks Joshua, am happy connecting with you again after a while. This article is an eye opener for me. I am really blessed reading it.


😐 Thanx so much Joshua for I have really learnt alot from the article and it’s
time to put that in practice. You are the best teacher

Rick K

Thanks Joshua, very enlightening. I have searched many blogs on this subject, and all have very similar but the same basic conclusions about controlling people.

To date however I have not yet found anyone that addresses the controlling person specifically from the perspective of one of our most basic human attributes: Free Will. In order for a controlling person to take over a person’s mind/actions, he/she must deprive the victim of their free will to a greater or lesser extent. The operative word here being “deprive”. We all freely resign a certain amount of our own free will to our superiors, bosses, or as courtesy to friends/relatives/team members, to deny ourselves for their comfort, success and happiness. But it’s a voluntary act, we do “freely”. In my own experience, the controlling person is threatened by the free spirit, and uses domination and force, against the victim’s will, to obtain control. In many ways it’s a form of mind rape, an assult on the very fabric of what makes us unique individuals. Just as a rape victim is violated, a controller violates the sanctity of the victim’s free will and genuineness by crushing it, and intruding and encroaching uninvited into its boundaries, carving a portion of their soul. In my opinion, free will must be cherished and treated with respect and admiration, and never taken for granted in the course of interactions within a relationship. I feel controlling people do not see the deep hurt, pain and anguish they cause, and if confronted by it, they are dismissive, and think you should just suck it up. But when the tables are turned and they feel hurt and offended, they become wailing banshees, and make the world know how badly they’ve been offended. Controllers are truly a piece of work.

Joshua, if you can further look into this aspect of controllers vs free will, it would be much appreciated.


Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

Hey Rick. Thanks for your comment.

Yes, as I mentioned controlling people do not see the pain they cause. They see the teddy bear.

I have written about controllers and free will in my Communication Secrets of Powerful People program. Go to the chapter on ordering and you’ll see the irrational nature of how we seek freedom. Just like you Rick, I’ve never seen anyone else discuss this topic (other than what I reveal in the program).


Hello Joshua.

Thank you for people like you who are enlightend enough to help people who arent! I was a controller and lost a very beautiful relationship through being blind and unbalanced!…about halfway into my marriage my wife was so hurt that she completely withdrew and that sparked my thinking that maybe the fault lies with me …I subsequently discovered that I was TOTALLY at fault and realized that this is the very thing Jesus is talking about when he mentions the so called “sins of our fathers”!..In my case it was my Mother!…I realized and broke the curse…but unfortunately it was to late for my relationship with my wife but it wasn’t to late for my little girl to grow up being loved and understood from now on! ….My question to you is how do we eradicate this type of stuff and put a stop to it for our future generations benefit!…I know I can make a difference in someones life now and catch it before it is to late but I feel we as a human species is so full of dysfunction that its rather frightening…How do you know what Light is if all you have experienced was darkness?

Thank you for your great way of teaching
Keep it up, You do make a difference
Greetings and peace

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

The dark sides of our behavior will never be eradicated, Desmond. Mine and yours still exist and will forever exist. The more I learn, the more pain I see in the world – especially in my own life.

As I say in my Communication Secrets of Powerful People program, you can stick with the blue pill and be protected by what you know, what others live by; or you can take the red pill, see the harsh reality, and use that to live a joy-filled life.

Imperfection does not make you dysfunctional. What makes someone dysfunctional is their unwillingness to correct a broken part – some therapists would even hate that judgmental definition. Your goal isn’t an end state of perfection, but one of journey. An ideal end state doesn’t have to be achieved for happiness.

For more information on acceptance and dark sides, get my Big Talk Training Course.

near dear

🙄 😛 Hi Joshua, I am new to your website, though I became a devotee of NVC previously. In brief, thanks alot for this article. I found it very informative and helpful. Best holiday wishes! -near dear


Look, I disagree that controlling parents produce controlling children. My mother was not particularly controlling when I was a child but she has destroyed my home and still tries to control me and my sons, sneaking around behind our backs to our family or friends or even work. I am not at all a controlling person. I am tired of being controlled and the tragedy that happened to my family is known only to me and my sons.


Dear Autumn

The reality is that *some* controlling parents DO produce controlling children and the control can be passed through the generations – sometimes even in the form of verbal and physical violence or more discretely as disorders like NPD.

