Is there a control freak in your life? You may be living with someone who corrects your grammar. Maybe they refuse to admit they are wrong or always have the last word in an argument. Are they notorious for their road rage? You are probably living with a control freak.
What is a control freak
Even though the term “control freak” is not a clinical one, it is a very important because is establishes the presence of problem. Psychology Today defines this concept as: “Men and women who have a high need for control can often be too extreme, giving rise to the notion that these individuals are abnormal or ‘freakish.’” This slang describes an individual with a personality disorder characterized by undermining others, typically with controlling behaviors such as the way they act to command a social situation. And what more of an intimate social situation are many of us in than being in close quarters with someone during a pandemic?
How to deal with a control freak during a pandemic
Fortunately, although frustrating, situations like this do carry a solution. You don’t have power over the control freak, but you have power over how you handle yourself around the person. Challenging people need extra care in the approach you take with them, so here are some tips:
- Be strong with your words and behaviors. This doesn’t mean be nasty — be firm and set boundaries. Make sure you are allotting time away from them. A break will be healthy for you. Also, use definite body language. This paired with firm communication will deliver clear messages.
- Say “no.” This piggybacks off of tip No.1, but is so important it needs its own section. Controlling people use manipulation to get what they want. Even though it may be easier to give into the person, stand firm. Say no and continue to set and keep boundaries. No explanation is needed. Just “no.”
- Practice a self-care routine. Living with a controlling person can weigh on your self-esteem and overall emotional well-being. Find and rely on a good support system … don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
- Realize that under stress, it all gets worse. Control freaks are typically perfectionists who feel vulnerable to anything uncontrollable. Add stress to the mix, like a pandemic, and someone with control issues will seem as if they are on steroids. Realize that it’s their anxiety and not yours. This can help you feel like less of a victim.
- Make them aware of changes with notice. For example, if you are running late or plan to have someone over, let them know as soon as you do. Helping alleviate surprises will allow the person time to wrap their head around situation they cannot control.
Hopefully this period of discomfort of living with a control freak is merely temporary, but it is also important to note that you do not have to stay with this person. No matter what your relationship is, if you are truly unhappy or feel endangered by this individual, it may be time to cut ties. There is a difference between someone who has to control and someone who is abusive. Know the sneaky ways people abuse each other and other signs of abuse. This is where having a strong support system to help you identify and deal with a controlling situation is important.