Andrea Harrn Counselling Services

6 steps to deal with a control freak

Control freak - my way or the high way

control freak – my way or the highway

If the control freak in your life is your mother you should be an expert by now in how to be in control.  After all you’ve lived with a control freak your whole life.  You might even have an honours degree in the subject.  However in reality you may very well still be struggling, perhaps not with your mother, but how about the controlling boss, the client or the ex-husband.  If you were controlled and manipulated as a child then its no surprise that others might pick up on that and take the mantle.

Here are six ways to take back control:

1 Assert yourself – the control freak mother

When your mother expects and tells you to see her regularly on your only day off work to take her shopping it is ok for you to say NO.  She probably has the academy award in making you feel guilty.  Don’t be manipulated.  Instead tell her politely and firmly:

“I can’t see you this week mum.  I’m out with friends.  I’ll see you next weekend”

2 Stay Calm – the control freak boss

When your boss micro-manages you it can be SO demeaning and frustrating.  They’ve given you a report to write and you’ve done it.  However it is not in the exact same style of writing that your boss would have used.  Hey HO.  No surprise.  You are not them, do not have their mind, their perspective or their vocabulary style.  They want you to change it.  What do you do?  The first thing is to stay calm and not get heated or defensive.  Are they paying your wages?  Do they write your appraisals?  Be assertive in  your response.  Be specific about specifics.

Thanks for your feedback boss.  I’m happy with it and I’ve covered those points right here.

Ok, I’ll put that paragraph in the second page -thank you

3 Avoidance – the control freak ex husband

When you divorced them you hoped life would change.  It has.  You no longer have to live with them you just have to listen now and again to their childish aggressive demands.  They still think they can boss you about regarding finances and children.  Remember you have the law on your side so use it.  If they are hassling you or intimidating you remind them of a few things.  Keep your language clean and simple.

I don’t agree. If you continue to not pay maintenance I’ll go back to the court.

The children need security.  Are you having them this weekend?  Yes or No

4 Reassurance – control freak client

When someone is paying you to do a job there may be someone above them with expectations.  If they are repeatedly telling you how to do your job or changing the spec remind them why they hired you.  Repeat back to them the criteria you understand to be necessary.  Support them in having trust in you.

I know your desired outcome and this will achieve it

5 Praise – the control freak is insecure

Most control freaks are “out of control” which is why they spend so much time trying to put things into order, including you.  Controlling behaviours are abusive and emotionally draining.  It can feel hard to like or want to be around the control freak because their energy will be negative.  They are not all bad.  Think of them as a child with no friends in the playground. Help them.

I like the way you did X, Y or Z  (be specific with praise)

You are doing really well in this job. What’s your secret?

6 Acceptance

If they don’t hear you then they are not able to listen.

If they don’t agree with you then they do not have the ability to understand that we all have rights to opinions.

If they talk over you then they love the sound of their own voice

If they shout at you they are out of control

None of this is your fault or your responsibility so try and observe them as being separate beings in trouble with life.  They have poor social skills.  Poor emotional and psychological development.  They need help!

Stay Strong and stay focused


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