It might be a “teddy”/backward connection – best explained by Patricia Evans in “Controlling People” or might be this is not the perfect website for you because (Big) maybe you should explore the fact that your mother is a sociopath (psychopath) and read “the sociopath next door” by Martha Stout – then follow the advice she gives.

My observation is that your opening sentence denies one reality and it would make sense that you are angry with your mother and blame her for something.
Often it helps to seek professional advice – particularly as you speak of tragedy which may have a corresponding trauma.

Patricia Evans

I am Patricia Evans, the author of “Controlling People” and am glad that the word is getting out from your article and others about this problem. I’ve heard from at least 30,000 people, (mostly women) who have tried to understand why their significant other defines their inner world, motives, etc. I’ve consulted to over 900 people and many controllers have changed and stopped attempting to control their mates. If you have been controlling or are dealing with a controller, I recommend you look at for help. Many links, much information!


My mother-in-law and all the other in-laws blame me saying that I took my husband away from them. My mother-in-law says that I have to do as I am told and be controlled. I am not a dog on a leash. I find in this family you have to be controlled by the sister who controls her 4 brothers and sisters-in-law who listen as well and told what to buy and not buy and they meddle in your own affairs, criticize you (like immature school kids), judge you and belittle if you are doing well. I can’t believe I cannot live where I want to without being told off. I have never known a controlling and domineering family like them. There is one violent bully sister-in-law telling me I can’t talk to her like that but she can be scream and get violent with me. This doesn’t make sense. The best thing is that I keep away from this nasty and jealous family. I have a right to be me. I cannot be something I’m not and told what to do and not do. The sad thing is that my daughter does not know who are cousins well because of the poison their parents spread and the way they treated her as well. This has been hard because they have slandered my name with all the other cousins and I don’t have a say to assert my rights to speak up.


Thank you for this article. I have very recently become aware of my husbands controlling behavior. The irony is, my mother had the same personality. I have been struggling for 55 years to overcome, I will not give up. Can you comment on the controller who prefaces their statements with a “disclaimer”? eg: I know you think you know what what you are doing, but you don’t reaslise etc…
Thanks again.



The irony you speak of is quite common since manipulators tend to assess those they can manipulate. IMHO they are configured to be more preditory/manipulative than one like you and you are configured to be a victim of their behaviour.

You may be interested to read a book called “the gaslight effect” by Dr. Robin Stern. She has her own website also,

The book explains how to recognise emotional manipulation and how best to respond and thus cope it.


Chrissy H.

I have been helped so much by reading this. you described the relationship I just left exactly. it’s almost like you were living in my house. You gave me such insight into what I was going through as someone being controlled. I know what happened to the controller in my case, it was parents and is definitely an inter-generational thing. the whole family is lke that. I am so glad I am out and I can heal. Now I know the signs, thank you, thank you.


Thanks a lot for this article, Sir..I loved the part stating that victims some times beleive their abusers more than themselves.. thats exactly what happened..thanks for helping me know myself better..


😥 I am so upset about this “intergeneraltional” stuff being continued. My mother is controlling and I did not see it or it did not happen until I was in high school. And she destroyed my home and family by causing my husband to have a nervous break down. And her attitude is “you are not going to be allowed to have a life!” Everybody else thinks she is wonderful and she lies about me to them. But I myself am not a controlling person at all. Nothing could be farther from the truth.


Wow, I’m really encouraged to see that some controlling people can actually recognize their problem and change! How can I HELP my husband see this about himself?? I stand up to him and so do our kids, probably largely due to my example, but I’m sick to death of it even though I hardly let him hurt me anymore (psychologically) because I am pretty strong inside and getting stronger all the time. If he’s learned anything it’s that his techniques are just ineffective and I guess he’s baffled about that, LOL … he just causes so much chaos and we are all so happy when he’s not home. …. pretty sad, huh?



You may find useful to share your experience with other women (victims of this sort of abuse). MEVAC is Men Ending Verbal Abuse And Control. Men in the forum are taking positive steps to recognize and deal with their controlling issues – essentially there are real life examples and discussed from both sides.

Just reading these recent posts reminds me: a victim told me it took her ages to get her mind back, to know what she liked and not just what he (her ex husband) liked. She went on to say she’d now recovered and he had no way of controlling her. A few weeks later I got a letter from her pleading for help in response to the court action the controller had begun. The first of 3 against her by him last year.

Their son (living with the controller) wrote in an email indicating his mother is mad and can’t be trusted. Another verbally abused woman – the current partner of the controller – also believes the natural mother is crazy.

