Hello and thank you for your question.
It's important to remind yourself when you feel really frustrated with your sister-in-law that most people have at least one difficult person in their life. It might be the overbearing aunt they only see on holidays, the dominant brother that comes over for Sunday dinners, or the controlling coworker they encounter on a daily basis. Who and how often doesn't matter as much as how to handle them effectively without being beaten up or drained in the process.
Difficult people are wonderful at triggering negative reactions in others, but if viewed from a different perspective, the difficult person can actually teach others how to stand up for themselves and own their inner power.
Notice what emotion gets triggered in the presence of a controlling person. Is it fear, anger, intimidation? Some people feel small and frightened when a person dominates them. Others feel invalidated and angry when controlled. Yet no one can control another or force them to feel anything without some level of permission. In reality, the difficult person is triggering a vulnerable spot or wound in the other individual. This provides an opportunity for healing and growth.
Notice when the reaction of fear, anger or feeling small has happened before. Is there a childhood wound that needs to be addressed? Is this a life pattern? Perhaps the difficult person was placed in your life to teach a valuable lesson?
Is the lesson about overcoming fear or perhaps it's about owning inner power. Discover what would best support you to feel non-reactive in this person's presence.
Try the following tips as a way to handle a controlling person who is overbearing and dominant. Understand their wounds. Underneath controlling, dominant behavior is often a scared, insecure person looking for a way to feel safe. Being in control is a coping mechanism learned from childhood. As you see their wounds, your compassion will support them to feel safe and be less controlling.
Own your power. If there is a tendency to feel small and intimidated around the overbearing person, stand up tall and own your inner power. This doesn't mean trying to dominate or control them as this only leads to power struggles and control games, but to be big and confident within yourself so their is nothing for the other to control.
Communicate honestly. The difficult person may not know how they affect others. Be brave and tell them how their behavior affects you and the relationship. Share your side of things from a calm and neutral perspective, using effective communication skills as a way to shift the dynamic in a controlling relationship. Another way is to communicate from the heart and soul, as it will soften the relationship.
Difficult people can be a handful if not handled carefully. Like unhealthy foods, they need to be taXXXXX XXXXXghtly and minimally. As you practice new ways to own your power with this person, set healthy boundaries around how much time is spent with them.
If your anxiety and panic attacks continue please do seek an appointment with your doctor. Summary is to set very clear boundaries with her. Please click ACCEPT for the help you received. Or, ask for more info. Thank you!