Controlling people are defined by a fixed perspective and a near unshakable conviction that their way is the only way. The US President is a notorious example of this domineering attitude. Add a massive dose of power, stir in a gallon of media coverage and you have a recipe for near-constant controversy on an international level. So, let’s put President Trump’s temperament to good use and utilise this as a learning opportunity. Here are 5 ways to deal with controlling individuals.
- Manage your expectations. Controlling people don’t understand how or why anyone would see the world differently to themselves, so be prepared for criticism and a breach of normal boundaries. Trump’s recent handling of the expulsion of US diplomats from Russia included a sarcastic “thank you” to Congress and a statement relaying that a few less embassy employees is great for the national budget anyway. If you keep your expectations realistic, you have a better chance of protecting your emotions and managing the situation.
- Stay calm and stand your ground. Trump has shown his displeasure with China’s “lack of action” toward North Korea through blatant threats toward trade agreements and a recent display with a US destroyer. Despite his efforts, the President failed to elicit any reaction other than a calm but firm statement. “China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the US side.” You can’t change a controlling person’s behaviour but you can control your own actions.
- If you don’t have to argue with them – don’t. Patricia Evans, author of Controlling People, recommends that instead of validating what the controlling person is saying, question them in order to break the false perception of control created. Trump says that you can never be too greedy, so go with your gut instinct and question the hell out of that.
- Keep a dialogue open so that you can establish your boundaries and limits clearly. If the controlling person is a co-worker or family member, you will need to be able to speak to them, without aggression, to make sure they know when their actions are unacceptable. This is hard to do on an international level but Cuba is giving it their best shot, letting the US know that they are still open to talking, despite Trump re-tightening the embargo that Obama previously worked to loosen.
- Limit your interactions as much as possible. With Trump, the best we can do is stay off Twitter, but in day-to-day life try to keep your conversations brief, limit them to small talk and don’t be afraid to walk away from toxic people.