In Control but Not Controlling

Women want men who are in control of themselves but not controlling of others. In the face of conflict and confrontation a woman wants a man to rise to the occasion and respond with calmness, confidence, and calculated decision-making. If you’re terrified of confrontation and your idea of being ‘in control’ is by forcing your will and desires on others, you’re not a man of who’s in control.

Being a man ‘in control’ means that you are able to display grace under pressure while in the midst of difficult situations. A woman may test you to find out whether or not you’re a man who’s capable of handling confrontations and challenges with tact, poise, and even a sense of humor. She wants to know if you can rationally handle her irrational emotions, stand up to her, or “vibe with her on an emotionally-charged level. And in order to display this grace under pressure it is imperative for a man to maintain his frame.

Your frame is the method of interpretation you use to comprehend a certain event or situation. In simpler terms, your frame is a set of self-beliefs that determine how you define the outside world in relation to yourself. Keep in mind that the most important factor in how you respond depends on the frame you choose as you interact with a woman.

man and women wrestling

For example, responding from a frame in which you see yourself as a “prized catch”, a man of strength, authority, and leadership, will communicate confidence and therefore the congruence she’s testing you for. Responding from a frame of “unworthiness” in which you place yourself in a position of submission, supplication, and approval seeking, communicates your uncertainty. If you’re in a relationship, her tests will continue to escalate until you get it right. If you’re just getting to know her she might just lose complete interest in you altogether.

If You’re Selling It You’d Better Believe in It

The whole point of testing a man for congruence is to see if he believes his own press. A woman wants to know if what a man is presenting is in fact, the real deal. In other words, if you really don’t believe in what you’re selling, she’ll know soon enough.

For example, if you’re extremely confident in a particular area in your life it may come off as arrogant to some people. As this confident display piques a woman’s interest she may manifest her curiosity with a question like, “Are you always this arrogant?”

Now, a man less convinced of his own righteousness might begin to question himself. Such a man will respond in an approval seeking way by saying, “Well, not really. I’m just kidding you know?” or in a nervous manner to hide his shame, “You’ve got me all wrong. I’m not that kind of guy. I’m actually a really modest guy!”

Again, fail.

In this example, the woman has succeeded in finding the truth about him as she thinks, “Oh! So he is arrogant and is trying to convince me otherwise in order to gain my approval or he’s acting arrogant because he really isn’t that confident in himself after all.”

Either way, this self-doubting response is a sign that this man has placed a higher value on this woman’s opinion about him than on his own opinion. He has unknowingly surrendered his own self perceptions in favor of one he thinks she might approve of and thusly fails her test.

At the opposite end of the scale is the man who thinks that anyone who has an opinion divergent from his own is an idiot that must be punished. Such men usually respond with spitefulness or aggression if they feel they are being challenged. Whereas the first guy responded like a supplicating wussy, this guy might respond in a more irritated tone and say something like, “Are you always this annoying?”

Granted, such a comeback may work on some women, particularly those who enjoy verbal sparring with the opposite sex. But depending on the rapport between the two in this example, it won’t have the desired effect.

This interaction could be even worse if this guy takes her test as a personal affront and starts calling her names. This is obviously something a classy gentleman such as yourself won’t want to do. There are better ways to deal with a woman who’s testing your congruence without being a wussy or trying to control the situation.

The man whose disposition rests at the sweet equilibrium between passivity and aggression knows what it means to be assertive and has full control of himself. In this example, he is a man fully convinced of his own righteousness and will see her question for what it is – her opinion.

To her, whether he’s being arrogant or not is inconsequential. The purpose of her questioning was really to find out whether or not his outward actions are a product of supreme inner confidence or camouflaged insecurities.

confused man

So what might be a better response? Well, that depends on his certainty (or what’s congruent with his reality). If he really does come across as arrogant sometimes, then he shouldn’t try to hide it. Like this:

Her: “Are you always this arrogant?”

Him (with an overconfident grin): “So I’ve been told.”

This is a simple, firm, and honest response that succinctly says, “I don’t care what you think of me.” No games or gimmicks, and if she’s a woman of quality she’ll immediately get the message that he actually does believe his own press and he’s comfortable in his own skin. In short, this is a man who’s in control of himself.

