Here's the deal: most controlling people don't think they're actually all that controlling. In fact, they usually think they're being helpful, when often the opposite is true. Although there are most definitely varying degrees of "control freakiness," if you relate to a few or all of these signs you're actually controlling — enough to consider the title "control freak" — it may be time for a little bit of self-reflection.
In my case, I never realized my love of being in control until I got married. After that, I transformed from my chill, go-with-the-flow-loving self into a control-obsessed, slightly terrifying beast who is best not be crossed. Luckily, that was five years ago and life has a way of teaching you to release control that can be hard to ignore. As much as I still struggle with wanting to be "on top," letting go of my control freak-y ways has been the best choice for my marriage and for being a mom.
According to Forbes, loving to be in control can have some positives when it comes to your job and getting things done. But when it comes to your relationships, chances are your friends and family are the ones who are being hurt by your unflinching need to control. Psychology Today suggested that a control freak's desire to manipulate and control can have serious consequences for their own internal happiness and for the success of their relationships.
So, while a bit of control can be a great asset professionally, if you identify with any of these sure signs of a control freak, it may be time to learn how to release control and go with the flow.
1. You Will Adapt Your Values To Fit Other's Perception Of You
A lesser known trait of control freaks, according to Inc., is that they'll often alter their own tastes, beliefs, styles, and more in an effort to control how other people perceive them. They can "blend in," so to speak, but it usually comes at the expense of their individuality and comfort in their own skin.
2. You Like To "Help" People With Constructive Criticism
There is a time and place for constructive criticism, but that place usually isn't within the walls of your home or within your conversations with friends. According to Psych Central, couples who are too critical with each other, whether it's one sided or coming from both partners, often develop unhealthy patterns of contempt and defensiveness towards each other. Instead, know the difference between a "must have" talk and something that yes, may be annoying, but isn't worth the negative response.
3. You Feel The Need To Correct Everyone (And Can't Let It Slide)
Whether you see it as "loving the truth," being a "grammar nazi," or truly believe you're trying to help, Psychology Today noted that people who have an incessant need to correct every mistake they notice are usually doing so less out of concern for the "wrong party" and more out of their need to always be right. In reality, as much as seeing "they're" spelled like "there" drives you up the wall, correcting it every single time probably will only annoy your friend more.
4. You *Must* Have The Final Word
You've probably noticed this backfire a time or two. If you constantly need to have the final word in every argument or disagreement, this need for control (by deciding when the argument is over) can have negative effects on your relationship. Psychology Today noted that by focusing on your need to control the argument, you're not considering your partner's feelings. Over time, the desire to win arguments can distance your partner from you.
5. Two Words: Road. Rage.
The aforementioned article from Psychology Today noted that people with high needs for control often get very frustrated while driving. If you think you're the only one who knows how to drive properly and continually need to criticize other's driving habits, you probably already know that the behavior only hurts yourself.
6. You Micromanage Everything
Although micromanaging might works well for a some office settings (if you're the boss, that is), it usually backfires when it comes to relationships. An article from Inc. noted that the need to micromanage others comes from a desire to make others fit into your (often unrealistic) expectations.
7. You Think In Black & White Terms
For control freaks, there is no "middle ground". Most issues are black and white, with the right side being their side, of course. According to Mental Help, this kind of "all or nothing," "black and white" thinking can have very negative emotional and relational consequences because the reality is, very little in life is truly black and white.
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