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5 ways to recognise a control freak

The control freak puppetmaster

The control freak – puppet master

The control freak needs order in their lives and to achieve this regularly behaves in ways that are  annoying, belittling and frustrating to others.  Take the boss who micro-manages everything you do, the wife who needs the house arranged in a certain way or the boyfriend who likes you to dress to please him.  Can you imagine having to dance to someone else’s call.

The control freak is insecure and to boost their sense of security attempts to keep things safe and structured by modelling the world around them into their view. To do this they pull your strings which doesn’t leave much room for self-expression.  People that are controlled by others tend to have low self-esteem and often lack the assertiveness to stand up for themselves and their beliefs.

The control freak partner tends to dominate, be obsessive, compulsive, jealous, passive aggressive and narcissistic and bullying.

In work situations they are the high functioning managers.  They give orders to be obeyed, use fear to get their way, play people off against each other, manipulate with no conscience and like their voice to be heard the most in meetings.  They are not team players and do little to inspire others.

Here are 5 ways to recognise the control freak.  These typical behaviours are used  to ease themselves of anxiety and get “their” heads straight.

1.  The control freak knows best

Men and women with high controlling tendencies are hard to be in relationship with because whatever you say or think will not be the final outcome.   They believe they have a superior knowledge of what will work, not work, be the most practical, sensible, logical or intelligent way of doing things.  They get their way.

2.  The control freak sets the rules

If you break them you are wrong and will be told about it, corrected or blamed.  Control freaks like to point out the error of your ways: how you forgot to lock the window, how you didn’t put the bins out properly, how you wrongly answered the phone to the new client.  All in all, unless you did it their way, you got it wrong!

3.  The control freak refuses to admit they are wrong

They are not wrong.  Simples!  Not only are they not wrong but if you have pointed out something to them, whether minor or major, that will enrage them to blame you or attack you.  They will spend as long as it takes to justify and defend themselves until you succumb to their way of thinking. This illogical twisted view protects them from their own inability to see the imperfection of their ways.  The mind of a control freak is black and white, right or wrong, good or bad.  Anything that takes them away from that will be very difficult to handle.

4.  The control freak judges others

The judge is the overseer of right and wrong.   Their view of the way others behave tends to be one of righteousness and superiority.  This can be so annoying when the faults of the control freak are so obvious to all but themselves.  They will project onto others what they are guilty of.

She doesn’t listen!   He doesn’t care about others!  He likes to hear the sound of his own voice!  It’s his way or the highway!

5.  The control freak manipulates to get their way

When you don’t play ball the control freak will use other tactics such as guilt and fear to get what they want.

The boss:   If you can’t do this work by Friday I’ll send it over to Bob in accounts


The boyfriend:   If you go out with your friends tomorrow night I’ll be out with the boys so don’t bother waiting up for me

When you find yourself feeling uncomfortable and afraid of an outcome, you are being manipulated.  Remember that they are doing this to protect themselves.  This is their stuff.  It is not your responsibility to save them from themselves.  The world will not fall apart for them if things don’t go their way.  They need to learn that from you or from others.   Try to talk to them about how their behaviour is affecting you and the importance of having your own say in how things should be.  Otherwise you will end up resentful and exhausted.

If you are the control freak and recognise yourself in some of the above behaviours try to think about letting go of outcome and see what happens.  Trust others to get things right.  There is room in this world for everyone to be successful and reach their goals, including you.
For more awareness of your feelings take a look at The Mood Cards and work through some of the questions on the back to increase your sense of security and raise your self-esteem.
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4 thoughts on “5 ways to recognise a control freak

  1. Landscaper Charlotte

    Great article and spot on! I have learned that more often than not control freaks are the way they are do to a traumatic event in their life where they were not in control. Once that traumatic event is properly dealt with they can begin to relinquish their need for control in all they do.

    1. Andrea Harrn Post author

      Yes, it is true that somewhere along the line a control freak probably felt out of control for whatever reason, not necessarily a trauma though. Working on the self and understanding reasons we do what we do gives us opportunity to make changes for the better. Thanks for your comments. All the best Andrea


    Hmm… this makes me wonder if *I* am the control freak in my life! I hadn’t thought of some of the things you mentioned from this perspective until I read your article. For instance, my husband likes to play video games and I will tell him “I’ll just be in the bedroom watching such and such movie by myself”. I want him to know I’ll be all alone if he doesn’t join me and more often than not he does. But now I am wondering if I am using manipulation on him! I think you should write on article titled “are you a manipulator” because I would read it! haha.

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