What To Do If Your Partner Has A Steamroller Personality
What Is A Steamroller?
“Steamroller” is a term used to describe a person who uses aggression to control others and get their own way. You may know more than one person in your life who fits this description, but it can be especially troubling if one of these people is your partner.
In this guide, we will cover:
- warning signs that your partner has a steamroller personality
- how to deal with a steamroller
- how to manage living with a steamrolling partner
Signs Your Partner Is A Steamroller
It may not be immediately obvious that your partner falls into the category of “steamroller”. Here are some telltale signs to look out for:
- Steamrollers tend to dominate every conversation.
- They talk over you (often loudly) and display unhealthy communication habits.
- They are often angry and aggressive.
- They have little to no regard for your individuality (they may get angry when you show signs of separateness)
- They try to control you and your feelings.
How To Deal With A Steamroller
Steamrollers can often be difficult to live with, particularly if you find it difficult to stand up for yourself in relationships. However, there are some steps you can take to help the “steamroller” recognise what they are doing:
- Use firm body language when talking to them (plant your feet firmly on the floor, maintain good posture and keep your arms relaxed by your sides).
- Show you’re not intimidated by their behaviour by maintaining good eye contact (make sure you do this in a way that is natural and non-aggressive)
- When they interrupt you, ask them to stop. Then either continue what you were saying or start again.
- Let them know if you don’t agree with them.
- Don’t be afraid to question what they communicate, and ask them to explain their viewpoint.
Remember that steamroller personalities often come from low self-worth and when someone believes their partner is an extension of them. Implementing these actions will help remind them your partner you are your own person, with your own thoughts, opinions and feelings. In some cases this could be enough for them to recognise that their behaviour needs to change to avoid any conflict.
This is what one of our sexologists had to say, “Effective communication is the backbone of every relationship. Crisis or conflicts that couples experiencing in their relationship are often the result of breakdown in their communication. Couples who can listen and express their thoughts, feelings and needs truthfully, openly and actively to their partners, not afraid of having any difficult conversations, and feeling safe in sharing their vulnerabilities are more likely to have healthy and secure relationship.” – Law May Ortovent.
The Most Important Thing To Do When Living With A Steamroller
In addition to implementing the tips above, it is absolutely critical to stop fixing the problems that your “steamroller” partner creates. This can be a tempting idea, but when you do so, you are enabling their “steamroller” behaviour because they are not forced to face the problems they cause in the conflict. The “steamroller” needs to experience the effort and understanding it takes to solve these issues. Forcing the “steamroller” to clean up the mess caused by their destructive ways could teach them to be less reckless.
1. Confide In A Friend
It may be helpful to confide in a close friend or family member if you feel like you need additional support, different perspectives, and new ideas.
Having other people in your life outside of your relationship that you can openly talk to is critical for both your mental health and a healthy relationship. These people may also offer advice that will have a positive impact on your relationship. However, remember to avoid sharing too much personal information about your partner.
2. Work With a Therapist To Form A Plan
Recognise that healthy relationships don’t revolve around one person controlling the other. They involve acceptance of the other person and a lot of negotiation so that both partners get what they need. However, it can be difficult to get to this point when your partner is a steamroller.
Working with a therapist in marriage/couple’s counselling can greatly improve your relationship and is one of the best things you can do to avoid emotional abuse. A counsellor will work with you to help establish what degree of control is acceptable and what is not.
A psychologist can be especially helpful when dealing with this type of relationship dynamic as they help to make sure the viewpoints of both parties are heard and understood.
Note: While having friends, family and a psychologist to confide in can be very beneficial, please seek help immediately if your partner is engages in abusive behaviour towards you and/or your kids.
24/7 Crisis Lines:
- Emergency 000: For immediate danger
- 1800RESPECT 1800 737 732: For issues related to sexual assault or/and family and domestic violence.
- Mensline Australia 1300 789 978: Support for men or boys dealing with relationship issues.
- Lifeline 13 11 14: For anyone experiencing personal crisis or contemplating suicide.