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How to Deal With a Control Freak

Control freaks are often bossy, micromanaging perfectionists. Here’s how to deal with a control freak – whether it’s your boyfriend, boss, spouse, parent, or child.

control freaksRead Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal with People Who Try to Control You by Patricia Evans for in-depth tips on how to deal with a control freak. These thoughts will help you get started, but if your control freak is your boss, spouse, or child, you may need to dig deeper and go further.

The following tips on how to deal with a control freak are more about you than the control freak in your life. You can’t change he who attempts to control everything and everyone, but you can change how you deal with him. Remember that excessive control and manipulation is one of the warning signs of a bad relationship.

Dealing With a Control Freak

Do you know the difference between a control freak and verbal abuse? Read 5 Signs of a Verbally Abusive Relationship. Don’t let yourself be fooled – controlling behavior is abusive, and verbally abusive relationships and controlling relationships are both toxic and destructive.

The sooner you learn how to recognize control and manipulation, the closer you’ll be to dealing with it.

Learn why some people are obsessive about control

My accountant friend had a tumultuous life growing up. His childhood was unpredictable, unsupportive, and out of control. The result? He’s a control freak because he needs security, predictability, and … control. This makes him feel safe in the world. The more you understand about what a control freak is and why he is that way, the better able you’ll be to deal with him.

Remember that you can’t change a control freak

It’s a fact that people can and do change, but it takes a great deal of determination and self-awareness to stop doing something we’ve been doing for years – especially if it’s been working for us. For some fairly obvious reasons, being a control freak works for certain people. They need to micromanage and be bossy because it helps them cope with unpredictability, which is scary for them. You can’t change how control freaks perceive the world, but you can change how you deal with them.

Take a step back, and observe

Watch your control freak without judging, resisting, or wishing things were different. When he takes control over something or someone that he “shouldn’t” be controlling, observe your own reaction. What emotions are triggered in you? Do you feel angry, frustrated, suffocated, or exhausted? One of the best tips on how to deal with a control freak is dealing with yourself. In my article on coping with toxic family relationships, I describe three ways to respond to difficult people. That might help you deal with your control freak.

Let your control freak do his thing

How to Deal With a Control Freak

How to Deal With a Control Freak

It seems almost impossible to step back and let people take control of things that aren’t theirs to control, but it may be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. It’s easier for me, because my accountant is only a friend I see on weekends. It would be different if I was married to him, or working for him.

If you’re searching for tips on how to deal with a control freak because you have to be with yours every day, it may be time for you to make a change in your life.

Decide if you need to remove yourself from the situation

If your boss is a control freak and it doesn’t work for you to just step back and let him have his way, then you may need to think about changing your career. If your husband or wife is a control freak, you may need to think about counseling for yourself, so you can learn how to stay emotionally healthy and stay married.

Ask yourself if you attract control freaks into your life

These tips on how to deal with a control freak won’t remove that person from your life forever – there may be a control freak in your next job or relationship. We tend to keep attracting the same types of people into our lives because we haven’t resolved certain issues. Is it possible that the “control freak” isn’t the problem? Perhaps you’re drawn to controlling, manipulative people for some reason.

If you’re in a relationship with a controlling guy, read Is He a Control Freak? 4 Signs a Man is Trying to Manipulate You.

I welcome your thoughts on how to deal with a control freak. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but it may help you to share your experience. Sometimes writing brings clarity and insight, and helps you see the issues differently.

If you know you need to step back from the relationship, read How to Emotionally Detach From Someone You Care About

Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.

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“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” – Denis Waitley.

2 thoughts on “How to Deal With a Control Freak”

  1. Hi Darlene,

    Good question – and a good reminder that a control freak can be male or female, current or ex.

    I wrote this article for you, and forget to tell you about it…

    How to Deal With Your Husband’s Ex-Wife

    Pay special attention to the comments sections, because many readers have offered stories and suggestions on how to deal with ex wives who fit the “control freak” label.

  2. How do you deal with a controlling/ satellite parenting ex wife? I am married to a man who’s ex wife is …challenging.

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