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Are You a Control Freak?

Are you obsessed with dominating those around you? Or are you the spouse or employee of such an abusive personality? Either way, don't despair! Here's what to do.

by Terri Levine

Take thus quiz and see how you rate:

  1. Do you feel uncomfortable about acknowledging that someone else's opinion or way of doing something may be better than your own?
  2. Being so wise, do you believe you know what is best for other people, your friends and family?
  3. Do you like to share your wisdom often - offering advice whether it's asked for or not?
  4. Do you worry that something is going to go wrong unless you keep an eye on it and have some control over events?
  5.   Do you feel threatened by other people's opposing opinions or attitudes?
  6. Do you have an obsession about checking and re-checking the work you do, and the work others do?
  7. Do you have to do everything yourself, because nobody else can do it as well as you... only you know how to do it properly?
  8. What partners do you choose? Do you feel stressed or out of control in your relationships where give and take is required?
  9. Have you lost previous partners because you want everything your way?
  10. Is Bossy your middle name?


Mostly Yeses: You're probably a really nice person, and if everyone else understood that your need to control stemmed from your insecurities and fears, they'd cut you a little slack, yes? The problem is, with understanding or not, other people are going to become alienated unless you learn to "control" yourself! Stop trying to take over... practice being more flexible in your attitudes.

Mostly No's: What a confident soul you are! You know that despite what is going on around you, you realize that sometimes things will go wrong, this is life, and you are comfortable with trusting others to do their bit and comfortable with yourself knowing you have what it takes to deal with whatever comes your way.

So what is a control freak?

A control freak is somebody whose own insecurities and fears cause problems for those who have to work or live with them. Nobody likes to be stifled and told what to do by an "I know better" person.

Do you tell your partner who his or her friends should be? Are you comfortable about letting them go places on their own, and be with their friends - without you - or does this make you worry or feel jealous?M

Do you criticize your partner frequently? Always finding faults? Do you get upset if your partner disagrees with you, having a totally different opinion on something important to you?

If you do, you are trying to control the relationship and your partner and this is unhealthy. This behavior will lose you many wonderful relationships unless you learn to deal with your insecurities, loosen up, and let go of the reins!

Are you the Boss from Hell?

So you're the boss... do you insist everything be done your way, because after all, you're the boss, you're supposed to know best?

Are you short-tempered and lose your temper easily when mistakes are made? Do you suffer high levels of anxiety about the performance of your department, and feel the need to keep looking over everyone's shoulder to make sure they are doing it right (and probably doing it your way)?

If so, you are the Boss from Hell. Sorry, there is no nice way of putting it. You may be a very nice person, with many wonderful qualities, but again, it is your own lack of confidence, your own insecurities that cause you to be this way.

Seek help. Learn how to empower your employees, trust in them to know what to do, allow for mistakes - these are part of life - and like the controlling partner, learn to loosen the reins a little before you find nobody will work for you!

Chances are your employees cannot work under the conditions you impose upon them - loosen up and watch your department bloom!

And what if you're the victim?

And what if you are the partner of a control freak, or an employee of a control freak? How do you handle that?

Well first, keep in mind it is not personal! They do NOT have it in for you. They may even have the highest admiration for you.

But deep inside, they are a well of insecurity and fear, and when their anxiety levels rise, the only way they know how to deal with this is to take control to ensure everything remains smooth sailing... this is their thinking.

If your control freak is a partner, you can offer two choices.

You can reassure them that they are loved, that you are loyal, but you cannot live with their jealousy, or their insistence that you do things their way, and they can either loosen up, or find the front door You do not have to jump through hoops for anyone, and control freaks are very difficult to live with.

They use all ploys to get their own way, they are manipulative, and if it is starting to affect your own self-esteem and happiness, then clearly this is a relationship you can do without. If your Control Freak does not seek help and life continues to be one of control over you, then it is a relationship going nowhere and headed for disaster.

If your control freak is your boss, you need to step carefully. Be aware of his motives when he gets into "control freak" mode. Don't get angry or defensive with him/her.

Find the right moment to make your boss feel "safe" by reassuring him/her that you do take your job seriously and want to do the best. Express that sometimes you would like to discuss alternate ways of doing things, not to usurp his authority, but because you sincerely believe there may be some merit in an idea you have that really will help him and his department, and of course, you'd like to run it past him first.

Try to get reports etc. to your boss on time - don't give him/her a reason for standing over your shoulder... remember, when your boss does this, it is because they are worrying about it! Keep your Boss informed of the status of tasks and keep reassuring him/her. The less he worries or feels anxious, the less reason he/she will have to want to control you or the situation

Don't despair - get help!

For many control freaks, their need to pretend that everything is "right" with their world and their way of doing things, and their need to give everyone the wisdom of their ways and opinions is a way of validating themselves... this stems from their insecurity.

If you are a control freak, don't despair, help is available. Seek it. By acknowledging that other people's ways of doing things, of being, of living, etc. is okay; you are not making yourself "less" in any way.

You are still okay. You will always be okay. You don't need to try to organize and control everything and everyone around you. Why don't you relax a little, try it and see.

If anything, you will find your live improves - let the proof that controlling others and every situation is not necessary for your success and happiness be the validation you need that everything is fine and so are you!

Copyright, Terri Levine

Terri Levine, MCC, PCC, MS, CCC-SLP is the the President of Comprehensive Coaching U The Professional's Coach Training Program, a a popular Master Certified personal and business Coach, a sought after public speaker, and author of bestsellers Stop Managing, Start Coaching, Work Yourself Happy, Coaching for an Extraordinary Life and Create Your Ideal Body. She can be contacted via the web site http://www.ComprehensiveCoachingU.com or by telephone: 215-699-4949.

Some Related Articles:

Passive Aggressive Behavior and Workplace Anger
How You Can Tell Whether Someone is a True Friend
How to Identify a Manipulator
Getting Along With Your Boss
The Co-Worker From Hell
Sanity-saving Strategies for Stressed-out Times
How Rudeness Wrecks Working Relationships
Seven Ways to Work With a Know it All
How to Recognize a Verbal Bully


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