Stop Being a Control Freak

control freak

Are you a control freak? Do you try to control people and events? If so, you’re not alone. But being a control freak is a source of considerable stress. So if you want to reduce the stress in your life, reduce what you try to control.

If you look around at your family, friends, and co-workers, you will see that the most successful people, the ones with the least amount of stress and the happiest, are the ones who don’t try to control anyone but themselves.

You will further realize that the people who are most miserable and have more stress are the ones who try to control others. Even if they have considerable power, the resistance promotes stress and hinders optimum relationships. When you try to control a spouse, partner, or child, the relationship suffers. And if you try to control a friend, the friendship will be short-lived. Yet, many people are control freaks and try to control those who are most dear to them.

In any relationship, rather than attempting to control the other person, simply ask yourself, “What can I do to improve this situation?” The powerful result will be that you think of an option that is so much more effective in influencing the other to change than any attempt at control.

Being a Control Freak Leads to Stress

The fact is that we rarely, if ever, solve a relationship problem by trying to make the other person see that we are right and he or she is wrong. On the other hand, we never hear someone say, “I’m having a problem with what you are doing and I think I have to change what I do or we’ll never solve the problem.” Yet, this is the secret for improving relationships. It’s not necessary to say it out loud, but it is essential to think in these terms.

If you look at any unsuccessful endeavor—including relationships—ask yourself whether your attempt at controlling the situation aroused any negative feelings. If so, chances are that any resistance could have been reduced by simply not being a control freak.

Here are three magic questions to memorize and have ready when you suspect you or someone else may be trying to exert control over a person or situation:

  1. Would you be willing to try something different if it benefits you?
  1. What would an extraordinary person do in this situation?
  1. Are you angry with me or with the situation?

Just remember that successful people reduce their stress by only controlling what they can: themselves!


My new book, Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey, is now available as a Kindle book. This book will show how to use some simple strategies to significantly reduce your stress, promote responsibility, increase your effectiveness, improve your relationships, and truly enjoy life’s experiences.