It takes all kinds of people to make the world go around.
But let’s be honest: some of them are much more difficult to deal with than others.
Here’s how to respond to folks who are pushy and overly controlling.
16 signs of an overbearing person (and how to deal with them)
1) Never giving others time or space
One of the top signs of an overbearing person is that they are constantly interrupting and dismissing what other people say.
They don’t give people time or space to be themselves.
To put it bluntly:
They are control freaks who need to micromanage and direct every square inch of what’s happening around them.
In their mind, the overbearing person is a grand genius. They’re sitting in Steven Spielberg’s director’s chair telling the cast what to do.
In real life they’re annoying, self-centered, rarely listen to anything others say and tend to cause conflict wherever they get involved.
2) Acting superior and entitled
Another of the clearest signs of an overbearing person is arrogant and entitled behavior.
This person seems to feel they’re a royal prince and that everyone else should kiss their feet when they walk by.
And that’s no exaggeration.
If their nose were any more up in the air they’d trip over their own feet.
This superior attitude tends to rub other people the wrong way. That’s not just because it’s irritating, it’s because overbearing people tend to overestimate their own abilities.
For this reason, they can be very difficult to work with, have relationships with or form friendships with.
Because they only see themselves as worthy and talented, they tend to not notice and cover up their own mistakes and point out the shortcomings of others constantly.
Unsurprisingly, this drives those around them away like the plague.
3) Bending you to their will
Overbearing people think highly of themselves and their ideas and decisions.
They will often take advantage of employees, romantic partners, friends and even strangers.
They will try to bend others to their will.
Let’s just say that there’s a reason con men and con women keep duping people. It’s not that people are stupid and naive, it’s that they let themselves be overpowered and deluded by someone with strong will power.
There’s a way to avoid these kinds of exploitative situations:
Part of empowering yourself when you’re dealing with an overbearing person is learning to find your true purpose.
This is something crucial that’s taught by the renowned Brazilian shaman Rudá Iandê who I mentioned earlier.
In a world of sleazy self-help gurus and “enlightened masters,” Rudá doesn’t claim to be anything of the sort.
Yes, he’s a real shaman who’s studied with indigenous tribes and works on a spiritual level. But he’s also very down to earth.
As Ideapod founder Justin Brown found out in a life-changing moment, once we find our purpose everything else begins to fall into place.
The hardships become fuel for the journey, the alienation becomes a chance to fulfill our special mission, and our creativity gets unleashed as we truly embrace the power and potential we have to be our unique self.
Finding your purpose is not about trying to improve yourself.
In fact, trying to become a “better version of yourself” and similar tactics can actually be highly counterproductive and harmful.
As Justin Brown explains in this masterclass on the hidden trap of trying to improve yourself, there is a completely different way to change your life by finding your purpose.
If you’re stuck dealing with people who make you feel manipulated and overpowered, you may feel drained and overwhelmed.
The single best way to start turning that around is to find your purpose.
4) Hogging the spotlight
Another of the most aggravating things that overbearing people do is hog the spotlight.
If there’s any recognition to be had, they are clamoring at the front of the line.
They will undercut, trample, sabotage and trash talk anyone who gets in the way of the attention and validation they crave.
Their arrogance and often their golden child syndrome makes them believe that all glory, laud and honor should go in their direction.
Like a rabid raccoon, the overbearing person sniffs out anybody who’s coming anywhere near to their precious spotlight and savagely attacks them.
They may not always physically hiss and bite, but in one way or another, they want that proverbial pat on the back.
And they’ll do almost anything to get it.
5) Dividing people into us vs. them
Humans are tribal animals, and it’s natural that we bond with those who are on a similar path to us.
What’s not natural is to hate and wish violence on those who are different.
But the overbearing person commonly feels the need to divide people into us vs. them.
Whether they’re using politics, spirituality, material wealth or social media clout to divide people, it all amounts to the same thing:
It’s a weak and insecure person trying to push others around to feel powerful.
And it’s frankly pathetic.
So what if their account has more zeroes in it, they have a nice car or they look like a supermodel.
Judging the world on a superficial level is for losers.
Let’s be honest:
We all dabble in these kinds of external judgments sometimes.
The difference is that arrogant overbearing people do it constantly.
If you’re dealing with someone like this I know it’s not easy, and trust me when I say that I sympathize.
6) Always demanding that their schedule and priorities come first
One of the typical signs of an overbearing person is that they demand that their schedule and priorities come first.
Sometimes this can catch people by surprise, because overbearing people often find ways to disguise and mask their pushiness.
They may usually act pleasant and agreeable.
But wait until you have an actual schedule or priorities conflict with them and you’ll see their other side:
Dismissive, not listening and demanding that they get what they want no matter who it impacts.