Keep in mind that I’m not condoning men to behave like arrogant, inconsiderate brutes. The main idea to gather from this article is to not allow other’s opinions of you to determine whether or not you approve of yourself.

We all have room for improvement in terms of character development, and even an arrogant man can show his humility by how he handles his detractors. In fact, being honest with others about your flaws is a major key to building relationships. I discuss how to do this effectively in another article.

Calling Out Her Negative Behaviors

Have enough guts to call your woman out on her negative or unattractive behaviors. I’m not talking about giving her a hard time if she makes an honest mistake and she’s sincerely apologetic for it. I’m talking about putting a spotlight on a woman’s consistent negative behaviors; things like disrespectfulness, rudeness, manipulation, pettiness, etc.

Anything she does that clearly communicates that she’s acting unreasonable, being manipulative, or disrespectful is grounds for being called out. The same applies for her unattractive behavior that clearly communicates low character, i.e. lying, stealing, slander, etc.

I’ve heard women say that they like being with a man who knows when to call them out on their unattractive behavior. This isn’t new knowledge unless you’ve been raised on a deserted island somewhere so it shouldn’t come as a shock to you.

A quality woman doesn’t want to be with a man she can walk all over like a doormat. While she may enjoy the pleasing, supplicating nature of such a man for a short period of time, she’ll quickly realize how irritating and unmanly (unattractive) he actually is. In short, men who always give women what they want and who let them get away with bad behavior are repulsive to women.

Imagine you are driving in the car with the woman you love and you both are enjoying playful banter and great conversation. Eventually, she starts talking about a situation at work that upset her and you hear her out to let her vent. You progressively notice however, that she’s no longer just talking about a situation but she’s actually badmouthing another human being, and she’s being really nasty about it.

If this sort of behavior is highly distasteful to you, you might grow irritated. If you know your wife or girlfriend is “better than that” based on her overall character, listening to her badmouth another person turns you off. So what do you do when such behavior is making you uncomfortable? You call it out…like a man.

Here’s an example as to how this might play out:

Her: “That’s why I can’t stand Maria. She’s a bimbo and a _______, and I hate having to put up with her stupid _______ around the office. Everything about her makes me sick. Even her husband is a complete piece of….”

Him: “Okay, that’s enough. Look, I don’t mind you venting to me but I’m not going to listen to you if you insist on defaming this person. It’s very unattractive and I know you’re better than this.”

Her: “Are you serious?”

Him: “Yes. Save this sort of thing for your girlfriends. I’ll have no part of it.”

In this example all you’re doing is setting a boundary. You’re not trying to control or change her, you’re just making it clear that you won’t endorse this kind of behavior and that you’d prefer it if she cease and desist. Of course, you may receive a snippy comment after you’ve spoken your mind but it’s best to just ignore it. Give her time to process what you just said.

If you’re consistent about it you’ll come to realize that a high-quality woman will actually admire when you’re honest with her about her behavior. It tells her that you truly care about the quality of her character and expect high standards for her. Women, just like men, need a bit of tough love every now and then too.

Of course, if you decided to be the “Nice Guy” instead and just let it slide…again, she’ll continue on in her unattractive behavior until it completely turns you off and frustrates you. The result? You become passive-aggressive and avoid her because of how “annoying” she is. Had you pointed out the annoying behavior in the first place you wouldn’t have to endure it. A man should not complain against that which he allows to torment him.

The key to successfully influencing a woman when you call out her negative behavior is consistency. If you’re inconsistent she’s not going to believe you’re for real. If you’re The Big Bad Wolf while on vacation with your family but back home you’re Mr. Nice Guy, she’s not going to take you seriously, and neither will anyone else for that matter.

Don’t think that you can be two different people around her just because the environment or situation changes. Your frame must be consistent if you want to be taken seriously.

If you still feel at a complete loss when it comes to communicating your needs or even criticizing another person, check out the best selling book by Dale Carnegie called, How to Win Friends and Influence People. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a communications book that’ll show you how to speak your mind with confidence without ruining your relationships. Sometimes it is what you say and how you say it that counts. It’s an excellent book if you want to improve your ability to reprove a woman respectfully so that you don’t break any emotional glass.

