controlling person

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2013
controlling person
Tue, 07-23-2013 - 4:17pm

I have a friend that I feel is always trying to control me.  Anytime someone we know is in the hospital, ill, had a car accident, she writes me an email saying "you really should send them a card".  I am sympathetic but I do not like being TOLD what to do by someone else. I do send out cards and gifts to people from time to time, depending on my schedule and funds. I just do not like being TOLD to do something. That is the issue. Additionally, some of these people she tells me to send cards to are people I barely know. She told me to buy a graduation gift for a friend's daughter, I've never met the daughter. That's just one example.  What is a polite way to tell someone that they should not be instructing you to do things?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 07-23-2013 - 7:40pm

If she is just telling you these things by email, you don't even have to respond--is she going to check up on you later to see if you sent the card?  If she persists in telling you these things in person, for ex. about buying the gift, you just say "No, I can make my own decisions about who to send gifts or cards too."

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2013
Wed, 07-24-2013 - 11:56am

Yes, she DOES check up on my later to see if I sent the card.  She will ask "did you not send them a card? why not?"   One time her friend's husband broke his collarbone and she insisted I send him a "sympathy card". She followed up with me later on about this.

I really need to address with her that she should not be trying to control me this way, but I am not sure how to word my response to her without her getting totally upset.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Thu, 07-25-2013 - 9:42am

I honestly don't know if there *is* a polite way to deal with a controlling person.  I think you need to recognize how this makes you feel, not how it will make her feel if you tell her to stop.  My mother used to do the same thing, tell me to send cards of sympathy, get well, make sure to mail in a form, etc., even though I am adult, and have not lived in the same house (or state) as my mother in many years.  Thankfully she's grown less so in her old age but every now and again, she will say something, now I just laugh and make fun of her for doing so!  For a friend to do this is just beyond me, it's none of her business to whom you send out sympathy, get, well, etc., cards! 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 07-25-2013 - 11:15am

She will probably get upset if she is a controlling person that she can't control you so I wouldn't be too worried about what you say.  I'd just say "I decided not to send the card" "I didn't want to" or whatever and if she persists, just say "I don't have to do something just because you want me to--you're not in charge of me." or if you can do it jokingly, you could call her "boss" or "mom" or something like that to see if she gets it. 

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 07-25-2013 - 5:37pm

All I can say is "wow."

When she follows up and asks, you only owe her a "no, I did not send a card." Or "I chose not to send one." End of story and change the subject.

Oh, wait a minute.  You know what the perfect comeback is?   "Why do you ask?" 

And like someone else mentioned, you may be able to joke around with her next time she says "you should send them a card" and say "Yes, mother!  Do I get grounded or lose my allowance if I don't?" 

Controlling people don't like it when we change the game on them.  So you will have to stand your ground.  She probably won't really change much, if at all.  But you can change the dance, and then trying to control you won't work any longer. 

Good luck!

Serenity CL Making a Second Marriage Work


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2004
Sat, 08-10-2013 - 11:32pm

You can tell her as you said in your post "No, I wont do that because those are people I barely know.", " No I won´t buy a present for this friend whose daughter I don´t even know" Be your own don´t care how she feels, care how you feel.

 Or you can tell her "Wow, I sometimes think you think you are my mom and you are not enough for that"., or another time you can say "Listen, I want a friend not a mom, ¿Can we just be friends?".

If she doesn´t get the hit I would excalate my remarks."Atop telling me what to do. I´m an adult"  If she doesn´t change, I would suggest you to find another friend. I HATE CONTROLLERS