Control Freak Out
Iâ€™m the first person to admit Iâ€™m a control freak. Itâ€™s not like I can hide it anyway. If youâ€™ve known me for even a short period of time, chances are youâ€™ve seen me in action. And no, Iâ€™m not proud. Being a control freak isnâ€™t a good thing. In fact, some might call it downright annoying.
I used to make excuses for it:
â€śI canâ€™t help it!â€ť Iâ€™d say. â€śThatâ€™s just the way I am!â€ť
But, ya know what? Thatâ€™s not altogether true. I know when Iâ€™m being overly controlling. I feel it. Just like an alcoholic yearns for one more drink, I crave control in any situation. I see myself jumping in, taking charge, directing the flow of traffic. Itâ€™s cringe-worthy at times. And yet, I just continue to do it.
So recently, I decided to take control release control of the situation by exploring the causes and creating strategies for how I can improve my behavior. If youâ€™re in a similar boat, I encourage you to do the same. After all, being a control freak isnâ€™t as loveable as it sounds.
Why Am I Such A Freak?
So, is there a reason for this kind of character trait? (Note: weâ€™re not going to call it a â€śflaw.â€ť Itâ€™s just a thing that could be improved, okay?) Where does it come from?
After a little research (and some self-reflection), Iâ€™ve discovered that most control issues stem from a few things. See if any of the following statements ring true for you:
- I have incredibly high standards and I donâ€™t trust others to uphold them.
- I have high anxiety and taking a leadership role makes me feel more comfortable and calm.
- I have a fear of disorganization, failure, and chaos. If Iâ€™m in control and bad things happen, itâ€™s my own fault. And I trust myself more than others to keep the bad stuff away.
- I have a love of the spotlight. By taking control, I often get all the credit or appreciation for a job well done.
- I have a big ego. I like to be in a position to show off my skills.
- I like to feel needed. Being the one in control makes my presence seem more important.
Obviously, the items on this list arenâ€™t very flattering. Donâ€™t worry; no judgment here.
Itâ€™s also pretty easy to see that these issues might cause some problems.
Whatâ€™s Wrong With It?
I used to tell myself that being a control freak wasnâ€™t such a big deal. Only, it is. And hereâ€™s why:
- It can seriously damage your relationships.
Think about it: When you try to control every situation, even if itâ€™s not your intention, others start to worry that you donâ€™t trust them. They also get sick of following your lead. You may notice friends and family starting to pull away from you, getting irritated or exasperated. Or perhaps theyâ€™ve simply given up and accepted that youâ€™re the one who gets control. Thatâ€™s not really fair to them and, ultimately, they could end up resenting you for it.
- It can cause you an extraordinary amount of emotional, mental and physical stress.
And most of the time, itâ€™s completely unnecessary! When we always feel like we have to be in control of the world around us every second of every day, weâ€™re adding a tremendous amount of pressure to our lives. We do it to ourselves and itâ€™s just not healthy.
So, What Can I Do?
If youâ€™re a control freak (like me) I have a few suggestions. These come from personal experience, my friends so trust me when I tell you they work. Theyâ€™re not all easy to do, but if youâ€™re dedicated to making a change, this is a great place to start.
- Let go of your ego. Take yourself down a notch. Youâ€™re great, but so are others. You have to share the spotlight and let others use their skills. Believe it or not, youâ€™re not the best at everything.
- Delegate to others. Start small. Train people how to do things if they arenâ€™t familiar. See what it feels like to rely on others to do the work. And enjoy how good it feels to watch them blossom with the added confidence youâ€™ve shown in them.
- Acknowledge that you canâ€™t control everything. Give yourself a break and learn to go with the flow now and again. Once you see that everything works out just fine without your intervention, youâ€™ll get more comfortable with the idea.
- Make a conscious decision to completely give up control in one small area of your life. Maybe youâ€™ll let others decide whatâ€™s for dinner. Maybe youâ€™ll go on vacation without planning a single excursion. Maybe youâ€™ll just take a walk without knowing where youâ€™re going. Whatever you choose, let the circumstances and people around you take the lead. Bite your tongue, sit back and relax. Youâ€™re a passenger. Enjoy the view.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that control isnâ€™t always a horrible thing. Itâ€™s wonderful to take control at times, show off your leadership abilities and your decisive point-of-view. But thereâ€™s a point where it goes too far. Put yourself in check regularly. And, if youâ€™re constantly being told that youâ€™re a control freak, donâ€™t just write it off as an inescapable character trait. Take a few proactive steps to share the spotlight and hand the reins to someone else. Everyone, even you, will be better for it.
Photo Credit: BeinspiredDesigns (Flickr)