If you are a control freak, you may be a part of my tribe.

September 29, 2021

If you are anything like me, you handle it because that is what you do. See the problem, figure out the solution and handle the problem. That works great if it is just your problems you are handling. What happens when it is another person’s issue? Yeah, I know, I figure out a solution and handle the problem. It has gotten me in to a lot of trouble though. You would think that I would learn to not do anything unless asked. I am a work in progress. I am better than I was, but I have quite a way to go.

Nature vs Nurture

What makes us like that? Some of us have been this way since birth and it just seems natural to identify the issue or problem, find a workable solution and handle the issue or problem. If the solution does not work, then we try something else. We are problem solvers by nature. Where we get in to trouble is when we haven’t been asked to figure something out or to even help. My failure is in assuming that if you are sharing something with me, then you want my opinion or help. I have to tell people, that if you are venting, please let me know or I will be trying to “fix it.”

I have to have a plan

What I found out as an adult is that I am a control freak. I like order. I like to have a plan. I am perfectly fine with changing or updating a plan, but I have to have a plan, I do not do well with “flying by the seat of my pants.” I have perfectionistic tendencies, just add it to the list of things I am working on.  Don’t worry, we will be getting to you and your tendencies very soon. When the control freak tries to take over, I have to stop and figure out what is driving me? Is it some kind of fear?  Maybe, it is because everything will fall to pieces. If I don’t stay in control I might be seen as weak.

So, what makes you handle everything? Is it your nature or could it possibly be a few other things? What fears do you have?

A moderate amount of control is a good thing for all of us. The problems arise when we find ourselves forcing our will on other people or situations. Sometimes, we do not know we are doing that. Sometimes, we don’t want to be still and think about what is really going on inside our own heads. Other times, we are in a crisis of some sort and are reacting. If you have ever read about the underlying factors of needing to be in control… you probably thought “that is not me.” Some of it may not be you, but some of it, is you.

What fits your pattern?

Traumatic experience

Abusive experiences


Trust issues

Low self-esteem

Fear of abandonment

Your beliefs, values or faith

Fear of experiencing painful emotions

Perfectionism and Fear of failure



Mood swings

Sense of entitlement

Personality disorder

Learned behavior

As you see, there are many things that can keep your “need to be in control” on high alert. Most of us are able to figure out what is causing our need to be in control. If you are not able to figure yours out, it may be time to see a talk therapist for a few visits. Why a talk therapist? They can help you to identify your triggers and they can help you with coping mechanisms and skills to help you keep yourself in check.

Here are some questions that I found to ask your control freak self.

7 questions control freaks could ask themselves:

    • How are you helping others grow?

    • Is this worth your time, attention, and energy (TAE)? Control freaks squander their talent by getting involved in trivialities.

    • How much of your TAE is spent on things that AREN’T working?

    • How might you choose personal growth and development when you feel like controlling others?

    • How are you putting long-term organizational interests ahead of your own?

    • How would you like people to interact with you?

    • Do you want compliance, contribution, or commitment from others?

Bonus: How much do you like loneliness?


We really don’t have a lot of control over outcomes

Are you willing to let go of your illusion of control? Are you willing to accept and notice things as they are, right now, without judgement? The without judgement part, may send you over the edge, but hang-on you will feel better and actually be better.

You do not have to feel hopeless. You may actually have more hope once you get out of the muck and mire and see things, the way they really are. You can take a breath, relax and make better choices. You think that being in control keeps you safe, it doesn’t. Focus on your adaptability. That is what really keeps you safe. We can take situations as they are and we can find a way forward, make adjustments, & adapt. You have done it before and you need to go back and remember those successes. Learn to rely on your ability. That knowledge may help you to realize when you need help or when you need to let it go and let it be, as it is right now. Things will never be as they used to be and that is not alwa