Most of us care deeply for the people close to us. We want to see them happy and we also want their love, respect and acceptance. Unfortunately, in trying to achieve these things, many of us find that we become resentful of what we see as “demanding behavior.”
In our seminars, we often meet people who describe their mothers as “manipulative,” their partners as “selfish,” or their friends as “unreasonable.” They feel that they put so much energy into fulfilling the needs of other people that they are left with very little time to look after themselves. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. By following the relationship guidance below, you can put an end to your feelings of resentment.
How do I deal with demanding people or cope with their controlling habits?
First, Stop Labelling Them!
When you focus on what people “are” (demanding, controlling, manipulative) rather than what’s missing for you in your interactions with them you are giving away all your power.
By libelling your loved ones in any way, you place the full responsibility for improving matters upon them. If you believe that you are unhappy because they “are” selfish or unreasonable, you also believe that your problems cannot be resolved until they change their ways. This blame game prevents you from overcoming your hurt feelings and can lead to serious relationship disturbances.
Second, Take Back Responsibility For Your Own Happiness!
The first step to reclaiming control of your own happiness is to disconnect from the idea that other people are causing your emotional pain. Accepting the fact that it’s your own thought processes which are causing you to feel bad is the only way to move forward.
Once you do, you can then start to focus on what you “do want” in each situation. Ask yourself what is needed to create an outcome which is satisfying to everyone involved. When you know what you want you can begin looking at these situations as an opportunity to explore ways of meeting everyone’s needs and re-establishing or creating a healthy relationship.
Finally, Focus Your Attention on What You Want to Grow!
The first place to start in any challenging situation or when dealing with a relationship problem is by looking inside and acknowledging what part you are playing. Focusing on the actions of others prevents you from being able to notice productive solutions for your problems.
Here are a couple of re-focusing intervention techniques which can help you to stop labelling and establish what you “do want” in these situations:
Listen for times when you hear yourself saying things such as I don’t want, “I don’t like”, “I wish you wouldn’t” and “Would you stop”. As soon as possible, stop and write down what you “do want” or “would like” at these times.
Each time you notice yourself labelling another person, stop as soon as you can and ask yourself, “Do I want my label of them to guide my actions or do I want to create an outcome which is satisfying to everyone involved?” Notice if you feel any shift in what you want to do next.
By learning to create this quality of focus attention you’ll become more able to accept others as they are. When you accept your friends and family with all their strengths and weaknesses, you will all be more open to creating outcomes that everyone will enjoy.
Once you have this focused attention you can start practicing the following three step processing approach which will not only improve your own happiness but help to create truly magical relationships.
Three Steps For Creating Magical Relationships:
Step 1: Stop Playing the Blame Game!
Set aside any blame, judgment or anger that you feel towards your loved ones for the ways they have behaved in the past. Since you can’t STOP doing anything–you can only START doing something else–the easiest way to stop playing the blame game is by following the next steps number two and three.
Step 2: What Do You Value?
Discover what you value most deeply when interacting with other people. On our website we offer a free values exercise. We encourage you to download this exercise and use it to identify qualities that would bring you more joy into each of your less than satisfying relationships.
As an example, let’s say you notice you’re labelling your partner as “demanding” or your friend as “manipulative.” While doing the values exercise you may find that what you strongly value is cooperation.
If you experienced more cooperation in your relationship it would certainly bring more joy. Take responsibility for having more cooperation in your life by figuring out a specific way in which your loved one could have got what they wanted, while at the same time satisfying your own desire for cooperation.
Step 3: What do They Want?
Ask them for what you want. Ask if, in the future, they would be willing to try using the specific ideas you came up with which supported your need for cooperation.
By shifting your focus from what other people “are” to “what you want” in the situation, you can start the process of regaining the power to control your own happiness.
When you truly learn that your happiness does not depend on others, you free yourself from the resentment you feel towards others. Only then can you start finding ways to experience what you value, to discover what brings you more joy and, ultimately, to save your relationship.
Each of these three steps is designed to help you rid yourself of resentment so you can find happiness in your relationships again.
Please relax about this practice. Remember that we’ve all learned how to play the blame game early in our life, and it won’t disappear in a day.
But if you commit to this practice, we guarantee you’ll be much more likely to feel better, have more fun, and create the kind of success in your relationships that you truly want.