Control freak is someone who has to have absolute control over themselves and the actions of others.
In some cases, it is important to have someone who is a control freak at the helm. For instance, air-traffic controllers who have to make instant life-changing decisions, or scientists who are responsible for testing new drugs. In such circumstances, a control freak is the perfect person to have onboard.
However, in normal, everyday life, there is no need for control freaks. People that suffer from this condition are frequently over-anxious, worried, depressed and spend an inordinate amount of time on aspects of their life that they cannot control.
Because they are expending so much energy into controlling things they cannot, other areas of their life tend to be neglected.
There’s a big difference, however, with someone who is particular about certain things and a control freak, so how can you tell the difference?
Here are ten signs that you are dealing with a control freak:
1. They always correct people when they are wrong
Those who will not put up with mistakes in their own life are most likely to point out other’s errors. They have a need to correct other people in order for them to stop feeling so anxious. It could be a spelling or grammatical error, or a question of social etiquette. They know they are right and they have to let others know also.
2. They always criticize and judge other people
Judgmental people are more often than not control freaks because they simply cannot put up with errors or mistakes from other people. They come across as pious and sanctimonious to their friends and family but they cannot help themselves, it is like a reflex action.
3. They are leaders, not team players
When you join a team, you give up a certain amount of control. To the control freak, this is unacceptable. How will they exert their rules and controls over the rest of the team unless they lead it? They cannot dictate others’ behaviour unless they are leading or managing.
4. They take full credit for their success
There is absolutely no way a control freak will attribute their success to anyone other than themselves. It was them that succeeded, and they will say that it was because they took control over every aspect of the job, and didn’t allow anyone else to get involved.
5. They will never admit when they’re wrong
Control freaks will never admit if they have made a mistake, despite them coming down like a ton of bricks on anyone else who does. Their appearance is so fragile and has to be protected at all costs, so they will never admit it, even the smallest issue. To them, they can do no wrong.
6. They know what’s best and try and change you
Many control freaks think that they alone know what is best for everyone on the planet. They will try and convince you to change your behaviour to suit their agenda. They do this by manipulation, aggressive tactics or piling on the pressure.
7. They spend a lot of their time trying to prevent bad things occurring
Control freaks worry about the future and as such try to make sure that they are prepared for anything bad that is coming their way. Much of their time is wasted by concentrating on events that might or might not happen.
8. They never delegate tasks to others
A control freak will never give a task to someone else if they can do it themselves. They truly believe that they are the best person for the job, no matter what it is, they have to do it because if anyone else does it will just have to be redone by them.
9. They always have to have the last word
Control freaks cannot let anyone have the last say on a situation, they have to have the last word in order to finish off the discussion. If they do not have the final word, it is as if the situation is unresolved and left hanging, which is torture for a control freak. They need everything bundled up and tied up nicely.
10. They have no time for anyone who makes a mistake
There will never be a time when a control freak says to someone else – ‘Don’t worry, we all make mistakes’. For a control freak, this is the worst kind of person, as someone who makes continual errors is either lazy or just plain stupid.
How to deal with a control freak
Control freaks experience the world in a different way to other individuals. For them, if the world is not in perfect order, they feel anxious and out of control. You can help a control freak by getting them to focus on the emotions they feel when something is not perfect. Showing them that trying to ensure everything is correct and without error is a waste of time and emotions.
With much effort, a control freak can start to let go and not place such an importance on being perfect all the time. Instead of trying to control the environment around them, they can learn that it is much easier to control their feelings.