Friday, April 29, 2011

How to become more dominant and less controlling

I earlier talked about the difference between dominant and controlling behavior, and how people often misinterpret certain behaviors as "dominant" when in fact they come from a position of insecurity, or an attempt to desperately control things.

A person who is in control, knows he is in control. He doesn't need to nitpick, or micromanage. He doesn't react negatively to criticisms, or show anger easily. He doesn't show extreme emotions very easily, instead being somewhat cheery and light-hearted. Insecure people, on the other hand, need to constantly assert their authority and jockey for status. They respond very negatively to criticism, and are generally irritable. Extreme emotions are easy to read on them. At the core, these guys don't have their shit together.

Let's take a look at four insecure, or controlling behaviors that are fairly common:
  • The need to constantly be in control of a conversation, talking over others.
  • Visibly negative responses to any criticism whatsoever.
  • The need to say "me too" all the time about things, instead of not giving a shit.
  • The development of possessive oneitises.

The need to constantly be in control of a conversation, talking over others.

The first item is a common, and has a remarkable tendency to correlate with guys who lack dating success. Most of these guys are completely oblivious to what they are doing, but it's very off-putting. If people seem to respond strangely to you in social situations, check to see if you're letting them talk. Most people don't want to become friends with somebody who constantly needs to have the floor to himself. If you feel this doesn't describe you, then check to see if you do it in one-on-one conversations. You might be surprised at what you find.

How to solve this? Simply slow down and let the other person speak, but don't slow down so much that people think you're bored or uninterested. It takes some tweaking but eventually you'll get the hang of it.

If you have the opposite problem, and don't know when to speak, well, don't just sit there like a wallflower, interject every now and then. It's best to survey the conversation and see what you can talk about, if anything. I know I've been in many conversations where I know little about the topic at hand, and it can be difficult, so this is easier said than done. In fact I'm still not 100% sure of how to deal with it. It's a topic for a future post.

Visibly negative responses to any criticism whatsoever.
The second item is a common feature not only among men suffering from dating difficulties, but a good number of men today. The hallmark of a secure man is one who does not respond negatively to criticism. If the criticism is legitimate, he takes it to heart. OK, maybe his ego is bruised a bit, but he doesn't take it personally. If the criticism is completely illegitimate, he can just rebuff it and explain why. Becoming a put-together person involves habitually being able to take cannonballs and brush them off as if they were feathers. It requires learning, but it can be done. If people who are trying to mess with you can see that you're not visibly affected, they lose interest in messing with you. Often, they themselves are being controlling (dominant people wouldn't care) and are trying to control an even more desperately controlling person. Don't oblige them. Show them that you're not a good target.

The need to say "me too" all the time about things, instead of not giving a shit.

The third item, or me-tooism, is a hallmark of attempting to desperately contain a situation. Say your clothing, or vehicle, or whatever is not up to snuff compared to others. What do you do? Well, you can react negatively and become a socially avoidant recluse. Or you can just not give a shit, and rebuff any attacks or snide provocations. As I said before, the people doing this stuff to you are people who suffer from controlling issues themselves. If you don't oblige them, you're doing a huge service to not only yourself, but any others who may end up in their wake. You truly have to not give a shit about what others think in order for this to work. Can you do it, 100% of the way? Probably not. But you have to build an "outer armor" or alligator skin that at least gives the appearance that you're not being affected by these attempts to insult you.

The development of possessive oneitises.
The fourth item ties into dating. "Oneitis" is a term for limerence, or a nearly jihad-like fanaticism over some (usually unattainable) girl. I'm not 100% sure about the trajectory of this psychological phenomenon, but I believe that once you start obsessing over a girl, it's already too late, and you ruined your chance to be attractive to her. You've created this object in your mind that you fantasize over, like a fetish of sorts, and it makes you increasingly unable to realistically relate to the actual real girl on the ground.

I think this ties in with the need to become firm enough inside to not develop such incredibly deep feelings for a girl. If you think about it, a oneitis is a controlling obsession, where you deathly fear not being able to have the girl in your dreams. It's happened countless times and led to suicides and worse.

So what's the general way to break controlling behavior and become more dominant, in control, and relaxed? I think the key is to not focus on one particular problem so much. If you have issues with being easily manipulated by others into feeling fearful, or angry, or embarrassed, or whatever, I think it is best to distract yourself with something else. Same with turning a girl into a fetish or desperately trying to keep up with other people.

Someone once told me that if you can't directly solve a problem, try to ignore it, and distract yourself with other things. Don't become overly focused on making your point in a conversation-- say the core points that you need to; you don't need to get absolutely everything across. In the end, most of the conversation will be forgotten anyway, and it's likely less significant than it appears at the time being. If you suffer from a oneitis, then distract yourself from her-- talk to other girls, ask out other girls, even if you massively screw up and fail. The experiences you get doing that will likely take your mind off her.

Distract, distract, distract, while paying attention to areas where you could improve-- and you'll probably desensitize yourself fairly quickly. It just takes time and will sting a bit. I hope this is better advice than the simplistic "just go out there and do it!" combined with pop-positivity that depresses people who see no way to start more than anything.

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