Control Dramas: The Aloof

Ollie the Aloofish Dog

Ollie the Aloofish Dog

Imagine coming home to the scene in this picture. Your dog’s big brown eyes follow you as you walk by. He blinks slowly, shifts slightly and sighs deeply. You know he’s not human, but you still have a strong urge to ask him, “what’s wrong?”

My dog Ollie knows how to deploy the aloof strategy of energy stealing. I literally can’t help myself but to go over and snuggle him when he gets like this. I mean look at him!

It is far less adorable when my charming, intelligent husband utilizes this strategy. When Erich becomes aloof he withdraws from a conversation by becoming vague, unclear or quiet. He may shrug his shoulders exaggeratedly and then stop talking altogether.

Sometimes, when we have guests, he will position himself outside of the group circle, leaned back in a chair looking at his hands or up at the ceiling. Just like I’m drawn to Ollie, I find myself gravitating to Erich saying, “hey, what’s on your mind?”

The Aloof control drama is slightly less passive than the Poor Me. The energy field of an Aloof person feels like uncertainty. You can never be quite sure what they are thinking or feeling. They are harrrrd to read. Personally, I feel IĀ  know more men who fall into this category than women, but I’m sure aloof women are just as difficult to get through to!

When a person is being aloof he will give vague answers to questions. You might ask, “How was your day?” and he would respond, “Oh, fine.” It practically forces a follow-up question or it kills the conversation dead in its tracks. Aloof people might say, “I just don’t feel like talking,” but they will somehow keep you ensnared in a conversation.

It’s like pulling teeth!

"So where are you from"  "Oh, just around..."

“So where are you from”
“Oh, just around…”

If the Poor Me drama makes one look like the victim, than the Aloof strategy makes one look mysterious. As Redfield puts it, “The person constantly creates a vague and mysterious aura around herself, forcing us to pour energy into digging to get information normally shared in a casual manner.” This can be frustrating if the individual behaves this way on a regular basis and it can really take a toll on the energy of their friends and family!

Nothing is every black and white. That is why Redfield warns, “We must remember, however, that not everyone who is being vague or who refuses to give us information about herself is using an Aloof drama. She may just want to remain anonymous for some other reason. Every person has the right to privacy and to share with others only as much as she wants.”

It is only harmful when the Aloof person uses this strategy to manipulate others. The idea is to draw us in, yet keep us at a distance. When we start to lose interest in trying to pry information from them they might say something to get your attention. Many of my aloof friends know how to push my buttons so that as soon as I’m ready to walk away I get baited back into their game. Not cool!

How does this behavior develop?

How does this behavior develop?

How does one develop the aloof personality? Redfield explains,

As with the Poor Me, the Aloof strategy comes from situations in the past. Usually, the Aloof could not share freely as a child because it was threatening or dangerous to do so. In that kind of environment, the Aloof learned to be constantly vague in communication with others while at the same time finding a way to be listened to in order to win energy from others.

As with the Poor Me, the Aloof strategy is a set of unconscious assumptions about the world. The Aloof believes that the world is full of people who can’t be trusted with intimate information. She thinks the information will be used against her at a later date, or will be the basis of criticism. And as always, these assumptions flow out from the Aloof to influence the kinds of events that occur, fulfilling the unconscious intention.

I don’t like to play the Aloof game because it brings out the worst of my own control drama (we will talk about Interrogators tomorrow). Here is what author James Redfield has to say about dealing with an aloof individual:

To deal effectively with someone using an Aloof drama, we must again remember to begin by sending energy. By sending loving energy rather than becoming defensive ourselves, we relieve the pressure to continue the manipulation. With the pressure off, we can begin again, naming the game and bringing the drama into awareness by making it the topic of conversation.

As before, we can expect one of two reactions. First, the Aloof may flee the interaction and sever all communication. This, of course, is always a risk that must be taken, because to say anything else is to continue to play the game. In this case, we can only hope that our directness will begin a new pattern that will lead to self-awareness.

The Aloof’s other reaction may be to stay incommunication but to deny being aloof. In this case, as always, we must consider the truth of what the person is saying. However, if we are sure of our perception, we must hold fast and continue to dialogue with the person. Out of the conversation, we hope, a new pattern will be established.

