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What the Symptoms of a Control Freak and How to Deal With Them

Control Freak Symptoms
Control freaks are those who have an overwhelming need and desire to be in control of things and people around them. You can come across control freaks in absolutely any relationship. It solely depends on their psychology.
Arjun Kulkarni
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
To have everything 'your way', is pleasing to every human being. Also, thinking that you are right in every situation, is normal. But, understanding that you are right only from your perspective and not considering the fact that other people have their own perspective, and that too can be correct, is a different thing altogether.
There are 3 kinds of people:
  • the ones who do not bother or interfere with anyone else (there are very few of them),
  • the ones who are bothered about their close ones (especially), so they try advising them about how things should be, only out of concern, and
  • the ones who are bothered with mostly everyone.

People belonging to the second type, however, come to terms with disagreement very easily, giving their loved ones the freedom to make their own decisions. But the third type always thinks they know best and want everyone to follow what they say. They do not come to terms with any sort of disagreement, and express anger and frustration if anything does not go the way they wanted it to.
Relationships with controlling people get a little tough to deal with. They always want everything to be, how they think of it to be as. They pick on very petty issues and blow them out of proportion. This is only because they can't handle a situation that has not turned out to be how they wanted it to be.
Control freaks tend to have a lot of ego. They pick fights over anything they dislike. Few reasons to why you may be termed as a control freak are:
  • If you are very dominating, and want every small thing to be done as per your thinking.
  • If you try to control the behavior of everyone.
  • If you want everyone to listen only to what you say.
  • If you want everything to be perfect, and you know best so everyone has to abide by your opinion.
  • If you think all the decisions should be taken only by you.
  • If you think people should live their lives according to your whims and fancies.
  • If you keep interfering with other people, and try to correct and direct them in everything they do.
  • If you don't trust anyone else performing any of your tasks because you are scared that if at all they fumble, you will have to pay for it. Hence, you do it yourself.
  • If anything that doesn't level up with your expectations disturbs you, leaving you with major disappointment, anger and frustration.
  • If you know people are afraid of your anger if they do not meet your expectations, and you use their weakness to your advantage.

In severe cases, control freaks can go to the extent of physically hurting someone, in the frustration of things not going their way. They start to feel very helpless if they have no control over a situation, and may begin to throw things around or destroy them.
Controlling Ways
There are many ways in which a control freak can try to control you. If anything you do is out of their rulebook, they will try to change it. To begin with, they would try to put across what they want, very clearly. If it doesn't work, they would try other ways of hinting at the same. They may dominate you and act bossy. They would try to tell you what they want and justify why they want it, in the best possible way. They would try to change your mind on what you are doing and tell you why you should not be doing it (if it is not according to them). They also try to control how you feel. Finally, if nothing works, they may try to emotionally blackmail you with tears, by portraying themselves as the victim. In extreme cases, they may physically abuse you and force you to do what they want.
Helping Yourself
Dealing with a control freak can be very stressful and tough, however, being a control freak is even tougher. If you have just discovered that you are a control freak, then here are some ways of dealing with it.
Acceptance: First of all, you don't have to be disappointed about being the controlling one. I believe, at some point or the other, everyone loves to control someone or some situation, or at least wishes for something like that. It is only human to have such desires in order to feel powerful. So, accept your situation, as it is the first step forward towards controlling the 'control freak' in you.
Self Check: If you are a control freak, you have to have a self check on why are you so controlling in the first place. There would be something very deep-rooted, maybe a disturbing childhood, quarreling parents or some devastating experience that probably threw things apart for you. On finding the reason, you will understand that it is something that you totally did not want to experience, and that is why you think you have to control things in order to not have any such further experiences.
Change in Thinking: For you, controlling is just a way of being more careful to avoid further damage. You believe that, if everything is done in your specific manner, no damage would be caused because that manner is absolutely right. If you are controlling another person, it is because that person's life is associated with your own in some way, and you think their wrong decisions would affect your life. If you are trying to control people that don't have anything to do with you, then you are probably worried about the consequences they would face doing something that is wrong, according to you. For a solution, you will first have to change a few of your beliefs. Your belief of - you know it all, others are always wrong, and everything should be based on your decision - needs to be broken. You have to realize that everyone has a life of their own, and they are free to live it as per their own thoughts and perceptions. By forcing your thoughts on them, you are only being unfair.
Once you hit realization, you can go by new beliefs like - "what has to happen, will happen" or "the only thing you can control in a situation is, yourself". Such thinking would help you let go of things, people and situations, and also help you deal with them positively. This will help you calm down and will not rake unwanted fights in the future.
Helping a Friend
Patience: If you are dealing with a control freak, you have to be patient. Do not be rude, it might ruin your relation with the person. If you disagree with what they say, politely say, "Maybe you are right, but I have another opinion on that". If you do not want to do something but they're forcing it on you, kindly say, "Okay, but can I please do it like this?" or "What you are saying is fine, but I really think I should handle this myself". Sometimes, the controller does not understand that he is controlling you. As they are so used to voicing their opinion everywhere, they do not realize that they're forcing things upon you. Also, if they've had a habit of getting everything their way, it will take them time to let go of things that don't go according to them.
You have to be very patient and understand them. You have to accept that this personality trait will not cease overnight. You can try talking things out with them. Try making them understand how uncomfortable and suffocating their behavior gets, for you and for others. Tell them how tough you find it dealing with them at times.
Remember, control freaks probably became so, because of some unfortunate event that they wished they had controlled. All it takes is, conversation. They're human too, they will understand.