Episode #42: Tips for Dismantling the Controlling Codependent Dysfunction

Did you know that the bossy, selfish friend or partner you always complain about is likely codependent? If you answered no, you aren’t alone. People who use dominant codependent behaviours, especially controlling behaviors, look the same and act the same as narcissistic people at times. That’s because we don’t give them the same empathy or compassion as “nice” submissive codependents. Instead, most people react to them by vilifying them and complaining to friends and family members about them and how powerless they are to do anything about their behavior.

People who use the Controlling Codependent Strategy don’t always know they are being bossy or offensive. Like others who are codependent they need to be in control, and their way of getting that need met is by making everyone around them aligns with their agenda. When others are being submissive towards them, it empowers the Controlling Codependent person and reassures them that others need and depend on them. This unconscious dynamic ultimately leads to relationship breakups, children failing to launch, and unhappiness in all parties to name just a few of the consequences of this strategy.

In today’s episode, we will recount many stories (our own and of our clients) and share tips and tricks for dismantling on the Dominant Strategies used in codependent relationships that you can start implementing today. Tune in to make sure you don’t miss out on the gems we share this week!

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  • [02:01] Episode Introduction and Overview
  • [03:04] What Is the Controlling Codependent Dysfunction?
  • [10:51] Behaviors of the Controlling Codependent Strategy
  • [30:14] Tips for Dismantling the Controlling Codependent Strategy
  • [44:13] Episode Gem
  • [45:59] Episode Wrap Up



  • Controlling Codependents are frequently seen as “control freaks” or “micromanagers.” They overpower and take charge in such a way that it shuts down everyone around them. They don’t ask others what they want and make decisions based on what they believe is right and just expect others to follow. They create fear, obedience, and submission rather than collaboration and partnership.
  • Controlling Codependents feel the need to be the ones who define the rules of conduct and behavior for the relationship. These people demonstrate an air of superiority as though they have been chosen to enlighten others. They don’t just inform others, they talk down to them, making sure the other person is punished for opposing them or presenting another idea.
  • Controlling Codependent people need to develop the capacity to use their right brain, the relational side of the brain. Softening their approach, asking instead of telling, sharing their feelings, and learning to empathize with others are all aspects of the next stage of development. While it may be anxiety-producing to not be in control, opening up and trusting the people you love is critical.
  • If you are struggling in relationships because you or others are using the Controlling Dysfunctional Codependent Strategy, you are not alone. Contact us for more information on how we can help.




"Deciding to compensate for poor performance instead of managing it is an act of self- disempowerment."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 3 - "Self-disempowerment starts from within. Leaders need to recognize when they are keeping their self-esteem low."

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