Step 1: Admitting you have a need for being in control

If you’ve been following this control freak series you’ve either been hurt by control freaks, or you think you might be one. If you know this is you, take heart! Admitting it is the first step toward recovery.

Yes, I’m treating your control freak behavior as an addiction. It’s a behavior that is keeping you anesthetized, preventing you from seeing the world and your co-workers as they really are. You can’t stop it, and it’s interfering with your work and your relationships.

To recap: the control freak actually feels out of control inside. We are afraid of being exposed, and afraid of all that chaos going on. So we work really hard to control everyone and everything on the outside. To do this, we buy into a bogus picture of our own superiority and buy into another bogus picture of everyone else’s incompetence.

We set our team up for failure so we can be in control; we bolster false confidence by presenting ourselves as the one with all the answers. We are critical, nit-picky, explosive, and we take on all the work that cannot be done to our impossible expectations. We devalue the contributions of others (especially when they don’t do it exactly our way) and violate their personhood by talking over them, talking for them and prescribing their behaviors.

Being a control freak, like being an addict, is ultimately self-destructive. We are lonely and over worked and stressed out. We complain because we never have time to do our work because we are so busy doing everyone else’s. We miss out on the rest of our lives (friends, family, hobbies, our own health) because we have to work all the time. We have to continue to control because we never experience real confidence; and our judgements put walls between us and anyone who might help us. We are locked in a terrible cycle, and if any one challenges us, we tell them we have no choice. We MUST live this way.

Is this you?

If it is, congratulations. Admitting it, and owning up to this is a huge step, and necessary for recovery. Although this information is not really new, you are seeing it in a new way, maybe even for the first time. Good job. Go to bed early. Take extra care of yourself as you just sit with this information, and get comfortable with your admission.

And put your seatbelt on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Read Step 2 here »

How does it feel to admit that your control freak behavior is having a significant impact on your life? Keep writing down pay-offs and costs as you recognize them. Notice your feelings, they will give you important information on your road to recovery.

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