We're often led to act against ourselves by an undetected weakness that goes before us -- trying to pass itself off to others -- as a strength. This is secret self-sabotage. It sinks us in our personal and business relationships as surely as a torpedo wrecks the ship it strikes.
Any person you feel the need to control or dominate -- so that he or she will treat you as you "think" you should be treated -- will always be in charge of you... and treat you accordingly. Why? Because anyone from whom you want something, psychologically speaking, is always in secret command of you.
Any action you take to appear strong before another person is actually read by that person as a weakness. If you doubt this finding, review the past interactions and results of your own relationships. The general rule of thumb is that the more you demand or crave the respect of others the less likely you are to receive it.
So it makes no sense to try and change the way others treat you by learning calculated behaviors or attitude techniques in order to appear in charge. The only thing these clever cover-ups really produce is yet another source of secret inner conflict, which, in turn, only fuels further self-sabotage. Besides, what you're really looking for in your relationships isn't command over others -- but over yourself. So what's the answer?
Stop trying to be strong. Instead, start catching yourself about to act from weakness. Each time you feel this pressurized urge to give yourself away, silently but solidly refuse to release this pressure by giving into its demands. It may help you to succeed sooner if you know that fear has no voice unless it tricks you into giving it one. So go silent. This kind of conscious silence is the first step in bringing an end to self-sabotage.