Sometimes I feel there is a fine line between being in control of your life and being a “control freak,” and I teeter that line more than I’d like to admit. For the most part, I’m happy to say that I’m not a control freak, no matter what my husband might say!
People having a balanced sense of control of their life definitely understand that the universe can and will throw curve balls at the most inopportune time. They may not like it, but they will adjust to whatever the circumstances and continue to move on. The control freak is likely to have a melt-down, need years of therapy, maybe even medications for anxiety and depression. Many have a martyr-like disposition.
Now, it is only natural to want be in control of your own life, but when you feel you have to have control of everyone else’s life as well, you have a problem. These are the key aspects of a “control freak.” They have a driving need to create your agenda, they insist on controlling all their interactions with you, basically, they have to run the show and call the shots — or else.
It has been found that the main need to control is driven by anxiety, though a control freak would never recognize this. Even if they did, they would deny it. At work, they worry about failure. In their relationships, they dread they will not have their needs met, or that they will not be good enough.
In order to keep this anxiety from overwhelming them, they feel the only way to avoid feeling those emotions is to control the people or things around them. They have a harder time than most normal people when it comes to negotiation or compromise, because it would mean they would have to give up some of their control, and it would also imply that they are not perfect, and control freaks hate imperfection. If by now you can’t tell or don’t already know, this can make life difficult, whether you are working with them, living with them, or just plain stuck in a circle involved with them.