Do you suspect you act like a “Control Freak” some of the time? Are you curious to find out how a Control Freak thinks and how their behavior impacts other people? On the flip side, you may be a person who knows a “Control Freak” and finds yourself suffocated and frustrated by their behavior. We all demonstrate ‘control freak’ behavior from time to time. In fact, to feel in control of our time, energy, finances, health, and environment is not “bad” thing. However, when does “controlling behavior” shift from a preference to “direct” our energy and activities, to behavior that gets labeled as “obnoxious,” “violating,” “critical” and “stubbornly opinionated?” This article will identify harmful ‘control freak mind-sets’ and highlight their impact on Self and Other People.
People who fit the label “Control Freak” are locked into rigid behaviors and ways of thinking. Two mind-sets characterize “Control Freak” intensity. They are “I do it my way, and you’ll learn to do it my way too” and “One way and the only way.” Stated another way, the Control Freak’s mantra is, “My Rules for Me and My Rules for You.”
Surely, the “Control Freak Manager” who cuts off an employee before he has fully articulated an idea worthy of merit, and does so time and time again, has her version of how things “should” be done. Or consider the ‘controlling tendency husband’ who dresses his casual, comfort oriented wife. His version of “the one and only way” appearance is a carefully matched, accessorized tailored suit. Then there is the CEO whose only feedback to an executive team member is to focus on and continually mention that one task she did “wrong.” To hell with the other 200 actions that worked. Some parents in their well-meaning attempts to raise a socially-appropriate child, correct the child so frequently, he or she never learns to think for themselves. The young person learns, “why think and say anything, it’s just going to be wrong.” This young person grows up to be adult who does not trust herself. Whether these ‘my way, only way’ mind-sets are in the business world or home, the person who demonstrates them alienates, distances and sends the ‘wrong message’ to important people in their life.
Equally tragic, is the impact a person with excessive demands and unbending “Rules” has on themselves. So entrenched in right-wrong, good-bad thinking such an individual is apt to never feel “adequate” and “pleased” with themselves. When a person is attempting to get their tasks, finances and schedule “under control” and do more than is humanly possible in a 24 hour period, they are more apt to shift into “Control Freak” behavior. Not only does a person’s body tighten and blood pressure rise because, after all, they feel “pressured” to ‘get things done,’ they respond with “irritation” and “panic” when things do not go as planned. If you find yourself feeling irritated and anxious on a frequent basis, some version of “Control Freak” thinking is operating. Irritation and anxiety are clear messages providing feedback that our self-rules need revising.
In summary, if a person in your life has mentioned, “you act controlling,” you may want to take a closer look with the assistance of a professional therapist. Every one of us is capable of changing and “adding-in” new behaviors and ways of thinking. Your future in the workplace, a happy home, or your health and well-being, may be at stake. Likewise, if you are a person who finds herself feeling hopeless and like ‘throwing the towel in’ because a “control freak’ at home or work just does not “get it,” consider how quickly a professional can help you gain perspective and new skills. It really is “worth it” to invest in ourselves since we all need to “stretch” and continue to evolve as human beings.
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