To be in control is a good thing. To be controlling is not. There is a big difference.
One who is too controlling is in fact so out of control they lose everything in their grasp.
I'm sure you have seen it before. Someone who is so controlling they need to get their voice heard in every situation. They set guidelines and rules so stringent no one could possibly measure up. One slip up and there is war. The 'My way or the highway mentality'.
It's like they have a choke hold on every aspect of their life and maybe yours too. If it is a parent, the kids are given the idea they can't trust in themselves because everything they do is never good enough. As an adult the same message is received however it is also demeaning to ones character.
We see it time and time again, these people's lives come crashing down and they don't understand why. To those of us looking in we could see it coming. When all of our suggestions to help went on deaf ears, we just shut up and did what we were told.
But there are some things you can do to either understand their controlling behavior or at the very least, minimize the effects on you.
Understand The Controlling Behavior
- People who try to control others are themselves out of control – in their mind that is. Often, they have many conﬂicting thoughts which create havoc in their mind. They will then latch on to that which they know they can control thus making them feel better. It is kind of a protection for them.
- Whatever is going on for them is never about you. Human nature allows us to take things like this personally. Don't. Remember, they are doing this for their own sense of inner control, but doing it via outward expression.
- Being a control freak is a compulsion. Recognize that it began for them long before you showed up. In other words they try to do it to everyone.
- More often than not, control freaks have low self esteem. They do not have enough inner trust to handle outcomes other than ones they plan.
- Control freaks never want to appear vulnerable. But in fact they are.
Be In Alignment With Your Values
- Don't engage with them. Do not allow yourself to fall into the same behavior you are trying to avoid. Situations like this aren't about winning. Or at least they shouldn't be from your end. Do what you need to do in an unfavorable situation whether that is hanging up the phone, walking away or not responding to an email. These are subtle reminders to that person that what they are doing is not ok with you. Remember people do what works. When you stop allowing it they stop doing it. It won't be overnight but it will happen.
- Do not react. Knowing now what you do about control freaks, when they become aggressive take off your armor. Show them you are not a threat to them and you just want to help. You can do this by simply remaining calm no matter how much turmoil they are trying to create. This more than anything shows great strength.
- Remain fearless. Everything is energy and we are emitting energy with each emotion. We are also receiving other people's energy. Note the energy in the room while with a control freak. The minute you begin emitting fear energy they pick up on it and the behavior gets worse.
Ask For Help
- Control freaks like to be in control. By asking for their help you are giving them that control. They can now 'tell' you something and they will have your undivided attention. They may teach you something very valuable and it may also help build trust with them as well.
- If you are being issued orders ask them how they would like to see it done. If they have already done that, ﬁnd a relevant question and ask it. The point is you are asking the control freak to help you and letting them know you understand the importance.
- Try to ﬁnd a solution to their problem and ask them for help resolving it.
Offer Extra Help
- Do something that proves to the control freak that they can trust you to get the job done.
- If there are moments where the controlling is at a minimum do more. This also sends a message.
- Ask for the opportunity to do something to lessen their load. Make sure it is something you want to do and do it well. They will soon see someone other than themselves is quite capable to get things done.
- Self trust is crucial. When you trust in you, all fear goes by the wayside. Knowing you can handle whatever comes sets you apart from failure. Not everything works out exactly as planned. When you trust yourself it doesn't matter. You know that there is a deeper meaning and move on. You don't dwell and fret and stew over it you simply learn from it and proceed with the next thing.
-With self trust you don't take these things personally. You accept what is and remain calm and intact.
-Decision making becomes easy and self conﬁdence builds with inner trust.
There are reasons people have control issues and should not be judged. We need to look past these outward expressions and try to understand them as people.
So starting today, do your best to see others through new eyes.