Women know how to control men — we do. It’s a skill we had to learn because, for centuries, women have been marginalized and overlooked in our male-dominated culture.
Women don’t get paid the same, women have men legislating what they can with their own bodies — women, to this day, are not granted the same social, political, or economic status as most men.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t get stuff done, and we owe a lot of that to our innate knowledge of how to control men.
Women are excellent at getting shit done. And one of the most effective ways that we’ve learned to accomplish our goals is by manipulating men into doing what we need them to do.
In fact, we’re so skilled at this, most times, men don’t even realize what we’re doing.
It’s like Inception. Women are so good at subtly pushing and herding their men that the men suddenly find themselves cleaning out the garage and thinking that it was their idea to do it.
It’s a powerful ability — one that women have to wield carefully, particularly when we’re in a relationship.
Wives control their husbands because they’re missing something in their real life.
Expert Christy Whitman says, “the way someone treats you equates to how women control men. Our inner world (thoughts, feelings, perspective, beliefs) reflects our outer world (experiences, situations, circumstances). If we are experiencing lack of any kind, we feel fear and then want to control everyone and everything.”
But not all women are controlling, obviously. If you’re a woman reading this, and your relationship is healthy and positive, hats off to you.
If you want to appreciate the full strategic power of the female will, here are 4 ways that women subtly control men without the men ever realizing it…
1. Women treat men like children.
Do men sometimes act like children? Totally. But that doesn’t mean that women should reinforce that behavior by pandering to it.
When a woman reacts to a grown man like he’s a seven-year-old, she might feel frustrated, but, in reality, she’s trying to force his hand or force the outcome that she wants.
If a woman can’t trust her man enough to let him do the grocery shopping or fold the laundry, it’s not that he can’t do it. (He’s a grown-up. He can.) She just wants those tasks done exactly how she wants.
So rather than just leaving him to his own devices, she steps in, which, ultimately, makes more work for her and reinforces the guy’s suspicions that he can’t even accomplish basic tasks on his own.
The woman controls the situation but prevents it from ever-improving. It’s a vicious circle. Women need to realize that four of the most controlling words we can say are “I’ll just do it.”
2. Women get quiet.
Women are ninja masters at this. If a man is frustrated and wants you to do something, normally, he’s going to just come out and say it. He might yell, he might whine, but, however, he does it, men often have a hard time keeping their inner desires inside. They want them to be expressed so they express them in the bluntest way possible.
Women, on the other hand, take a different — and probably way more effective — approach. We go silent. We stop talking. We get distant.
Women will often justify those cold silences by saying “I needed some time” or “I was processing things,” but, by refusing to engage, it leaves our men thinking “What? What did I do?”
Those silences can get so uncomfortable that men quickly will do almost anything to end them. “Do you want me to admit I’m wrong? Change my shirt? Start going to the gym more? Say something!”
By refusing to express what we want, women make men almost desperate to comply with our wishes, if it will only mean that the silent treatment will end. It involves next to no talking and it’s staggeringly effective.
3. Women flatter men.
Flattery is a useful tool to control most people, but it works particularly well on men. It appeals to two separate but powerful aspects of being a man — that men are raised with the (unrealistic) expectation that they can do anything and that men are rarely complimented (beyond a stoic “Good job”).
But a woman’s flattery overwhelms both of those conditions with pandering and praise. “Honey, I’m not good with technology, can you figure out this remote for me?” “Babe, can you load up the car for me? The suitcases are so heavy and you’re so good at getting everything in there!”
Granted, some of those compliments might be genuine, but it is still a form of control. The woman wants something accomplished, so she lavishes her man with praise, letting him know that he’s the BEST at doing whatever she wants done.
It’s probably not true. (She’s a grown woman. She can figure out a remote.) But the flattery is a proven way to get the man to do what she wants, so why not use it?
4. Women compare men to other men.
This kind of control technique is frequently used in parenting, but it’s actually much more effective when the involved parties are older. It’s the classic “look at that nice boy” strategy. A parent might use it to shame their teenager into working harder at home or academically.
“Look at Linda’s son, he has a 4.0 grade point average and works at the nursing home after-school every day!”
The grown-up version of this occurs when a woman is unsatisfied with some aspect of the man in her life, so she openly starts making unflattering comparisons between her guy and other men in their lives.
“Bill just got a promotion… Roger is building that whole addition by himself… Rick goes to the gym five times a week and he loves it, never complains…”
Statements like that not only shame her man into action, but they also prey on the man’s ego. Because it’s not just simple nagging. It’s saying “this other man is clearly superior to you.” That can kill a man’s sense of self-worth and drive him to fight back against the comparison.
These techniques are undeniably effective, but they beg the question — Is it worth manipulating and toying with a man’s ego just to get him to take his shoes off when he comes in the house?
Because being controlling isn’t always a good thing. Women need to realize that “with great power comes great responsibility” and, when possible, we should try to be open and direct with our men.
Treat them like equal partners and see if you can compromise to get what you want from them.
And if that doesn’t work… control away. (He won’t even know it’s happening.)
Elizabeth Ayers-Callahan is a writer focusing on love and relationship issues, and is a frequent contributor to YourTango.