The head of the household is a “general in charge of a unit” doing all the thinking and may not be questioned.

Amazing to witness, hard to believe but tragic for the women esp. the mother and her son.


Great insight to a weighty problem!!


wow, amazing content and article! thank you very much. :mrgreen:

pam elliott

My husband was very controlling, it was more emotional and psychological than physical abuse although there was that at times, anyway i managed to leave with my 2 daughters 10 years ago they are now 22 and 16, the 22 will not have anything to do with me and is so conditioned by her father and the 16 year old has many traits of her father what do i do?? as the 16 year old is living with me. Please help


Pam. Search the internet for “Parental alienation syndrome”, there are other resources on the subject.

Having help from friends and other family members helps children come to terms with the reality but it is a process.

I did actually start a forum a few months back but never gone public with it since I’ve not had time to populate it as much as possible. There’s a link in an earlier comment of mine. If you want to be the first poster then please do it anonymously and I hope others that stumble across your posting will be able share some experiences.


Thanks for this article. It helps to see how others as well as our selves can be our own control freaks sometimes. Like I know I can be a control freak and I know it is because I have experienced some of these same responses against my own real self.

Vanessa Callahan

I just left a controlling and manipulative man. When he threatened any continued friendship in order to get me to buy him something, then I woke up and any mixed feelings I had about leaving vanished.


Hobby psychology is fairly infantile intellectual territory. If, however, you must attain some form of validation I should strongly urge you to re-read your Psychology 101 books.

Jungian psychology is not what it once was. Well, in truth, it never was; societal perception transforms over time.

Behaviorism is due for a revival any day now. It’s the go-to headline of the nouveau pseudo-intellectual.


This is the best article I’ve ever read on the Internet.


😥 i have a 5 yr old daughter & my exhusband is controlling her to get to me. she wont open yo a counselor. where do i go for help. i am fighting for full custody.


Great stuff. I am not a fan of Jungian psychology but I agree with alot of things in this article. See Dr. Al Bernsteins work on ’emotional vampires’. good stuff! Peace!


Very insightful article, very useful concepts and guidance on reclaiming power. Thank you for sharing this!

Bonnie Grenier

Wow, did this ever help me! Thank you. I have an identical twin sister who has been demanding and controlling me all my 53 years. She has hit me, broken my hand, beaten up my friends, and threw me and my husband out of her house 2 days after Christmas. To complicate things, she and my brother (and his wife) also abuse alcohol. We travelled for 8 hours from Iowa to Michigan to see them, for this. Not ever again.


😛 wow
What an amazing informative article, i am so sorry some people have already grown up. My Muslim father is Randy through and through. Believe me, many Muslim men are like him and many are not. Thank you so damn much. thank you. You saved Me Joshua. Dam what an article!! 🙂

E Flack

This is a great article. Another thing to note is that controlling people are insecure, hence working from the outside in. I am sure this is known just wanted to point out.


What to do when the hubby now ex is a police officer. You do NOT call the boys in blue because they all stick up for each other. Beware anyone married to an officer.


“Emma” – I posted something here for you.

Its not a cure but more of a message that police officers are not immune to the law, you can undermine the cult of the controller and reverse the doubt the controller causes in your own mind.

I feel a gentle slap from PE and other SME’s coming my way for what I am about to write here:

“Frustrated” – its not my place to recommend meds and as this is the role of a doctor/psychiatrist – however, “in too deep” – while there are many reasons to be trapped in a relationship (financial, children), one of them is the “tethering” to the other person which is the emotional connection.
At one end of the connection you can visualize your emotional needs and the other those of your partners.

It is possible (subject to circumstances) to release it at one end:

There are certain meds (anti depressants) that have side effects that can disrupt that emotional connect – such as making the victim emotionally cold(er).

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is something psychopaths lack. If your EI is zero’d out then you can have a different take on things and may be able to withdraw from a destructive situation.

I tested Citalopram and EI was not available to me (not same for all individuals – its a side effect of the drug). EI returned after the test.

Interestingly, when you have lost your EI you have no concept of what the phenomena is – even though you had it before.


BTW, because you lack EI (temporary or otherwise) you do not suddenly become a psychopath!

If the SME’s want to discuss they can pm the admin at or gmail me.


