In the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of a “control freak” is “a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation.” The Merriam Webster dictionary says that a control freak is “a person whose behaviour indicates a powerful need to control people or circumstances in everyday matters.”
This personality trait could stem from a chaotic childhood, alcoholic parents, abusive behaviour, or early abandonment. Such experiences can make it hard for people to trust or relinquish control to others. The fear of falling apart pushes them to control what they can. As their emotions are all over the place, they feel loss of control. For this reason control freaks will micromanage whatever they can with the belief that this makes them strong. People who feel out of control tend to become controllers.
I imagine each and every one of us is a control freak, or takes on the behaviour of such, at some point or another. The fear of failure is what makes it so important to control everything when you do not trust anybody else to do a good job.
One difficult aspect of being around a control freak is accepting that they do not understand how their behaviour and choice of words affect the people around them. Another difficult aspect is not to take it personally. This behaviour comes from deep inside and the person is actually quite unaware of being a control freak.
The attempts to control a situation or environment are intended to offer the controller a feeling of safety. This is a sign of low self-esteem.
One of the areas they often manipulate is conversation. A control freak is most comfortable if he or she decides what is talked about, for how long, and how deep or detailed a topic can be. This manipulation is achieved by constant interruption, finishing the sentence for the person, not listening with attention, doing distracting things like getting up and walking around, or even walking out of the room saying, “I am still listening.” A control freak does not consider him or herself as controlling, but is convinced his or her way is the right way. He or she will have an opinion about almost everything and will disagree with most suggestions that he or she does not instigate.
Controllers also control themselves; you might observe obsessive habits in them–whether in a private relationship or at work helpful tips to consider:
In summary, here are 8 helpful steps for what to do in the moment:
Being in the company of control freaks can feel like being with “Energy Vampires.” Their ability to endlessly bring the attention back on to themselves is draining and exhausting. Knowing what to expect can help you choose how to interact and take care of yourself at the same time.
By Suzie Doscher, Professional Executive Coach focusing on Personal Development
Photo credit: Unsplash
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