Have you ever heard the word “Control Freak?” The word control freak is defined as: a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation; is a person who attempts to dictate how everything is done around them. Research shows control freaks are often perfectionist defending themselves against their own inner vulnerabilities or weaknesses in the belief that if they are not in total control they risk exposing themselves once more to childhood anxiety. Such people manipulate and pressure others to change so as to avoid having to change themselves, and use power over others to escape an inner emptiness. When a control freak's pattern is broken, the Controller is left with a terrible feeling of powerlessness ... but feeling their pain and fear brings them back to themselves. In terms of personality-type theory, control freaks are very much the Type A personality, driven by the need to dominate and control. Control Freaks are people who care more than you do about something and won't stop at being pushy to get their way. Does this sound like you or someone you know? What’s funny is control freaks rarely know that they are one. They believe that they are helping people with their "constructive criticism" or taking over a task because "no one else will do it right." They don't see their controlling behaviors as warning signs of what's really going on……their own anxiety has gone into frenzy. Whoa….I think I’m stepping on some toes! Rather than confront their own irrational, illogical, foolish thinking and massage it into more realistic thinking, they attempt to control the situation, usually by trying to control other people. Would you like to know if you're a control freak? If so, here are eight signs for your self-diagnosing pleasure. Oh by the way, I want you to keep in mind that at one point in my life I was forced to use this same information I’m sharing with you. In fact, I have it readily available so I can review it every once in a while ha ha!
1. YOU believe that if someone would change one or two things about themselves, you'd be happier. So you try to "help them" change this behavior by pointing it out, usually over and over.
2. YOU micromanage others to make them fit your (often unrealistic) expectations. You don't believe in imperfection and you don't think anyone else should either.
3. YOU judge others' behavior as right or wrong and passive-aggressively withhold attention until they fall in line with your expectations. Sitting in silent judgment is a master form of control.
4. YOU offer "constructive criticism" as a veiled attempt to advance your own agenda.
5. YOU change who you are or what you believe so that someone will accept you. Instead of just being yourself, you attempt to control others by managing their impression of you.
6. YOU present worst-case scenarios in an attempt to influence someone away from certain behaviors and toward others. This is also called fear mongering.
7. YOU have a hard time with uncertainty and being OK with not knowing something.
8. YOU intervene on behalf of people by trying to explain or dismiss their behaviors to others.
The bottom line is: You believe that if you can change another person's undesirable behavior, then you will be happier or more fulfilled. You make someone else responsible for how you feel. The thing is; you are only responsible for you. The road to better relationships ALWAYS starts with you. Rather than attempt to control everyone else, work on becoming a better version of yourself. Here are some things that my mentors advised me to do:
(A). Be vulnerable with people, but never compromise your self-respect by altering my core beliefs.
(B). Be realistic about your expectations of others.
(C). Quit the passive-aggressive nonsense…..be direct!
(D). Accept that a large portion of life is laced with unknowns.
(E). Embrace “healthy” confrontation; it really is sometimes the only thing you can do.
(F). Take responsibility for your own happiness.
Let’s face it; we all know someone who obsessively tries to dictate how we’re supposed to be and feel. They have an opinion about everything; disagree at our risk. They’ll try controlling us by invalidating our emotions if they don’t fit into their rulebook. Controllers often start sentences with, “You know what you need?”…then proceed to tell you ha ha. Whether spouting unsought advice on how you can change or using anger to put you in your place, their comments can range from irritating to abusive. What’s most infuriating about these people is that they usually don’t see themselves as controlling……only right! Controllers are always looking for a power struggle, so try not to sweat the small stuff. Focus on high-priority issues that you really care about rather than bickering about putting the cap on the toothpaste or wiping off the counters. (Those were my issues ha ha) Matthew 23:4 says, “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.” If you are dealing someone who keeps telling you how to deal with something, politely say, “I value your advice, but I really want to work through this myself.” If you reach a dead end, agree to disagree. Then make the subject off limits. I guarantee if you work on cultivating your own development instead of trying to control others, healthier relationships will then come to you as a result!
Let’s pray: “Heavenly Father I realize my foundation as a Christian is based on my total dependence on You. In my flesh, I want to control processes and outcomes. I want answers for everything. Knowledge is my friend, uncertainty my foe. Lord, I acknowledge that the “beast of control” has been tamed, but every now and then it lurks its ugly head. Today, I rest in Your sovereignty. I renounce my subtle attempt to be god of my own life. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen!”
One Simple Nugget: “Don’t let something entirely out of your control entirely control you!”
FYI: “Never let someone who adds very little to a relationship, control so much of it!