This can be especially hard to deal with in a large family, company or even a one-on-one romantic relationship.
After all, if your partner isn’t even willing to consider your needs, what are you supposed to do and what does that say about their respect for you?
7) Rude and hurtful to others
Overbearing people are rude and hurtful to others, sometimes without even realizing it.
Think of a character like Tony in the show After Life. He’s played to perfection by the comedian Ricky Gervais. The story is about a lonely British man mourning the death of his wife and considering suicide on a daily basis.
It doesn’t sound like much of a basis for a comedy, but it’s an extremely funny and successful show.
The point is:
Tony is abrasive, rude and inconsiderate of others around them, often saying deeply unfair and hurtful things to his office mates and former friends.
In the show it’s hilarious and awkward.
In real life, it’s less amusing.
Furthermore, Tony undergoes a compelling character arc where he comes to realize how much of an impact he can have to help or bring down the world around him.
Unfortunately, many overbearing people don’t go through such a neat transformation.
They get into the habit of being nasty, and they stick to it until they’re made to see the error of their ways up close and personal.
8) Savior complex
Overbearing people tend toward being messianic and even in some cases having paranoid delusions of grandeur.
They are often drawn to positions of importance and can be found populating the ranks of many leading gurus, “healers” and celebrities.
Simply put, they have a savior complex.
This is where they believe they are superior spiritually or in terms of enlightenment.
They are here to “save” you from yourself, from hell, from low vibrations, or what have you…
That’s great, but they usually demand a price for saving you:
Full control, and lots of money, sex or effort from you.
What’s even worse is seeing a codependent relationship where an overbearing person with a savior complex is exploiting and manipulating a partner who’s in the victim role and believes they need to be “fixed.”
9) Extreme overconfidence
By now the portrait of an overbearing person should be getting clear.
They tend to disrespectful, have an inflated opinion of themselves and have trouble considering the perspectives and emotions of others.
Part of their behavior is often motivated by extreme overconfidence.
For a variety of reasons related to childhood, their culture and their life experiences and predispositions, overbearing people tend to think they’re much better than they are.
Sometimes they can get away with this in certain jobs or relationships.
But eventually it always blows up in their face, which causes them to double down and play the victim card even more.
Nobody gets how special they are, and that just proves how special they are.
Rinse and repeat.
10) Gossip and sabotaging the reputation of rivals
Overbearing people are usually major gossips.
They’re like a walking, talking National Inquirer.
And when they’re not busy spreading rumors just because they can, they’ll do so strategically to harm rivals or people they want out of the way.
This causes a lot of ill will around them, obviously.
But the goal for the overbearing person is always to get what they want and the recognition they crave.
They don’t much care who gets crushed or character assassinated in the process.
As pro-Stalin cheerleader, Ukrainian Holodomor denier and New York Times propagandist Walter Duranty put it: “you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”
11) Justifying their mistakes and never apologizing
Overbearing people should all be defense lawyers, because they seem to be able to get out of anything.
They could literally rob a store and have people believing they had to do it through no fault of their own.
Whenever they make a mistake or do something wrong, they have not only an excuse, but a reason why they are the one who was wronged.
They always had a superior motivation and ethical framework for what they did.
They always had an intellectually robust and ingenious background for their actions.
No matter how bad things went and how many innocent people died, the overbearing Dick Cheneys of this world always have a self-righteous comment about how their mistakes and war crimes were justified and understandable.
They’re always the good guy, even when they’re the bad guy.
12) Disempowering others around them
Overbearing people are masters at bending people to their will and at making them feel powerless.
If you’re dealing with a pushy jerk then you know how they can make you feel utterly useless.
So what can you do to stand up to them and assert yourself effectively?
Begin with yourself. Stop searching for external fixes to sort out your life, deep down, you know this isn’t working.
And that’s because until you look within and unleash your personal power, you’ll never find the satisfaction and fulfillment you’re searching for.
I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. His life mission is to help people restore balance to their lives and unlock their creativity and potential. He has an incredible approach that combines ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist.
In his excellent free video, Rudá explains effective methods to achieve what you want in life and stop getting pushed around by ignorant people.
So if you want to build a better relationship with yourself, unlock your endless potential, and put passion at the heart of everything you do, start now by checking out his genuine advice.
13) Elevating their own image and reputation at all costs
Overbearing people not only have excuses for everything they do, they also have an obsessive focus on their own reputation and image.
They will sabotage the reputation of others and even outright lie about them to get ahead.
They will lie about their own record like Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, for example, to get ahead.
They don’t care how wild the untruths get. They need to get ahead and get the recognition and power they crave.
14) They try to tell you what your future will be
One of the most frustrating signs of an overbearing person is constant fortune telling.