This is an awesome website. But when the victim is in too deep, and their life is on the line, and they are just too scared and immune to what has beeen going on…how can we help them, how do we make them do the right thing…because we cannot force anyone, they need to choose for themselves, but how…


Is it controlling behavior when he tells me stuff like ‘none of your friends like you, they all laugh about you’ and ‘once they get past your looks they’ll realise the loser freak you are and leave.’ tells me guys only talk to me because they want sex, accuses me of lying when i’m not. He ignores me and if i block him out of my life he makes out i’m being stupid, he changes his story, one minute i’m the special one the next he never liked me. he purposely goes to places with girls i know just to punish me for ‘telling him what to do’ when i wasn;t even doing that. makes out i’m stupid and patronizes me, he says ‘he has to look after me’ and makes out he’s so much more experienced because he’s older.. he says hes doing things for my own good which really aren’t helping. he has an excuse for EVERYTHING! and i have to agree with him constantly. he says things like ‘you’re lucky i still talk to you after what you’ve done’. hes constantly making out i’m pathetic and needy and helpless. i think hes controlling me but i’m not sure because he makes it all seem so believable.


Thanks much for this article.

I really hate controlling person, make my life worst.
But, now I fell confidence after read this article.

Controlling person makes others feel stupid and she/he always think that he/she was a best person on a world.


Thank you for his great article you safe my life. Im now just recently married, I love and care about my husband and I want to help him not becoming a dangerous controller, Please sending me more about it. Many Thanks


This is simply outstanding. My psychology coursework brought me here. And I am an ardent follower from now onwards!! Peace n Blessings! Good Job Joshua 🙂


how about you are not eating that pizza now ?

how about someone going thru your entire food shopping bill item by item of what you are allowed to buy

how about being told you are not watching tv now

how about someone yelling at you to stop walking in and out of a door

How about someone handing you a menu and pointing out the special of the day saying you would like this –


Mrs. Pandey

Hi Joshua – Excellent article. In our country, every second man is controlling or I will say being a male, he think this is his right to control all female whether it is his daughter, wife or mother.

[…] In this section you will get a series of techniques shared through a scenario to help you face an aggressive boss. Use as many techniques as you can in everyday life because assertive communication does more than help you handle an aggressive boss. Assertiveness helps you face aggressive people and other difficult personality types like controlling people. […]


Wow…Finally I feel like I got solution. I am a victim and this article is very good. Thank you Joshua,for understanding these complicated people and explaining to us in simple terms.


This article describes B.Mallonn completely -any women who have worked with this creep will know what we are talking about, all the women who knew him from his previous job knew what about his abusive harassment towards women, trying to control them, define them, ridicule, belittlement, etc, sexual harasser, abusive controller creep he that he is. We all said WHAT many times over in response to his nasty verbal abuse, but best bet is to get away as fast as possible and not have anything to so with him or people like him.

[…] simple Google search led to surprising results.The Australian blogger Joshua Uebergang aka Tower of Power has a great piece on Controlling People. Mental disconnection, dark secrets, and the need to […]


Totally Wow! I needed this today. I have been working my way through abusive relationships (mother, husband, so-called upstanding church people) all my life (which is about 3/4 over) but you have said everything I’ve learned, and more, and better, and the real encouraging thing is that I’ve been on the right track.

The sum total of my experiences is that we are not perfect people. We all have flaws. Mostly we are all cases of some kind of arrested development. Some are really stuck.

I personally think we cannot hope to attain perfection before we die. And we tend to trip each other up quite badly at times. But we can try to be headed, or even pointed, in the right direction.

And here’s my final analysis – we can get divine help. It really is there. I’d be dead or insane by now if it hadn’t been there.

Thanks for what your doing here and no talking heads without helpful results should be saying anything negative here. The proof is always in the pudding.

This is the first time I’ve ever commented on anything on line. I’m a bit timid, actually and I can’t believe in my own audacity. But this is very important stuff. Keep it up, please.

Henry Caldwell

Josh, you must be a politically correct “cool aid” drinker. Women are also controlling. You article reads as if only woman are victims of controlling personalities.
I’ve been in a nigh ten year custody battle with a controlling woman. How about if the mental health profession get off of their politically correct soap box and address issues such as control and domestic abuse in their true context: a human problem perpetrated by and suffered by both sexes.
Studies show that women more frequently batter than do men. Couple this with the fact that women more frequently have mental health issues than do men and the fact that it is women who are the primary parental alienators an inconvenient truth cokes to light: Men are as frequently if not more frequently battered and abused and controlled than are woman.
I find it reprehensible that mental health “professionals” indulge in politics as a part of their “therapy”

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

Henry, that’s something I didn’t address in the piece a few years ago. Yes, I didn’t do the topic justice as it goes both ways.

