You may know someone at work or school who is overbearing. Their pushiness and arrogance make it challenging to relate to them. Before you give up on them, it may be useful to understand what makes them do what they do. Here are some other behaviors that reveal someone is an overbearing person.
What behaviors indicate an overbearing person?
Vocabulary.com defines overbearing as disdainful, arrogant, insolent, lordly, proud, and supercilious. Here are some other characteristics of an overbearing person.
You’ll find it most comfortable to avoid dealing with this personality type when possible. But when it’s a co-worker or family member, you might not be able to do so. In these exceptions, here are ten ways you can cope with them.
1 – They are controlling
An overbearing person insists on being in charge. They are often goal-oriented, ambitious, and practical. They may be so busy achieving the goals that they forget about the people around them. An overbearing person may get angry when others don’t agree with their plans. Studies show that controlling people are often successful in their careers. This seems like a good thing on one level, except that their success is often at the expense of people. They use people, managing them like things rather than having a relationship with them.
An overbearing person assumes you want their advice. They don’t notice or understand social clues to indicate that their ideas weren’t appreciated. Overbearing people can be confident, even arrogant in their self-assessment. Without realizing it, they make the people around them feel intimidated. They are the “little executive” overseeing everyone around them. It’s a big put off and usually makes people around them distance themselves.
3 – It’s all about them
When a person is overbearing, they may listen for a while but then circle the conversation back to themselves. They can be overly eager to talk about themselves. After all, it’s all about them. When the overbearing person steals the attention away from someone and begins to talk about themselves, it leaves others feeling like they weren’t listening. Overbearing people come across as egotistical and full of themselves because of this bad habit.
4 – They are quick to jump in with their thoughts
Like circling conversions back to themselves, an overbearing person is quick to jump into conversations with their thoughts. They get excited about their ideas, cutting people off to share their ideas. It’s like a fire hydrant of thoughts gushing out so quickly that other people can’t get a word in otherwise. An overbearing person may be brilliant but lack good people skills. They don’t realize they are inconsiderate of others when they do this.
5 – They keep score
Everyone knows someone who likes to keep score. They remember all the things they’ve done for you and accuse you of not contributing to the same extent. It’s like they have a giant scorecard to keep track of what you give them what they want. It’s not pleasant to be around people who are like this. They motivate by guilt and expect people to do things for them.
6 – Push you to commit
Pushiness is never attractive. Being forced to agree or commit to something you don’t want to is intimidating. People who do this feel the need to control others for their self-esteem. Overbearing people can’t imagine why everyone doesn’t agree with them. They have an expansive view of themselves. Instead of asking, they tell people what to do. They could be self-consumed or blinded to how selfish they are. It’s not always clear what their motivations are.
7 – They don’t listen
An overbearing person typically isn’t a good listener. Basically, they don’t have time to listen to others, and they don’t see why they should listen. Good communication means good listening skills. Studies show that active listening involves all your senses. People look at your body language and tone of voice than what you’re saying. When a person is overbearing, their face and tone convey a sense of superiority rather than compassion and a desire to listen.
8 – They decide everything
Have you ever had a friend who made all the decisions when you hung out together? It’s not surprising that an overbearing person doesn’t have many friends because they insist on making all the decisions. They forget that other people have opinions, or they don’t care. It’s hard to know their real motivation, but it could be they’ve gotten their way so much that they feel entitled to make the decisions.
Overbearing people usually don’t ask questions because they don’t have time to learn others’ opinions or ideas. They devalue others’ opinions, making people feel disrespected. Being pushy and overbearing becomes a habit for some people, maybe because of personality or because it’s worked in the past. Whatever the reason, when someone doesn’t care about your opinion, it’s inconsiderate and thoughtless.
10 – Don’t realize what they’re doing
Overbearing people aren’t the most self-reflective types. Because of this, they may not understand how they affect people. It’s hard to believe they could miss it since people distance themselves, but the overbearing person probably isn’t paying attention. They are caught up in their own goals and ambitions. They have a perception of themselves, and even though it’s warped, it can be challenging to persuade them otherwise. You can try to point out their overbearing attitudes. It may surprise them or make them mad. Overbearing people can be insecure, so admitting their faults makes them feel vulnerable. Unless you have a great relationship with the person and they trust you, it can be fruitless to try to help them see themselves.
What can you do to relate to an overbearing person?
Life means dealing with an overbearing person once in a while. Whether it’s your parents, your boss, or a salesperson at your front door, you need to figure how to relate to them.
1 – Set limits
You can’t remove overbearing people from your life, especially if it’s a family member. But you can set limits on them. For instance, if your mom is overbearing with her opinions about your life choices, set limits on what you’ll talk about with her. You can say something like,
Mom, I’d like to talk to you about the things going on in my life, but talking about my love life is off-limits. Sorry, but that’s the way it is.
She may not like it, but you can be firm and gentle, conveying that you want to have a relationship with her, but with some limitations.
2 – Be positive
Overbearing people ooze negativity. Find ways to be positive towards them. You don’t need to let them walk all over you, but you can push back positively. Choose to be positive and stand your ground. Show them respect, but don’t let their sourness affect your positive attitude.
3 – Be willing to learn from the overbearing person
It may feel counterintuitive, but overbearing people often do know a lot of things. They probably have a lot of experience and may be successful. You can learn from them. If you can get past their egotistical behavior, you will find someone who’s has a lot of important things to say. Listen to them, appreciate their thoughts and encourage them if what they’re saying is helpful. Don’t flatter them, but be honest if you’ve learned from them.
4 – Walk away
If you’ve done everything you can to try to get along with an overbearing person, like set limits, be positive when you push back, and even willing to learn from them, but it seems like your relationship has gotten worse, then it may be time to move on. If you’re feeling stressed out by their attitudes and it’s pulling you down into a negative view of life, you need to decide what to do. It could mean a tough decision about family or friends. Do a lot of soul-searching before you make this decision. You may need to seek out another person’s opinion. Talk to a good friend or your pastor to get their objective views. If it’s what you need to do for your mental and physical health, it’s worth walking away.
You may encounter overbearing people at work, school, or even in your own home. Learning how to deal with them and all their strong behaviors is a life skill. Whether they’re trying to tell you what to do or pushing you to commit, you’ll need to develop positive ways to go back. Interestingly enough, learning how to deal with an overbearing person can make you a stronger person because you know how to stand up for yourself.
Be open to learning from an overbearing co-worker or friend. They may have a lot of good thoughts hidden underneath all their arrogance and pride. Of course, as a last resort, you may need to walk away from your situation to be healthy. It could be a life-altering decision so seek input first, then make your decision. It could be in your best interest.