It is my observation that trust may be the key to free yourself from being Aloof. If you have a tendency to keep others at arm’s length I encourage you to explore your own ability to trust your loved ones and more important yourself. Trust can help you build the foundation for healthy, strong inter-personal relationships. I found this nifty visual aid to help illustrate my point. Notice that each petal has to do with the individual, not with others. Trust, like any quality or belief, is best if you maintain an internal locus of control. That way YOU are in charge!

As usual I hope someone found this helpful! What are your experiences with aloof people? If you are aloof, what experiences do you think contributed to your developing that style of manipulation? I love hearing from my readers so please leave comments!

Much Love,


20 responses to “Control Dramas: The Aloof

  1. Reading your blog is helping me to live with the control freaks in my life. My last girlfriend of 8 years was just too much, I had to call it quits with her, but my 27 yr old son moved back in with me and he’s such a bummer. When something doesn’t go his way (nothing ever does) he’ll start complaining like its my fault. Once I’m ‘down’ he walks back to his room having just dumped his crap on me and he’s happy again. However I’m now carrying his anger. He does this with others as well, it’s his “lifestyle.” He’s pissed of at the whole world, but nothing is really bad going on, it’s in his head. He has a lot to be grateful for, but he doesn’t see it. His mother is like this, so he’ll either grow out of it or stay that way. He doesn’t believe I’ll kick him out of the house, and it would be hard to do. So he takes advantage of even that. I’m getting some good pointers from you to break the pattern, so thanks šŸ™‚

  2. Hip, it sounds like you have a difficult situation on your hands! I am glad my blog helps a bit. On a day when you are feeling particularly full of energy/happy/in a good mood you could try the strategies Redfield suggests. I know that when my Dad is being a total bummer (he’s a Poor Me 100%!) I notice a difference immediately when I give him energy first and THEN point out his drama.
    Giving him my energy freely feels better for me than having it stolen, so I’ll just try to focus on something positive. “Hey dad, you look nice!” or “I’m proud of the way you handled that situation.” Once I feel he has sufficient positive, loving energy from me then I bring to light his drama. I usually say, “it seems like you are trying to make me feel guilty because I didn’t come over yesterday, can’t we just enjoy that I’m here now?” Sometimes he runs, sometimes he denies, but sometimes we actually have a breakthrough. I live for those moments!

    Your son sounds like he may have a combination of aloof and interrogative. You could try to give him the energy first. Maybe point out things you think he’s doing well in his life or in the moment, and then point out his drama. If he’s blaming you for his problems you could say, “it sounds like you are trying to blame me for this problem you have, I am here to help but I won’t accept responsibility for your choices.” Keep a calm loving tone and he may actually respond. What you are looking for is to help him break a pattern of behavior, a habit he has formed. If his mom is that way too it’s likely he’s internalized it in a deep way, so digging it up and dealing with his own energy deficiencies may take some time.

    As for kicking him out…as a 20-something whose parents still baby her from time to time I say that if his attitude and behavior don’t change you should definitely consider giving him the boot. If you don’t treat him like an adult, he’ll never learn to act like one. Have faith in him, support him, but don’t baby him! The world needs more strong, healthy, whole people.

    I hope this wasn’t too preachy. I really feel like I know where you are coming from. This stuff hits home for me everyday!!!


    • Not preachy at all, all advice is welcome. I would rather not kick him out, but I do have boundaries and he’s pushing it. Thanks

  3. Very helpful one especially for those of us who seem to enjoy solitude. I get accused of not showing enough interest in friends and family conversations/affairs. Hope to make some adjustments. Thanks for sharing

    • purplerays, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I’m glad you found this helpful! It sounds like you may be somewhat introverted, yes? Don’t confuse introversion with aloofness. One is a manipulation strategy, the other is a perfectly reasonable personality trait. If you have never taken the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator I highly recommend it. It gives wonderful insights into how we get energy, how we interact with others, and how we prefer to communicate.

      This link is a free version of the test. Click on the box in the upper left corner when you get your results for a detailed description of your personality type. I am an ENFP and the description really hit home for me!

      I hope you find this as useful and fun as I do! If you want to know more about the personality traits you were born with (i.e. the ones that are innately dominant in you since birth) I can also figure your Tarot Birth cards for you! Just leave me your full birth date! or email it to me at


  4. Great read. Up there with The Fool. My take, as a champion of both, an Aloof is a day dreamer with an exit strategy. You are spot on, Trust is the Aloof’s kryptonite. Trust is rooted in Respect.

  5. Relationships require SO much energy. The better I understand them, the more I realize that all true acts of kindness are deliberate and fully loving.