A Word of Caution

It is exceedingly difficult to get a woman to accept your disapproval of her behavior and change to please you if she isn’t already highly attracted to you or emotionally invested in you. I say this mainly to two groups of guys:

1. Single guys who find themselves compelled to reproach a woman they barely know and…

2. Guys in relationships with women that have little to no respect for them.

As I’ve already discussed, the guys in the latter group have a problem with consistency. As for the guys in the former, the problem isn’t consistency; it’s a matter of authorization.

If you have just begun dating a woman and her interest in you hasn’t developed to the point where she’s completely infatuated with you, attempts to curb her negative behavior might end the courtship. Why?

Her investment in you is so miniscule that she won’t feel compelled to submit to your brand of masculine authority. She’ll probably think to herself that it’s in her best interest to move on and find a man “less demanding” (more accepting of her bad behavior) than stick around to put up with such a “control freak” (man with boundaries).

In the early stages of dating, a man and woman will always try to put their best foot forward in order to maintain the illusion of being the ideal catch. Some women may play aloof, some won’t play games at all, but few will easily yield to the desires of a man they have not yet approved of as “worthy” to lead them. To make matters even more difficult, the things she finds attractive about you can be rationalized away in her mind rather swiftly if she feels as if you have no right to reprove her.

Of course, whether she might respond favorably or not shouldn’t determine how you deal with negative behavior. It’s much better to be clear about what you want as early on as possible. The good part about this is if you do call her out on her negative behavior and she apologizes, she’s probably worth keeping around.

The other benefit here is that you can actually gauge a woman’s capacity to accept a man’s leadership by the way she responds to your sincere disapproval. If she consciously works at curbing her behavior to please you, it’s a sign that she respects your boundaries. In this case, you’ve got a winner on your hands.

On the flip side, if she rejects what you have to say no matter how rational you are, chances are she’ll be too much trouble to deal with later on anyway. As with all things, being honest and clear with your boundaries will help you separate the chaff from the wheat when it comes to finding a quality woman.

how to handle women

I’ll admit that such situations are quite delicate and require tact, confidence, and a sort of amused mastery when it comes to dealing with women. You may have just met what appears to be a great girl and as you are getting to know her you realize that she has ways about her that you find disrespectful.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide how to proceed forward. If you’re more interested in game playing, you might make more allowances for her behavior. But if you’re a man who truly appreciates the candor and kindness of high-character women, you are likely to show less forbearance for undesirable behavior.

Reframing Your Displeasure for Her Pleasure

If you want to communicate your displeasure or dissatisfaction to your woman without coming off like a complete jerk try reframing the situation for both of your benefits. It all comes down to communication. And as I’ve probably repeated a thousand times already, sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it that matters most in a relationship.

For example, let’s say that on your path to being radically honest with the woman you love and you feel the urge to tell her just how much you despise a pair of shoes that she seems to wear all the time. It’s not that she wears them for beauty; she loves them because they’re comfortable. And every single time she puts them on you want to tell her just how ugly they are and how unattractive they make her look overall. But you never speak your mind because you’re too afraid of hurting her feelings or inviting her fury. So what’s a man to do? Simple. Reframe your displeasure for her pleasure.

So instead of telling her just how ugly the shoes are you can reframe the situation by telling her that her shoes don’t match up to her beauty. Reframe your displeasure to communicate to her that you think the shoes are below her standards and that you’d like for her to purchase a new pair, one that’s more comfortable and attractive.

Tell her this in a confident but laid back tone. You’re not commanding her to change her shoes; you’re simply expressing your disapproval in a sincere way. This shows her that you actually pay special interest to her appearance and that you enjoy seeing her at her best.

Notice that I said “you” enjoy seeing her at her best. If you honestly believe that she gains pleasure by being visually pleasing she’ll believe it as well. But you have to communicate your displeasure in a confident and at times, playful tone in order to boost her self esteem while making her mindful of what you want.

Ignore the Bait

Sometimes, no wait…a lot of times; your woman is going to tempt you to take the bait. She’s going to say something designed to get a certain emotional response from you and it’s going to come when you least expect it. I guarantee you, that if you take the bait…you’re in for a hell of a ride. Heck, if you even acknowledge that the bait exists, you’re already too far down the rabbit hole.

Anytime you find yourself responding with a “What exactly is that suppose to mean?” in an annoyed or hurt tone of voice, you can just stamp fail on your forehead and call it a day. When situations like this arise, the best thing you can do for both you and your woman is to ignore the bait.

