Domineering people are toxic to be around, but like it or not, they are plenty in the world. Whether you work or are in a relationship with a toxic person, it is necessary to learn how to deal with domineering behavior in an effective manner. If domineering behavior is not confronted, either directly or indirectly, it is likely to continue and worsen, often spurring negative consequences for all of the parties involved.
Refuse to Participate
Avoid arguments. Domineering people subconsciously seek to control situations and people. When you respond to a domineering person, and begin arguing with him, the domineering person's negative behavior is reinforced because you have been pulled into his preferred dynamic. Once a domineering person goes into attack mode, recognize that dealing with him in that state will be useless, and walk away. If it is necessary to confront the behavior, wait until some time has passed and the domineering person's emotions have subsided.
Recognize domineering behavior for what it is: insecurity. Domineering people engage in aggressive and controlling behavior to secure and stabilize their surroundings. This behavior can be born in response to traumatic events that left the domineering person living in a state of uncertainty and feeling helpless to control events happening to him. Do not take domineering behavior personally. Instead, use it as an opportunity to understand the person behind the behavior. The domineering person may find it comforting to know that you see beyond his surface behavior and care enough about him to look deeper and to empathize.
Avoid the Behavior
Determine whether the domineering behavior is constant or situation specific. Some people are domineering all of the time, while other people display domineering behavior in response to certain situations (e.g., stress). If a person is only domineering occasionally, and under specific circumstances, it may not be worth it to make a federal case out the behavior. Simply avoid the person during times that provoke his domineering behavior.
Discuss the behavior with the domineering person in private. Depending on how often you interact with the domineering person, and how often the behavior is displayed, it may be necessary to assert yourself. The domineering person must be told and understand that you will not tolerate abusive behavior and that if it continues, there will be consequences. Approach the conversation from the standpoint of pointing out negative behavior to help the person improve himself and avoid shaming the domineering person.
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Robyn Lynne Schechter is a freelance writer currently living in Los Angeles, Calif. She has been an online contributor since 2007 on brandchannel.com, covering branding developments in the fashion, music, sports and entertainment industries. Schechter graduated from Hood College with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and is also a graduate of Albany Law School.
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