We all want to feel happy and safe in life. However, some people will go to greater lengths than others to feel this way. If you are someone who exhibits controlling behaviors, they are likely rooted in anxiety and fear. You thrive on predictability and over-planning because you like to know everything that will happen. The less you feel in control over things, the more you might engage in behaviors like:
- Micromanaging others
- Criticizing others
- Exhibiting a lack of trust in others and their ability to make good choices
- Establishing impossibly high standards
- Obsessing over insignificant details
- Taking charge of plans so that things go your way
It is common for controlling behaviors to stem from an upbringing characterized by fear, unpredictability, and things being out of control. Controlling is also connected to perfectionism, as perfectionists don’t like changes or risks and are critical of themselves and others.
If any of this sounds like you, it is vital for your mental health, stress levels, and even relationships to end these controlling behaviors. Especially as attempts to take control won’t make you feel better, but worse, since you can’t control other situations or people.
Here are a few ways to manage this and feel less frustrated and stressed:
Challenge your fears – Ask yourself what you are afraid will happen if you fail to control a certain situation or person. You will likely find that the outcome is more manageable than you thought because you had expected the worst.
Accept that you can’t control everything – It might not feel this way at first, but if you stop trying to solve everyone’s problems or prevent them, it will help you find peace. Trust others to make good decisions, and if they don’t, they aren’t your problems to solve.
Be flexible with how you think – If you’re controlling, you might tend to believe there is only one right way to accomplish something. Pay attention when you start to engage in all-or-nothing thinking and remember that there is more than one way (your way) to do things.