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Do it my way! Domineering People

Dear Rose,

I have a hard time dealing with bossy / Alpha-type people. I don’t know that I see anyone else dealing any better. Advice?

- Anonymous

Well, I don’t know exactly what the situation is, but bossiness is a hard trait, both to deal with in someone else, and to overcome in yourself. Some people seem to be naturally domineering – their negative side taking over their better side. They often don’t seem to realize it, and may need to be told that, frankly, they are being a jerk.

In the case between parents/caretakers and children, bossiness is a necessity. And if this is you, I’m sorry to say this, but it is a parent’s role to put boundaries on their charges in order to keep them safe and help them to learn how to live life to the fullest as an adult. If you think that they are being too domineering, or emotionally abusive, then you should talk to another trusted adult for guidance.

(Amusingly enough, I’ve watched people I know raise their kids to teenagers, and then become extremely bossy all of a sudden–not just to their kids, but to everyone around them!)

If you are an adult, then bossiness is a little easier to handle, as long as you remember who YOU are. NO ONE can make you feel bad if you don’t set yourself up for it. And make sure to absolutely STAND UP for yourself if it’s necessary and not just annoying. (Sorry for the caps – I just wanted to make sure you read that part – lol!)

If the domineering person is your boss, I hate to say this, but you’re just going to have to suck it up, and do anything in your power to 1) get transferred to a better boss, 2) look for a different job, or 3) just deal with that person the way they are. You can try talking to them about it, or talking to their supervisor about it, but if that seems unlikely to do any good, then just keep it to yourself as much as you can. Complaining about it to other work people is just going to make work more negative and stressful. Whatever you do however, make peace with your decision!

If you have a person who is your equal or below you at work, who is bossy or domineering in a way that is not helpful for you, and if you’re unable to talk to them about their behavior, just try to avoid them as much as you can. Talk with your supervisor about it, who may talk to their supervisor. Otherwise, when they approach you, try your best to keep your temper and to keep the conversation short. Compassion can also go a long way here.

Finally, if it’s someone your in a personal relationship with, I really feel for you. Unless you’re a certain kind of person, domineering people are just no good to live with. I would examine yourself very honestly. Look for what drew you to them, and decide if this is truly something you can live with. If you can’t, you may need to find help.

I once dated a guy from France who was very domineering. It was an extremely short dating period. The first few dates when he took my food away from me after a few bites (I was not overweight then), I didn’t say anything, and just assumed it was a different culture and I needed to understand it. We had been having really great conversations, so I just went home and made myself a snack. However, the more time we spent together, the more he did it. He once offered me a really nice bar of chocolate. I broke off a small piece off of it to try it. He took the package of chocolate, and the piece from me, and broke that little quarter sized piece in half again….

I quit dating him at that exact time, and went to McDonald’s to celebrate. No one has a right to try to control you like that.

To this day, I’m glad my cat peed on his shoes.

Good luck with your problem, and I hope this helped some, and maybe even made you laugh!

All best,


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