How to Deal With a Control Freak at Work or Home

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

control freaks at workControlling 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.

Dealing With a Control Freak

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. 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.

dealing with control freaks

“How to Deal With a Control Freak” image by Laurie

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.

“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.

If you’re the control freak in the family or at work, read How to Stop Being a Perfectionist.

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