Most people in your circle are fair and will consider you how they want to be treated. However, that difficult or even toxic person always demands your time and attention. How can you spot these demanding people in your personal or professional relationships, and how do you protect yourself?
Throughout your life, there are degrees of difficult people you’ll encounter. Some are Type A personalities naturally domineering and pushy with their agendas. They may often be selfish and quick-tempered, but their ultimate goal isn’t necessarily to control you.
Then, you have the toxic lover, friend, or colleague who’ll use you in any way possible to get what they want. These difficult people want to control every aspect of your life. They zap your time, energy, and resources until you’re entirely depleted.
Ten Traits That Help You Identify a Demanding Person
Many controlling people can be so subtle that you may not notice that you’re being used. It may be someone in your family, at your job, or even your significant other. These are ten behaviors that demanding people display before revealing themselves.
1. A Demanding Person Must Make the Rules
Demanding people want absolute control over every aspect of your personal or professional relationship. If it’s a pushy boss, they’ll micromanage each project and smother you with rules and regulations. They squash your creativity and take credit for your ideas and excellent work.
You may equate the relationship to imprisonment if the controlling person is your partner. They often don’t listen to your opinions, and they call the shots for everything. If you feel like you don’t matter to someone in a relationship, it’s time to rethink the situation.
Having the “it’s my way or the highway” attitude can be very troubling when trying to have a decent relationship with this person. Communication and letting this person know you reject this control is the key to stopping their reign of terror.
2. A Demanding Person Will Constantly Keep Tabs on You
Remember how detectives and private eyes lingered in the shadows in classic films? Their job was to spy on their subject and gather information without them knowing. In reality, a difficult person can do the same to you.
Since they have jealousy and control issues, they demand to know where you are going and who you’re with at all times. Often, they have delusions that you’re cheating on them or plotting against them. They’re not above listening to your phone conversation, reading your texts, and following your every move.
3. They Don’t Respect Personal Boundaries
According to an article published by Forbes Magazine, personal boundaries make you feel heard, validated and appreciated. If you’ve established mutual boundaries in any relationship, you’re less likely to feel disrespected and taken for granted. Demanding people often ignore personal boundaries and stomp on your privacy.
As an individual, you have the right to set and enforce boundaries. Those who can’t respect these boundaries create nothing but toxicity in your life. On the other hand, controlling personalities demand that you honor their limitations, not yours.
4. Demanding People Maintain Power of the Purse
In general, demanding people are stingy and self-serving with money. They weaponize your generosity against you. They know that money is power in any relationship and aren’t sharing their passion with anyone.
This toxic person hopes to keep you dependent on them by controlling the finances. It gives them a perverse sense of power, and they quite enjoy it. Even if you’re the sole source of income in the relationship, you may have to beg for every cent.
5. Guilt is Their Weapon of Choice
Maybe you are in a toxic relationship with a person who’s a travel agent for guilt trips. An article published by Prowess explains that challenging people use guilt to control others and make themselves look better. Like a lethal boa constrictor, they use guilt to crush your life and independence until they suck the life right out of you.
Their guilt tactics may be direct by constantly reminding you of past mistakes. They may even use this information as emotional blackmail to ensure your compliance. Other subtle ways suggest that you should feel guilty about things out of your control.
6. A Demanding Friend or Partner Is an Expert at Gaslighting
Toxic people work tirelessly to deflect any blame from themselves. So, they will often gaslight you as if you’re losing control. They slyly shift the blame and make you look silly and incompetent in front of friends, family, or coworkers.
If you fall for the cruel ruse, you may start second-guessing yourself. Controlling personalities hope you get to this point, so controlling you will be a cinch. Gaslighting is emotional and psychological abuse that has no part in a healthy relationship.
For example, your partner may say something that hurts you, and you let them know how you feel. They insist you’re too sensitive instead of acknowledging their wrong and apologizing. They try to make you seem incompetent and foolish.
7. They’re Sometimes Also Narcissists
Like the legendary King Midas, narcissists affect everything they touch. Instead of Midas’ gold, the narcissist touch destroys relationships and poisons the self-confidence of others. These toxic personalities can be part of personal or professional relationships, and they cause nothing but problems.
A narcissist can’t see beyond their vain nose. They believe the world revolves around them and everyone owes them. They only use people to get what they want and drop them when they’re no longer helpful.
8. They Never Let You Forget Any Favors They’ve Done
Demanding people often create the illusion that they are kindhearted and generous people. In a personal or professional relationship, they know others are watching. So, they try to get a few brownie points and do nice things for the show.
The classic downside of these toxic relationships is that they seldom remember things you do for them. But they never allow you to forget any favors they do for you. The constant reminders may make you resist any offers in the future.
9. Their Wishes are Unrealistic
Demanding bosses and partners are full of unreasonable demands and expectations. They never consider listening to your thoughts or ideas and want things their way. Also, they often expect you to drop everything you’re doing and tend to their demands.
When you go the extra mile for toxic people, they rarely show gratitude. They may be critical and expect even more from you. If you have any complaints, you are a lazy employee or a selfish lover.
10. A Demanding Person Will Pick Fights on Purpose
Demanding people often get nervous when the waters are calm and still. In their skewed minds, they may wonder if you’re plotting against them. So, they need to create a little drama to upset you and uproot your life.
They are expert manipulators who know how to twist your words and try to confuse you. Then, they’ll turn the whole argument onto you until you feel like it’s all your fault. When they do this often enough, you’ll usually agree to almost anything to avoid a fight.
How to Deal with Demanding or Controlling People
You can assert yourself and refuse to allow people to control you. Honest conversation is where you begin. Here are some other suggestions:
- Identify the behavior: How is this person trying to control and manipulate you? Are they belittling you and shifting blame until you depend on their power?
- Don’t be fooled: These domineering people want you to believe their toxic behavior is your fault. It’s another way they use gaslighting to manipulate you. Please don’t fall for it.
- Recognize toxic patterns: Controlling people often use the same patterns and scenarios in mind-control games. When you recognize them, you’ll be more prepared to have something to say or to make your exit.
- Choose a response carefully: Manipulating people want to use your words against you, so think before you say anything. You can change the subject, ignore them, ask questions, or walk away.
Final Thoughts on Recognizing the Toxic Behaviors of the Demanding People
You’ll encounter unreasonable and demanding individuals in every area of your life. It’s imperative to develop coping skills and manage these complex personalities. First and foremost, you must realize that no one is any better than you, so don’t let them play these head games.
People will only control you if you allow them to do so. Communication is vital to let them know what you will and will not tolerate. True to this personality type, they usually back down when someone stands up to them and rejects their bullying behaviors.
While you can’t avoid these overbearing folks, you can let them know your boundaries. Whether it be a personal or a professional relationship, you can push back to set them straight.