They are always trying to box you in, tell you what you will be.
Some people grow up with parents like this, but it’s not just a family issue. Many people treat their friends, relatives, work colleagues and romantic partners in the same way.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you what your future has to be.
They are trying to take away your power.
But if you do want to get a glimpse of what could be down the road, I recommend trying out something a little unorthodox instead:
Contacting a psychic.
Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out…
Don’t just speak with any old psychic. There are a lot of charlatans out there.
Speak with the psychics at Psychic Source. They’re our partners and at least the psychics are reviewed. You can even read the reviews.
I think you’ll be better off in the long-term for joining Ideapod’s Out of the Box and getting to the core of the uncertainty we all feel deep within.
But there’s nothing wrong with getting some short-term satisfaction from seeing a psychic.
At the very least, it’s certainly better than letting an overbearing person define your future for you.
15) Forcing their views and values on others
I’ve dealt with a lot of overbearing people in my life, and I can be overbearing sometimes myself.
For that reason, I know that this point is extremely relevant.
Overbearing people will often try to push and force their views and values on others.
There’s nothing wrong with saying what you believe or consider correct, even in a passionate way.
The problem occurs when you start being upset with others for seeing it differently or consider others inferior for not sharing your worldview or path.
Many spiritual gurus are overbearing in this sense and cloak it in a veil of humility or “ascended” spirituality.
They arrange themselves on a dais of positivity and “high vibrations” and then judge, use and pick apart all the underlings who come for help or advice.
Needless to say, this is the opposite of what a true spiritual or religious figure such as Christ or Buddha ever did.
If you come across someone who’s telling you what’s true and good and demonstrating it with their actions that is outstanding.
But if you come across someone who’s telling you how they are true and good and you, by extension, are not (or at least not at the same “level”), be very, very careful.
16) Betraying the trust and generosity of others
Perhaps nothing is worse about overbearing people than their untrustworthiness.
They take the goodwill and trust of others and consistently abuse it.
They are trying to exert their will and desires into every area of their personal and professional life, and as a result there is often a recurring pattern of betrayal and exploitation.
This all stems from the basic lack of empathy they have for others, and being stuck in a childhood-rooted fixation on having needs met regardless of the situation of others.
The results are a disaster!
How to overtake an overbearing person
Don’t buy into their bullying
Overbearing people bully others whether they mean to or not.
If you try to go head-to-head with them, it generally just encourages them.
Avoid the arguments they put up, while also standing up for yourself.
Quietly and firmly do your own thing, and when they try to force you to agree or support their actions, let them know you will not be doing so and move on.
Don’t show fear
Overbearing people can sense fear and weakness like an animal smells a blood trail.
They will pounce if they can see that you’re scared of them.
So understand this:
They have absolutely no right to push you around at work, in relationships or in daily interactions.
You have no obligation to put up with shit from them and every right to move on with your life and ignore and push aside their bullying behavior.
Never let an overbearing person gaslight you into thinking you deserve to be treated poorly.
Learn to trust yourself
Part of never being intimidated by overbearing people and knowing how to avoid their traps is to believe in yourself.
This is easier said than done, but it’s all about recognizing your own value and integrity.
Standing up to an overbearing person doesn’t need to be huge and dramatic.
It can be as quiet and simple as turning down an invitation to a party they’re throwing…
Or saying no when they ask you to work on a project with them that you know they’ll try to micromanage and use to ego trip.
Learning to just say no to overbearing people is all about learning to trust yourself.
Use your negotiation skills
Overbearing people flourish from the fear response and impulsivity.
That’s why your best bet is to not react and to stick with your own values whenever possible.
In situations where you cannot avoid a conflict, there’s a way to stand up to overbearing people effectively.
You catch more flies with honey than vinegar…
To this end, try to sweet talk them a bit and use your negotiation skills.
Feed their ego a bit and then use it to point out something they’re doing wrong in a constructive way that won’t give them any excuse to flip out.
“Thanks for the tips, Robert, I really appreciate the way you always see ways we can improve our client list here at work. One thing I think we should also address is how to increase employee productivity and spending a bit less on marketing.”
One of the things about overbearing people you need to know is that anything you tell them can (and likely will) be used against you at some future date.
If you say you’ve been enjoying work, your overbearing partner will make you feel guilty and tell you how much they hate their job.
If you say you suffered from depression and it’s causing you issues lately, your overbearing work colleague may bring it up behind your back to your boss in order to get promoted above you, saying you’re just “dealing with too much right now.”
Fake compassion can be a real ticket to promotion for some people.
Remember to treat overbearing people cautiously and diplomatically. They don’t have to be your enemy, but they’re unlikely to be a close friend unless and until they make serious changes of their own.