15 Signs You Might Be A Control Freak, And What To Do About It

February 9, 2017 Kerry Sutton

“You’ll tell yourself anything you have to, to pretend that you’re still the one in control.” ~ Jodi Picoult.

Have you ever been called a control freak or something similar? If so, your behavior is probably impacting negatively on your important relationships; family, friends, and / or people you work with. Needing to be in control is also strongly aligned with anxiety.

As a control freak you get caught up in the problems and emotional experiences of those around you. However, the relationship you need to be paying attention to is the one you have with yourself.


Your controlling behavior might be expressed overtly in a commanding, demanding or aggressive manner. However, if you are uncomfortable with confrontation your controlling behavior might be expressed indirectly. This subtle form of control is often described as passive-aggressive. Some examples include procrastination, complaints about being unappreciated, helplessness, victim-hood, and withholding.

Lets take a closer look at some of the behaviors and emotional experiences of a control freak:


1.   Constantly offering advice, even when it hasn’t been requested

2.   Difficulty saying NO

3.   Micromanaging your children, partner or staff at work

4.   Trying to fix or rescue people from their problems or bad feelings

5.   Changing yourself or your opinions to gain acceptance

6.   Giving more than you receive in relationships

7.   Speaking on behalf of your partner

8.   Expecting other people know what you're thinking

9.   Lack of clear boundaries

Emotional Experience

10. Finding uncertainty difficult to tolerate

11. Experiencing anxiety when you don’t feel in control or feel disapproved of

12. Holding other people responsible for how you feel

13. Needing other peoples approval to feel happy

14. Feeling responsible for other people

15. Feeling burdened by other people’s problems


    Take responsibility for your own life and happiness. How you respond to life's experiences and challenges is not dependent on what other people say, think or do. Your responses are entirely your choice.

    Learn to accept uncertainty. In reality there are very few certainties in life. Starting a mindfulness and gratitude practice will help you with this. Its about being fully present in your life.

   Practice self-compassion. It is very difficult to extend unconditional love and compassion towards other people if you judge yourself harshly. Self-compassion will open a whole new world to you and a new found freedom.

   Let go of expectations. Be more realistic about expectations you have for yourself, and family, friends and work mates. Learning to live in the present moment will help you with this.

   Learn how to speak honestly and directly. You will experience misunderstandings less often, and gain more respect from the people in your world when they don't need to second guess you. Mean what you say, and say what you mean.

   Learn how to respond rather than react. Start noticing your patterns of reaction. What sensations do you experience in your body when you feel threatened? Does your throat tense up, your heart start racing, or maybe your shoulders hunch up towards your ears?

The simple practice of noticing gives you the opportunity to start choosing your response and begin to break reactive patterns.

If you want real control, drop the illusion of control; let life have you. It does anyway. ~ Byron Katie.

♥  ♥  ♥  When you let go of the need to control, you will gain more peace, experience personal growth, and enjoy a new found freedom. Its about taking responsibility for your choices and letting go of the drama. Its a little bit scary and very exciting.

Lets Talk

If you want to be free of your controlling behavior or live with a controlling person and would like help, please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.

0403 064 874



2 Comments on “15 Signs You Might Be A Control Freak, And What To Do About It

  1. Thanks Kerry, some good tips here (for someone who may, possibly, be a little controlling). I especially liked your first suggestion about taking responsibility for yourself. I was surprised by number 6 but it makes sense – ove-rinvolvement is one way that people try and control.

  2. Thanks Tim. Yes, over-involvement in other peoples lives distracts people from connecting with their own needs and wants. When people take ownership of their lives it can create a powerful shift. I love seeing my clients step into this space and take their power back.

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