Overbearing people make our lives difficult. They demand that their concerns be addressed immediately, without respect for our time and boundaries. They can make us feel powerless because they seem powerful. Finally, people who are overbearing consume resources at a rapid rate: our time, our patience and our self-respect. However, confronting an overbearing person isn't impossible. It only requires patience, firmness and compassion.
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Recognise the first time someone behaves in an overbearing way, but don't say anything. If you immediately react, you risk coming across as intolerant and impatient. After all, we all act overbearing sometimes. Overbearing people are this way most of the time.
Note the second time overbearing behaviour occurs. This may mean the behaviour is part of a personality problem. Still, keep the peace by making this observation to yourself. It can be difficult not to confront the overbearing person at this point, but you might be glad you kept the peace if the behaviour doesn't continue.
Say something the third time a friend or co-worker behaves in an overbearing way. By this point, you have recognised the behaviour and been patient about letting it go twice. Since it has happened a third time, it is likely to be a pattern and you should be firm in addressing it.
Dealing with Overbearing Behavior
Wait until you are alone with the overbearing person. This will help keep the conversation private and peaceful. Public confrontations tend to drag in unsolicited advice from whomever you are with and are impolite to those who are not involved in your interpersonal problems.
Speak directly and firmly during the confrontation. You don't need to be rude or cruel, but don't downplay the problem. Instead, describe your observations and explain how you've been hurt by overbearing behaviour. Avoid absolute terms like "always" and "never" in favour of describing how the behaviour makes you feel.
Suggest a resolution during your confrontation. This will help your criticism come across as constructive rather than nasty. In addition, most people are somewhat stunned by confrontations, so suggesting a solution gives the confronted person a chance to reflect.
Confronting an Overbearing Person
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