It does not matter your age when you are dealing with the frustrating case of know-it-all or controlling parents. You could be a young teenager or you could be fifty. Their influence on you is strong, they installed the triggers they pull to get you to think a certain way, and they have known how to read your body language and vocal expressions for years. How do you fight that? Well, it is simple. You try a little bit of the unexpected.
The Set-up. When dealing with Know-it-alls, it is important to remember how they keep their control or feeling of control. They assess all of the things you have reacted to in the past, pick the most reactive phrases and behavior, and draw your temper or your feeling of helplessness right out in the open. They know what gets to you and they are practiced at using those things against you.
In order to set up the first foundation of getting your power back, you must lose all reaction to them and their behavior. This means no immediate reaction, no reactionary or in any way indicative body language, and it also means not running the scenario through your head too many times. This last one tends to eventually bring about a delayed reaction, one where you wait until they are gone and then react. You have to think about and practice having no reaction, eventually working up to not even having reactionary thoughts when they try to use their normal triggers. Think about how you appear to them at the time of the triggering, and think about how they might consider it a triumph if you were to perform future actions.
Remember, being controlled by always doing the opposite of their wishes is still being controlled.
The Second Foundation: Open-mindedness. One of the best ways your parents or others can target you is based upon their knowledge that you hate being controlled. They expect you to fight and they use this fact to get you to react, make a fool of yourself and make them look sound and reasonable. I am not talking about being a doormat, instead. I am talking about separating yourself from their behavior and lifestyle so completely that you can look at it objectively.
Let us say your mom visits you and brings up ten things for you to do or think about. She is expecting you to either try to look good and act like you accept it fully or to fight her all the way. After all, those are the two reactions you tend to display when she pulls your triggers. With an open mind, you can actually pick out the two things you might find useful or entertaining, rejecting the rest. With this method, the visit is partially productive, she feels a tad more in control and so she is less likely to try to control you, you gain two beneficial things, you get her out of the door sooner, and nobody is angry afterward. This second foundation of open-mindedness will not only be unexpected but it will help to separate you in mind and body from their influence while also not leaving any gaps or holes of resentment or bitterness.
The Final Break. Many people want to get rid of the bad in their lives, but fail to do so because they do not know with what to replace it. You will need a replacement, so do not kid yourself there. Picture this: You are having dinner with your family while they are in town. Your mom asks you when you are going to settle down with a nice girl, and you may or may not be married at that time. Rather than getting angry that she is not minding her own business, you are amused by her lack of a life and crack a light joke without any resentment. If you are indeed married, you may need to make a stand in defense of yourself, your choice and your spouse. If you make a stand, do not raise your voice or keep harping on the issue. State quietly and simply that you do not tolerate disparaging of your wife and that you will not choose to stick around if they do not choose to stop their behavior. At this point, if they continue their behavior, you will not say anything else, you will just pay for your part of the meal, get up and calmly leave.
Assuming everyone in this scenario is still at the dinner table, your dad may ask you if you have been promoted yet, with an obvious allusion to the fact that you have a crappy job. You smile with understanding at how pathetic he is, tell him that you are satisfied with your job, and then conversationally ask him how satisfied he is with his job. At the end of the evening, everyone pays the bill, you calmly get up and leisurely put your coat on. You give everyone a hug and slowly stroll out to your car.
Yes, a family get-together can be this non-invasive. However, in order to get to this point, you will notice that the only change in behavior occurs in you. You are your own person, you are assured in your identity, strengths and self-development, and you do not owe an explanation or an apology to anyone. They can be as callous, spiteful, controlling or obnoxious as they want to be, while you let it glide smoothly past you, never allowing it to stick to you.