I have a family member who returned home one day in January this year to find his house emptied and children taken. He’s seen his children 3 times in all of 2014. A horrifying overnight exemplary of control in the physical and emotional realms.


Thank you Joshua! This article really helps me. My bf is a a control freak. I’m always degrading myself everytime I made mistake. It helps me to understand. 🙂 very enlightening!

you said it

The best sign to identify a controlling man or woman is to see if the person assumes one mind. ……

This is a great article albeit quite technical. The abuser does not “acknowledge” the other person has a mind of their own that needs to be consulted.

I already knew this in my recovery efforts and seeing it well spelled out helps me to fully accept my understanding.


I liked that someone mentioned free will. That is an important concern for me not to violate another’s free will. In the matter of controlling people, allowing their freedom to be, must not be infringed upon, yet they infringe upon me. Using the “what’s” and also I use “is that what you think?” So as not to agree or disagree, but it becomes exhausting when controller’s do not stop. Sometimes I cry from receiving verbal abuse because first, it is shocking and second, it lacks sensitivity and love. Most do not receive teachings how to love but mostly to have POWER OVER each other. Male and female were made equally, but different, to function as a unit. As long as we have government and religion teaching male superiority, equality will continue to be an ongoing battle with verbal abuse at the reigns.

under the bus

After another round of being blamed for my mother’s angry rant to siblings for my not doing what she wants…I found this wonderful article and posts. My older brother & sister gang up on me and tell me how I’ve disappointed our mother yet again. This time I stood up for myself, but year after year…nothing seems to stop the efforts to control somebody. I have never understood what their pay off is. I keep trying to get their approval and support or at the very least some small amount of respect. So far…all my efforts and energy go no where and I’m starting to see that I would be better off ending the fake relationships. I don’t think they have any friends. I feel bad for them, but why should I be beat up for them to feel in control or good. I’m thankful that God is still God and in control.


Thank you for sharing this article so long ago. I wish I had read this way back when as it would have maybe knocked me down a peg or two. I am not the victim but the one who tries to be controlling in arguments or tense situations. I am trying to find out how to break this habit of mine and this has helped me some. God has given me a wonderful spouse that has been very generous in helping me out all this time.

vicky lee

trying to break free from a controlling relationship (family)

I find it really hard, without any name calling or violence most people don’t see the relationship as harmful

But in my experience constantly being coached to be the person they want me to be is exhausting. Any conversation, information, any leads they can gather seem to be turned around and used to attempt to manipulate me into doing what they want me to do.

Have brought it up with them countless times how manipulative and self-serving people can be but they just do not ever get the hint.

Other than cutting off contact are there any other ways which really work to change the relationship?

So resentful that I didn’t get a loving family and just got stuck on a production line to make me another 2.4 children clone because that’s what they thought I should be

I know of lots of other people who wake up to their families controlling behaviour – but of course by the time you are in your late thirties being so far into debt they caused, with dependants they instigated and career they chose for you you’re kind of stuck and can’t just start anew even if you really wanted a different life

So so angry / I know they only do what they think is right but feel so invalidated and ignored / how many others are stuck in similar situations

it must sound really ungrateful and yes there are worse things in the world

seem to encounter countless other people who want to dominate me

i hope i can bring my children up to be better people who arent toxic


Hi there

Me and my boyfriend is going trough a tough time. He recently lost his job and his family is very involved because they care.
His older brother and mother comfort him to help him get over the shock but his sister on the other hand went totally crazy.

She controls him and says very hurtful things towards him and me, and the fact that he lost his job is somehow my fault, I don’t even work there.

Everything he does is my fault. She really hurt me with her words and actions. Because first she tells him what a disappointment he is to her and all the thins about me and my family , and then she takes him shopping just so he feels bad about himself again.

Please help I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown


One – mindedness… I’ve never heard of this concept before. Thanks for an enlightening article.


I have mental health issues, was in a bad place, I met a greedy and dirty woman, she smoked drugs, in front of me, she started to control me,getting me to dump rubbish, do jobs for her, made me lie to animal shelters, to give false information saying I had pets when I didn’t. often she would phone me. and arrange for us to go food banks, and tell me to ask for what she wanted. She often made excuses she didn’t feel well, so I would do things for her. she made me brake the law. by dumping rubbish, and taking money from me. I became wise she was controlling me. I stopped the friendship.she cannot look me in the eye when I have seen her.