Are You A Control Freak? Answer These 3 Questions To Find Out

It's time to change your ways.

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In the world today, many people try to control others.

"Control" means trying to dominate or command others, and these issues are everywhere: in marriages, at the workplace, and in friendships. They are even apparent in politics and religion. A thirst for control is rampant in our society and we can't change what we do not acknowledge.

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Are you a control freak? How do you know if you are too controlling?

Oftentimes, we think we're being "helpful" and imparting wisdom the other person may not have. We also may assume we're usually correct in our thinking and that the other person is wrong. 

In other situations, the controlling person is trying to control their own behavior. It can be the food they're eating or behaviors they're trying to change. 

If the control affects you alone, you are not controlling. If you want everyone around you to do what you say, you have moved into "control issues." And a constant need to control others is where the “freak" part comes out.


To find out whether you fall in the control freak category, answer these 3 questions honestly:

1. Do you set the agenda and then expect others to do what you want?

All of us have worked for a tyrant at some point in our lives. Tyrants, like control freaks, want their way and they are very clear about what their way is.

If you're usually setting the agenda for yourself and others, and leave little to no room for what other people want, you are being very controlling.

2. Do you think anyone who disagrees with you is "wrong"?

If you find yourself saying, “No, things need to be done 'this' way” (which is your way), you have a control issue.


There are many ways to solve a problem or reach an outcome, and one way is not necessarily the only or even the best way. You are stuck thinking that you know best if this is how you handle conflict.

3. Do you usually negotiate solely to get your own way without hearing what others are saying?

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If you're unable to negotiate and come up with a solution that works for all involved, you have a control issue. The issue is not the “other people,” the issue is you and your inability to compromise.

When you're unable to entertain and honor other ideas or suggestions, you limit your own growth and learning. The more out of control a person feels, the more controlling they usually become.


I have seen scores of young women complain about their spouses not helping enough with the children or with the housework. These wives scream, yell, get mad, and try to control their spouses into doing what they want.

But men are often solution-orientated. They want to know what the problem is so a solution can be reached.

A better approach is to communicate that you're feeling out of control because certain things have to be done before you can all climb into the car. Asking your spouse what they can help you with, getting the children to the bathroom, packing snacks, or taking the dog out can make a huge difference.

Asking, instead of dictating, gives the other person a choice.


We certainly all like getting our way; but when we expect others to fulfill our wishes, we are setting ourselves up for failure. No one is going to agree with you 100 percent of the time, and no one is going to give in to your demands 100 percent.

The definition of a control freak is a person whose behavior indicates a powerful need to control people or circumstances in everyday matters.

You can move out of overly controlling behavior by following these steps:

1. Open up to other people's perspectives

Valuing others’ ideas and input, then discussing things openly and honestly without attack, can bring solutions to light.

2. Listen to understand (not respond)

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Understanding someone else and their perception is imperative in coming up with solutions that work for all involved.

3. Admit you have an issue

When you realize there is no one else to blame but yourself for the way you see things, you are able to change yourself.

When you take a good look at what's happening in the world today, a need to control is a central issue.

Some people want to control guns, others want everyone to carry a gun. Some people want everyone to believe their religious teachings and make every other teaching wrong. Some people are wanting to control other countries and other nationalities. Some people are making everyone who does not think like them wrong. 


These tactics have been used before in the genocide of the Native American people and the Holocaust. "We, the people" must find new ways to bring about a happier and healthier world for all. We must acknowledge that we have control issues and work to give up the “freak” so we can generate solutions that serve everyone. 

Yes, the world may look like it's out of control, making us feel out of control. But when we try to control more of our lives, we make more chaos.

Control is not the answer. Listening, understanding, and loving others more is the answer. If we really want change in our lives, we must give up on the things we can’t control.

You can only change yourself, and when you do, everything around you changes.


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Jeanne Henderson is a change management expert and spiritual coach. She writes to help others connect with their authentic selves and raise their self-awareness.