Dear Meli,

I have been working in the same office for over twelve years. My boss has been bothering me for just about that long! She is really controlling – pretty much the essence of a micro manager. Just when I think that things are getting better, she clamps down again on something I’m doing. Do you have any good ideas about how to handle someone who tries to control your every move?!

Cramped by Control


Dear Cramped,

This sounds very challenging. A friend of mine used to say (always in the most annoying of circumstances), “Oh! What a fabulous opportunity for a breakthrough!”

I thought of him when I read your note.

The first thing I would suggest is looking for the value for your soul in this “opportunity.” As difficult as it is, in times like this, I ask myself the following questions:

1. Where/how am I like this?

In this case, for instance, you might ask, “What or who do I control in my life?” (I feel like I want to apologize for this one, but it is always where I start.)

2. What can I appreciate about them?

If you can make a list of all the things you appreciate about this person, it may make you realize that this is a small, not big, annoyance. You may find that, within the greater context, her controlling behavior is a small thing.

3. What might be the opportunity here for me?

By this I mean for your soul’s evolution. What is it that you could learn from this situation? How could you use it to grow your self?

When I am faced with a difficult person, I look for the good. Even when I feel I have to search diligently to find it.

You can ask, How is this serving me? How can I love myself in this situation?

4. What can I do to have greater compassion for and/or patience with her? 

I find that by imagining that I am the person with whom I’m experiencing a challenge, I can often feel into what is motivating their behavior.

For instance, perhaps her life at home feels like it’s falling apart. I find that bringing greater understanding in this way can often inspire much greater compassion in my own heart. This can bring a stronger sense of patience.

5. What do I think she should be like instead?

Are you wanting her to be perfect? (Just worth asking…)

6. Is it time for me to go?

Is this person someone you simply don’t want to be around any more? Is that a workable option?

There is a possibility that you are being treated in a way that really doesn’t work for you. If this is true, you may want to look within for the aspects of your own being that feel it is appropriate to be treated badly. What do you believe you deserve? Healing that belief can change outside circumstances (seemingly) magically!

I hope these questions can bring some spaciousness to your experience at work, so you are no longer cramped.

Blessings and Love to you in all you do,


How have you handled controlling people? Share your comments below!

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