Long-term intimate relationships are created through a healthy balance of two committed people. Throw a control freak or controlling behavior into the mix and the possibility for lasting intimacy in a relationship vanishes. What is the difference between control freaks and the rest of us?Most of us will admit that we like being right and getting our way. Many of us will confess that being right and getting our way are so important to us that we will even make special efforts by reinforcing our point with ‘facts’ and debate. But then there are those folks who go over the top with being right and aggressively pursue getting their way. Their self-worth and sense of security seem to ride on it. They say they are not controlling, but right. Control-focused folks may insist and persist until others cave (to shut them up) or acknowledge their way as right. Blind to appropriate limits on pushing, they travel too far into others’ boundaries. These individuals are the control freaks.
When is a controlling person not just a control freak?
Despite jumping over personal boundaries, control freaks do not cross all lines with others. Many control freaks are likable and lovable with good intentions. Some controlling people are not easily dismissed from our lives due to specific circumstances, like family or job. There are also controlling people who seem impossible to leave behind because of the toxic power they possess.These are the people who are dangerous to us because they escalate their controlling behavior with powerful threats, verbal abuse, or physical violence. This discussion does not describe these relationships.
Aggressive and dominating people who cause harm or create the fear that they may do so are not control freaks. Relationships with threatening, abusive, and violent behavior call for immediate safety actions and require professional and/or legal intervention.
Is everyone with a strong opinion a control freak?
Although many people have stubborn opinions on just about everything, they do not expect agreement from others. Not so for control freaks. For truly controlling people, having the right answers provides order. Any conversation that blends viewpoints (gray positions) leaves them unsettled in their black-and-white tinted world. They cannot listen because listening challenges their sense of order, control, and comfort. They cannot bear being wrong. Life and decisions are simple: “You are either with me or against me.”Clearly, all highly opinionated people are not control freaks. Control freaks are not simply people who hold on to strong ideas. The act of forcing one’s opinions, values, beliefs, and ideas on another or harshly judging, ridiculing, or criticizing dissenting views are what separates control freaks and otherwise undesirable levels of controlling behavior from non-controlling people and behavior.