    I used to be aloof, drawing energies into me. But I’d never understand when people called me so, or labelled me mysterious. It was never a conscious approach; simply a technique that I subconsciously adopted due to certain childhood patterns.

    I think I can still have my moments of aloofness, when I am distracted by my own thoughts, or looking at my hands (I actually do that!). But I know that these aren’t behaviours, so much as they are my natural preoccupations. Some times I need to block out the noise, and focus on my thoughts so that my own energy reserves are not dissipated.

    Great post though!

  6. I relate. My aloofness starts when in the company of my wife’s friends. One asked what high school I attended then put up the loser symbol (L) with her fingers. Since then I don’t initiate conversation and remain aloof as a defense mechanism.

    • Eddie, I think it is really helpful that you are aware of that moment and how it impacted you. You can learn to understand what triggers your aloofness better if you pay close attention to those moments. Have you ever read The 4 Agreements? I think you might be interested in the agreement “never take anything personally” and what the Toltecs have to say about it. I have adopted the 4 agreements (though they are difficult to practice consistently I will admit) and it has changed my life. I would be interested to see what you think since you are also an introspective person, but who leans on the aloof side (I am kind of an interrogator)

  7. I tend to be consciously aloof especially at work. I like the benefits of keeping my professional and personal life separate. Working in a stressful open plan corporate environment leads to a lot of small minded talk which I would rather not partake in or even hear for that matter. Am I generally an aloof person? I don’t think so. I think at work people tend to take too much of my energy and the return on investment in the interaction is generally very small. Yes, I am transnational when it comes to work interaction that is not done on a professional level.

    I dislike small talk but in social gatherings I enjoy good conversation with people with whom have similar interests, values and world views. I also prefer one to one conversation. I don’t enjoy group chat. I have labelled myself an introverted extrovert.

    • Hello Lo,
      Thank you for reading and commenting on my post, I appreciate your insights. I think you are making an important distinction between introverted behaviors and *aloof behavior patterns. When discussing the “control dramas” aloof refers to a specific strategy for energy sucking, but I think you can definitely be introverted without needing to suck energy from others.It sounds like you understand your need for space, quiet and alone time and that sounds like a very healthy pattern. It can turn unhealthy when you use space to subtly manipulate others. I have caught myself using this negative aloof patter in personal relationships.

      For example, if I get upset with my partner I might get really quiet and avoid eye contact, and then when he asks me if something’s wrong I might deny it and pretend things are fine. THIS kind of aloofness is an avoidance of being authentic/truthful about my feelings and my needs. It is a game and it literally drains him of his energy if he plays the game with me. Meanwhile, I may get a boost of energy, but it’s not what I really need because it is a temporary fix, the problem is that I am out of alignment with myself. I am lucky that my partner does not play these games and he has helped break me of this pattern almost entirely. I still catch myself doing it sometimes, but I’m able to redirect myself into a more productive activity such as Yoga, Meditation or something creative or playful.

      It sounds to me like you have found a personal balance with your introvert/extrovert energies, but it also sounds to me like the workplace environment you are in is no longer aligned to your present vibration. If that is the case I encourage you to pursue your dreams, whatever they are, and find a way to extract yourself from that place as much as possible.

  8. Thank you! I have been dating my boyfriend for 3 months and could not put my finger on the problem. I thought “ok maybe he just not that into you”. But he tells me he loves me and wants to be with me. His aloofness was making me feel like I was so needy, wanting attention.I don’t like feeling that way! I find myself asking him often if he’s ok. Now that I understand maybe I won’t feel that way anymore.
    Im trying to decide if I should share this with him, not knowing if he ever self anylizes his personality. Not wanting him to think that I think there’s something wrong with him.
    Thank you for the enlightenment!!!

    • Hello angie! I’m glad this article helped you! I have been considering re-reading the Celestine Prophecy lately. It’s a great book and goes into more detail about the control dramas and what to do about them. It’s a fictional adventure, but so much of it relates to our everyday lives! It is definitely a book I recommend if you haven’t read it yet. Also, if you ever need help reflecting on a difficult situation, or knowing how to move forward with a problem, I am a professional Tarot card reader and I would love to help you. I am currently writing a book and offering coaching services to help others learn to use Tarot for personal growth and reflection. It’s a passion of mine! Thanks for reading the blog and sharing your comment. Namaste ā¤

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