Overcoming Controlling Behavior in Relationships: A Comprehensive Guide (2023)


Controlling behavior can be detrimental to relationships, causing stress, oppression, and potential damage. If you find yourself struggling with the urge to control your partner, it's crucial to address this issue for the well-being of your relationship. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore effective strategies to stop being controlling and foster healthier connections.

1. Understanding the Root Cause

Controlling tendencies often stem from anxiety and fear, seeking predictability to avoid unexpected disruptions. Identifying the root cause, whether it's past trauma, a need for control due to a tumultuous upbringing, or insecurities, is the first step towards change.

2. Building Trust

Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship. Work on overcoming trust issues, whether they arise from past experiences of abandonment or betrayal. Collaborate with your partner to build trust mutually and recognize the importance of trusting each other's intentions.

3. Avoid Solving Every Problem

Resist the urge to solve all your partner's problems or make decisions for them. Allowing your partner to take responsibility for their choices fosters independence and prevents feelings of suffocation.

4. Effective Communication

The way you communicate significantly influences how your message is received. Replace curt and direct language with politeness and consideration. Softening your approach enhances the perception of your message and promotes a healthier interaction.

5. Relinquishing Control of Outcomes

Recognize that everyone has different standards for success. Allowing others the freedom to accomplish tasks in their way reduces control-related tensions. Address situations where individuals feign incompetence or shirk responsibilities through open communication.

6. Seek Professional Help

Changing controlling behavior often requires professional guidance. Consider consulting a certified mental health counselor or a relationship expert to delve into the underlying causes and develop effective coping mechanisms.

7. Prioritize Your Partner's Needs

Shift focus from your needs to a balanced consideration of both partners' desires. Compromise and rationality play crucial roles in maintaining a healthy relationship.

8. Avoid Judging Your Partner

Judging your partner for perceived flaws exacerbates insecurities. Embrace a more loving perspective, understanding that differences contribute to a richer relationship.

9. Address Insecurities

Insecurities fuel controlling behavior. Identify and address insecurities through self-reflection and personal growth, preventing them from undermining your relationship.

10. Break Free from Past Relationships

Refrain from punishing your current partner for the mistakes of past relationships. Allow your partner the opportunity to prove themselves and avoid projecting past grievances onto your current relationship.

11. Stress Management

Effectively managing stress is integral to reducing controlling behavior. Evaluate stressors in your life, seek ways to reduce or eliminate them, and adopt healthy coping mechanisms.

12. Embrace Change and New Experiences

Control often arises from a desire to maintain the status quo. Embrace change and new experiences, allowing personal and relational growth.

13. Appreciate Differences

Celebrate the differences between you and your partner. Acceptance fosters mutual respect, contributing to a more harmonious relationship.

14. Singlehood and Self-Exploration

If single, take the time to work on yourself before entering a new relationship. Embrace singlehood as an opportunity for self-discovery and personal development.

15. Challenge Yourself with Realistic Goals

Redirect the need for control towards personal goals. Setting and achieving realistic objectives boosts self-confidence and diminishes the desire to control external factors.


Overcoming controlling behavior is a process that requires self-awareness, effort, and often professional guidance. By implementing these strategies, you can cultivate a relationship built on trust, communication, and mutual respect, fostering a healthier and more fulfilling connection with your partner.

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