Let’s say you just initiated a discussion about something that interests you. It’s a harmless conversation and you never had any intention of it leading into her getting upset, slighted, or offended. But she does. Something you say changes her mood, fast. You see it all over her face, you hear it in her voice, and you notice that her statements become more and more edgy, almost as if she’s looking for a fight (one that you won’t win).

What’s actually happening is that you’re being baited, slowly but surely, into a discussion that you never had any intention of getting into. For some reason, something you said taps into an insecurity she has and how you respond to her prodding, edgy statements will make all the difference in whether you’re able to secure a win or a loss.


How do you know when her insecurities are flaring up and you’re being baited into a hornet’s nest? Easy. The moment she says something that causes every single red alarm to sound off inside your head, you’re being baited. The moment she says something that makes your heart skip a beat because you just know where this is headed, you’re being baited. It will differ from situation to situation, but you will know. You might even get a sick feeling in your stomach as past arguments flashback in your mind in mere moments.

Regardless of how her baiting affects you, it will trigger something in you that will warn you of impending danger. This is the point of no return, and crossing this point with her usually doesn’t end well for either of you. So what do you do when you reach this ill-fated communicative threshold? Simple. You ignore the bait.

Because the thing she said to you will trigger an emotional reaction within you, you have a few fleeting moments to choose how you respond to her. Keep in mind however, that in this scenario the snarky statement she makes will not be posed as a question. You cannot ignore a question. So if she asks you a question ignoring the bait won’t work. But more often than not, her remark will be an attempt to “get the last word”, in order to tick you off, coerce you to apologize, or run after her.

She’s insecure and she (perhaps subconsciously) wants you to know about it. And the best way she’s going to accomplish this is to say something that, based on her experience with you, she knows is going to trigger a negative emotional response from you that’s favorable to her. And consider this: sometimes a woman will do this in an effort to curb your future behavior. She might actually want you to have a negative association with the topic at hand so that you’ll avoid doing whatever you did to evoke her insecurities in the future. Pure genius.

I’m one-hundred percent positive that in these situations a man can totally ignore the bait and pass this test with flying colors. Why? Because I eventually learned that when a woman is insecure about something you said she will say certain things to escalate a normal conversation into a communication nightmare that’s designed to make you lose your cool or chase after her.

Every time one of these tests was lobbed at me it was done so to make me feel guilt, shame, anger, or a nauseating concoction of all three. If I felt guilty enough, I’d chase her to apologize. If I felt shame, I’d chase her to make her feel happy again. And if I felt anger, well, we’d get into a senseless argument that usually led to nowhere fast.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems apologizing when I know that I’m wrong or when I offend my wife. The problem occurs when a man finds himself constantly apologizing for his woman’s insecurities. Sometimes it’s not you r problem…it’s hers. You’re not personally responsible for a woman’s insecurities. I mention this because remembering that “it’s not about me…it’s her” at the very moment she triggers that emotional response is crucial to keeping your composure and ignoring her tantalizing bait.

Realizing that you’re not responsible for making her feel happy whenever her emotions get the best of her is powerful. In that moment, you can let her emotions wash over you without taking it personally. The moment you take it personally, you take the bait; hook, line, and sinker.

When you keep your composure after a snarky remark that’s clearly designed to bait you, you’re much more able to see her behavior for what it is – a test – and you’re much more capable of walking away from it. In situations like this, choosing not to play her game is a victory in and of itself. By ignoring the bait you can address the issue at another time when she’s not feeling as vulnerable.

A woman whose emotions have been compromised due to her insecurities will attempt to shake you as well. When she dangles the bait (her snarky statement) in front of you, ignore it, maintain your composure, and if needed, address it when you both have more emotional balance.

Disarming Her Bombs

Certain kinds of tests women give men are like mini bombs designed to explode on both the unsuspecting or the uninitiated. If you find yourself in the midst of a loaded congruence test in which you know you can’t escape, the best thing you can do is disarm it.

An effective communication strategy for disarming her test is to first agree with her then exaggerate her statement in a playful, teasing way. This shows her that you’re not afraid of upsetting her, that you’ve got moxie, that you won’t lie to her, and that you’re not going to “fall for that” trap again.

