How Being a Control Freak Causes Stress (and What to Do About It)

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It is often said that in order to solve a problem, you first need to recognize it. Unfortunately, most control freaks have no idea that they even have a problem. It’s a gradual process which takes a certain course. It starts from the small things like wanting to make dinner plans or be in charge of the office party. Then before you know it, you become so controlling that it becomes difficult for you to even imagine giving up control over anything to anyone.

It’s important to recognize the signs of being a control freak when they first start to appear.

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Signs of Being a Control Freak

A control freak tends to form a belief that if someone changes something about themselves, they would be in a better state of mind. Thus, you would take it upon yourself to help them by bringing about a change in them. Control freaks  point out the changes you think they require over and over again until they finally do what you want.

Setting Unrealistic Expectations

You push people to fulfill your expectations, which are often unrealistic. There is no room for imperfection in your life, and you expect others to follow the same rule. As a result, you become rather judgmental and judge people on whatever they do and deem it right or wrong according to your line of thought. You become passive aggressive and endeavor to hold their attention until they meet your expectations.

Overly Critical

Control freaks are critical of everything and have a comment to make on any situation. While they offer it in the guise of constructive criticism, it is usually an attempt to fulfill an agenda.

You Seek Validation & Acceptance

Control freaks also develop a need for constant appreciation and to attain this, you’re willing to change who you are and your beliefs so that people will become more accepting of you. Instead of being who you are, you try to become what you think people want you to be.

Manipulating People

Fear mongering is something that control freaks often indulge in. You attempt to make people turn away from certain behaviors and get them to do what you want them to do by presenting the worst case scenarios in a horrifying manner.

Need to Know Everything

Furthermore, you cannot stand secrecy. You want to know everything and if some information is withheld from you, you get restless and irritable. You have a tendency to intervene in conversations and be the voice of others without their permission.

If you notice any of these signs in your behavior, you need to understand that you are on your way to becoming a control freak or already are one. Either way, you should try to address the issue as soon as possible.

The Link Between Being a Control Freak & Stress

Being too controlling inadvertently leads to a significant rise in your stress levels. There are a lot of reasons for this.

A control freak tends to obsess over what other people need to do and how they should lead their lives. They become too involved in the matters of others. This implies that you are always thinking about what needs to be done so that the other person can be happy according to your understanding.

A control freak is constantly thinking about how they can push someone to do something. This causes an elevation in your stress levels as your mind is always in a state of overdrive where you find it hard to let go of anything. Thinking too much and overanalyzing situations is one of the most common causes of stress.

If some information is withheld from you, you find it hard to put it out of your mind and think of what it could be, which inadvertently makes you feel stressed. A control freak tends to think of the worst case scenarios in everything, which is not good for your stress levels.

How to Stop Being a Control Freak

Realizing that you are becoming too controlling is a vital step towards curing the problem because you’re acknowledging that it’s actually a problem. There are a number of things that you can do to ensure that you bring about a positive change in yourself and let go of your controlling nature. It is important to do so because the elevated stress levels can gradually progress to panic attacks if timely intervention is not acquired. So it’s best to take action sooner rather than later.

Here’s what you can do to stop your controlling behavior.

Open Up

For starters, you need to learn to open up to people. Instead of thinking how they perceive you and trying to present yourself according to their liking, be yourself. Allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of others and concede that nothing is perfect, not even you. Never allow your core beliefs to be altered or your self-respect to be compromised because of others.

Set Realistic Expectations

You need to be realistic about the expectations you have from others. At the same time, you need to realize that there will be times when your expectations will not be fulfilled, and you will need to accept that.

Be Direct

Instead of being passive aggressive, be direct if there is something that you want to say to someone. Let them know your opinion and allow them to make their own decision.

Try Not to Get Involved in Everything

You need to understand that you cannot be privy to every piece of information between your friends, family or coworkers. If there is something that is being withheld from you, there might be a good reason for it. Accept that you don’t have to be “in-the-know” or included in everything.

Furthermore, do not shy away from confrontations and face them with complete acceptance. Understand that you are responsible for your own happiness and not for others.

You won’t stop being a control freak over night. But taking gradual steps and showing that you’re at least trying is a good sign. The people around you will appreciate the effort and you’ll probably notice you’ll start to feel a lot less stressed out.

Need more tips to manage your stress? Check out our full list of 170 stress management techniques.

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Additional Resources

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