Being a control freak isn’t always bad, but sometimes it can get in the way of good things like spontaneity, living in the moment, and intimacy.
Origins of Control
We learn controlling behaviors from a young age and a range of different circumstances. For example, if you’re the oldest child you may have had to set a good example for your younger siblings, so you always had to be in control of your actions, emotions, and demeanor. You’re probably an overachiever, a natural leader, and even a little bossy.
Or maybe as a child, some of your basic needs were unmet, which led you to believe that nobody could ever take care of you better than yourself. So over the years, you built up a habit of wanting to control everything and everyone because it makes you feel safe.
Controlling behaviors are usually fear-based.
Controlling behaviors are usually fear-based. You’re afraid things won’t go your way or turn out exactly how you envisaged in your mind, so you grab the reigns and take control of the situation. You find it hard to let go and trust that things will unfold in their own time, you don’t trust others to deliver on their word, and you certainly don’t trust that they could do a better job than you.
We need some control in our lives otherwise we’d be a hot mess and chaos would ensue. Good and healthy control is making sure your days are structured in a way that produces efficiency — another word for it is discipline. It’s good to have plans so you’re not stumbling from one situation to the next without any direction. Have plans, but don’t worry if they change — sometimes spontaneity is a good thing and can lead to pleasant surprises.
Good and healthy control is making sure your days are structured in a way that produces efficiency.
Bad control is being so uptight that you expect everything to go your way without any room for improvement. This is immature and more about your ego than the benefit of the outcome.
Some people use control to dominate others and situations. For example, Regina George from Mean Girls. She is power-hungry, calculating, manipulative, bullying, and toxic.
Bad control is being so uptight that you expect everything to go your way.
These people thrive on controlling others for their selfish whims but don’t realize they gain just as many enemies along the way. They say what goes around comes around, so be aware of how these actions might be perceived.
What Does Control Do to Your Relationship?
No one likes being micro-managed. If you find yourself wanting to control everything your man does by micromanaging or being critical, then you need to ask yourself why you feel the need to do this. Are you worried that things won’t go your way or he might not do things exactly the way you want them done?
If so, this creates a mother-and-son dynamic, and intimacy is usually the first thing to go because nobody wants to be intimate with their parent.
Think about it, if someone were constantly breathing down your neck, how would it make you feel? Your emotional state would probably shift to annoyance, resentment, and fault-finding. No one feels good in this situation.
Learning to relinquish inappropriate control allows room for more trust, connection, and tender moments.
This might make you feel a little vulnerable, but learning to relinquish inappropriate control allows room for more trust, connection, and tender moments. He might not always get it right, but there is more opportunity for the relationship and romance to grow when you are both open to receiving.
What Does Control Do to Your Body?
When you’re always in control mode, your body and face tighten up and you clench your jaw muscles. Being stiff and rigid and unable to relax can put your body under immense stress.
Constant stress over a prolonged period can increase your risk for long-term health issues like heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, weakened immune system, and even fertility problems.
Constant stress over a prolonged period can increase your risk for long-term health issues.
Your body is a temple, so it’s important to treat it like one. The key to life is balance, so whether you are a high-flying career woman or a stay-at-home mom, make sure you carve out time to destress and unwind.
A few good ways to destress include regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and practicing self-care.
Whenever you feel the urge to control everything, remember that you can’t predict every situation no matter how much you try. Try thinking of a happy memory that wasn’t premeditated and ask yourself: “Would you have enjoyed yourself more if it had been planned?” My guess is no.
Life is short, so learn to let go of the little things that don’t matter and save your energy for the important things in life.