True Life: I Think I Might Be A Control Freak

Here are 6 signs you might be a control freak.

Maybe you realized it after showing your husband the correct way to load the dishwasher (it’s an art form, people). Or maybe it hit you the moment you noticed you were slammed at work, but easily could’ve lightened the load with a simple “can you help me with this, please?”

Being a control freak might have its merits, but for the most part, it can cause some serious obsessive behavior. Not to mention, it could have negative effects on your relationships—who wants to be told over and over again that they’re doing something the “wrong” way?

Paying due diligence to a project, knowing exactly what you want and having a vision for your future isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But the moment you charter into micromanaging territory, you’re digging yourself a hole filled with endless work to-dos, paperwork and chores you could’ve effortlessly handed off to someone else.

Simply put, you have more important things to do. Loading the dishwasher the right way isn’t one of those things, unless you’ve made a career out of it somehow (please message me directly if you have).

Jokes aside, owning the label “control freak” is a very serious matter, as it often links to obsessive compulsive disorder. Some people experience such crippling anxiety that they have no choice but to micromanage the task at hand and/or project it onto other people they know.

While some experience only low-grade tendencies resulting in “annoying” behavior, others become paralyzed by their rigidity. But many simply fall somewhere between “you’re doing it wrong” and “I’m now sobbing in a corner because you made our bed the wrong way.”

As a control freak, maybe you feel relieved, possibly even less stressed when you’re obsessing. But this is just a false pretense—like a high you get with an addiction to a drug or alcohol. The fact is, you’ll be far more content, and more free, once you let go.

But before we can let go, let’s see if you identify with these telltale control-freak signs.


1. You’re unable to delegate any tasks.

If you’re the type of person that believes no one can do a better job than you, then your to-dos have probably piled up pretty quickly. Learning to recognize this behavior not only lightens your workload, but it also fosters much healthier relationships. Sorry to say it, but people pick up on control freaks’ behavior and often take it personally (because, duh). Delegating tasks shows you trust the other person and their work ethic.


2. Everything revolves around your schedule.

Let’s say you take every Sunday to map out your week. You pencil in an hour-long session of yoga on Tuesday after work, then you plan to go straight home and cook yourself a healthy meal. But let’s say work ran a little late, or maybe you got stuck in some seriously annoying traffic. Not only were you late to yoga, you realized you didn’t have enough time to pick up those healthy groceries you wanted. Crying over stuffed crust pizza, it is. But sobbing over a snag in your plans is certainly not worth it. If something like this has happened to you, you might be a control freak.


3. You’re a textbook perfectionist.

It’s one thing to control everything around you, but it’s even worse when you’re doing it because you care too much about what other people think of you. You might fear the consequences of not doing well and think that the only way to be perfect is if you have complete control over anything and everything. The reality is that perfection is quite certainly a recipe for failure, because no one is perfect, of course!


4. Your values and work ethic feel threatened.

Remember that drug analogy I mentioned earlier? Turns out, controlling behavior feels good because it releases dopamine. Problem is, the opposite then becomes true: cortisol is released when something leads to disappointment, leaving you depressed and feeling as though your very existence is threatened. If you think you might be suffering as a control freak, you probably know this feeling better than others.


5. You criticize and judge others.

Remember when your mom and dad used to tell you that when someone judges you, it’s because they don’t like themselves? Same goes for control freaks. Judging others is a form of controlling behavior, making you feel better about yourself temporarily. If you find yourself as being judgemental, it might be because you’re hypercritical of yourself and were possibly judged by someone you held in high regard at some point in your life. If you catch yourself criticizing or judging someone else, try to turn that inward and see if it’s something you can fix within yourself.


6. Your past has hurt you in some way.

Maybe you were hurt physically as a child while riding your bike. Maybe you suffered a severe concussion on your high school football team long ago and now you refuse to let your child participate in the sport. Or maybe you were sincerely hurt from a cheating boyfriend. No matter the type of pain, control issues tend to manifest themselves from a past event. But it’s important to remember that your past doesn’t dictate your present, and that you have a life to live.


It’s Time to Let Go

Controlling behavior is not only debilitating for you, but it has the potential of ruining all of the relationships you hold close to your heart. That’s where I come in! If you’re tired of patching up your problems, looking the other way and secretly hoping they’ll disappear, I totally get that, and I’ve been there.

However, when you work with me, I’ll help you discover why your relationships aren’t thriving and what you need to do to get greater fulfillment from them. In other words, we’ll figure out the root of those controlling behaviors so they don’t wipe out everything in its path. Plus, I will equip you with the tools necessary to navigate these behaviors for the rest of your life.

Interested? Schedule a low-pressure consultation with me today! Learn more.

Lisa Panos

Lisa Panos is a Certified Life Coach and Author who helps people stop struggling and start thriving in their personal and professional relationships. Trained by Dr. Martha Beck (aka, Oprah’s Life Coach), Lisa helps her clients create new, healthy relationships, mend those that are broken, or say goodbye to ones that no longer serve them. She combines highly effective coaching tactics with an explosive arsenal of personal experience that swiftly moves people out of dysfunction and into a place of deep inner strength.

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