The control freak is the person that insists on things being a certain way. They tend to be Crazy Makers who turn everything around, including words, to suit their purposes; they push their agenda to the exclusion of anyone else. Control freaks rarely know that they are one. They believe they are helping people with their 'constructive criticism' or taking over a project, even if it's decorating the Christmas tree because "no one else will do it right". They don't see their controlling behaviors as symptoms of their own anxiety. Confidence Coach Laure Redmond joined us with several helpful tools to keep in mind when dealing with a Control Freak or when your own controlling ways start to percolate--especially during the holidays when controlling behaviors tend to soar:
- You don't have to be mesmerized or paralyzed into action: You have choices and deserve to have a voice in how you spend your time. Just because your sister always hosts the family gathering at her house and expects it will be there again without checking on anyone else's feelings or your father-in-law is a football enthusiast who insists that the family watch one of the many games together - it's better to assert yourself and speak up about issues you feel strongly about before being micromanaged by others and allowing resentment and anger to set in.
- Remember that anxiety is the primary motivator for exerting control: Talk to a friend or family member about anxiety, encourage them to talk about the origins of their fears while you share information about the origins of yours ... It is always constructive to get to the real reason someone feels things have to go a certain way or why they feel they must protect themselves through rigid behaviors. People who feel out of control tend to become controllers. They typically have experienced chaotic childhoods, alcoholic parents, or early abandonment, making it hard to trust or relinquish control to others.
- Seriously, choose your battles: Controllers tend to be pitched up and adrenalized and if you're not careful you can become agitated along with them. There are some issues where it is better to let them have their way - give them some control while maintaining some for yourself. Don't defend your position or debate with them about theirs. Instead practice relating in a calm, speak slowly kind of way where you acknowledge their strong needs, but want your needs acknowledged and respected as well.
- See the beauty, not the mistakes: Whether the kids make an eyesore out of the Christmas tree or the elders make a mess of the dinner table, push back from the situation to get perspective and to be able to focus on the space in between these imperfections. See the opportunities to share family time - not the obstacles. It's easy to see the barriers, but don't let them stop you from being part of the special memories that exist around you.
- Move through the uncomfortable zone and risk the disapproval of others: Sitting in silent judgement, withholding attention or holding a power grudge is lethal - mindfully deal with control issues before things get ugly so you can free yourself from their grip and won't feel your own need to manipulate or control the situation.
- Good to remember ...: Control freaks are not trying to hurt you - they're trying to protect themselves. They are skilled manipulators, artful and intimidating, rehearsed debaters and excellent at distorting reality.
For more helpful information, visit Laure's website. She's also available for private coaching for individuals or groups.