By agreeing and exaggerating her statement or question you’re using wit to reframe her challenge into something a lot less threatening. Think of it as taking the bite out of her bark or taking the venom out of her sting. You’re essentially turning lemons into lemonade by neutralizing her words.

By agreeing you’re communicating that you’re actually empathizing with her point of view. By exaggerating you’re communicating that her statement/question is, in fact, absurd. Simply put, it’s a communication strategy for getting her to realize just how irrational/bizarre her statement/question really is.

girls in class room

All this must be done in a confident, self-amused, playful way. You’re not insulting her; you’re just making light fun of her to highlight the absurdity of what she’s saying. Also keep in mind that when a woman is more receptive to your leadership, this technique will work with flying colors.

If she hasn’t been thoroughly convinced of your masculine assertiveness, things may get worse before they get better. Consistency is key if you’re determined to develop a relationship dynamic where you lead and she supports your leadership.

If you’re already in a relationship with a woman or plan to be someday, I suggest you study a few of the following examples to fully grasp how agreeing and exaggerating can disarm her nagging, teasing, of testing statements:

Her: “You actually think you’re handsome?”

You: “Of course, you know you can’t help yourself around all this man candy.”
Her: “Are you just going to play video games all day?”

You: “You bet. And with enough practice I can quit my job and do this full-time.”

Her: “We’re watching this movie again?”

You: “It’s great isn’t it? I’m so glad you’re excited!”

Her: “Do I look stupid to you?”

You: “I think you’re smarter than you look.”

Her: “Are you always this late?”

You: “Only when I’m picking up beautiful women.”

Her: “You never listen to me.”

You: “What’s that now?”

As always, a word of caution: If these responses turn her into a frisky kitten and she starts to verbally tease you as well, you’re winning. If you make her smirk, giggle, or she hits you on the arm in a playful way, you’re winning. Even if you get a mild sigh of annoyance and a bratty eye roll, you’re still winning.

However, if she continues to flare up in your face and escalate her antagonistic behavior, something deeper may be going on that actually needs your attention. If this is the case, you may want to turn the knob down on the playfulness and take her a bit more seriously for the moment. Either that, or as I mentioned before, she hasn’t had consistent exposure to your assertiveness and therefore she’s not “buying” your act…yet.

Light-hearted teasing, witty repartee, and over the top sarcasm are all effective ways at disarming a woman’s congruence test as long as it is, in fact, a test. These examples aren’t one-size-fits-all scenarios and the responses won’t work if she’s actually trying to get more from you than a confirmation of your strength and confidence.

Remember, not everything a woman says or does is a test, but when it is a test, agreeing and exaggerating will be your ace-in-the-hole. This is the key to communicating with her in a way that sparks attraction rather than resentfulness and contempt.

The Three-Word Neutralizer

Another great way to respond to a woman who is clearly communicating with you in a hostile tone is to wait until she’s finish her tirade, look her squarely in the eyes, and in a calm, firm, masculine tone ask her, “Are you done?” If she’s clearly been communicating in a disrespectful or antagonistic way just to trigger an emotional reaction from you, show her none.

A woman’s test may come in the form of hostile displays of emotionally charged behavior that’s specifically designed to make you lose your cool. Women sometimes do this consciously just to see if they can easily get to you. A lot of guys unknowingly fall into this trap by losing their cool as they end up in a pointless quarrel or hopeless argument with their woman. By playing her game you fail the test and she loses a little bit more respect for you in the process.

So what’s the answer? Simple. Show her that you’re not going to play her little game by totally destroying her emotional tirade with a calm, confident response. The sentence, “Are you done?” perfectly illustrates exactly what’s going on in your head. This short response tells her that you’re not going to take part in her game, that you’re not impressed with her attempts to shake/break you, and that even though you acknowledge the fact that she needed to “act out” you’re ready for her to act like an adult once again.

This statement has the potential to either escalate her hostility or obliterate her aggression altogether. Use the momentary lull to firmly communicate that you’d prefer not to be talked to in such a disrespectful way in the future. If she continues with her aggression, simply walk off and refuse to endure such abuse. If your three-word disarmament calms her down and makes her realize that she’s being unreasonable, give her a confident smile and end it with this: “Nice to have you back.”

Risky? You bet. Rewarding? Absolutely.