It’s natural for human beings to have a desire to be in control.
According to several studies contributed by professors from Columbia University and a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Rutgers University, being in control serves at least two important purposes. First, it helps us believe that we can shape outcomes and events based on how we wanted them to be. We feel that the more in control we are, the better are the chances that we get the outcomes we desire. This sense of competence makes us feel good about ourselves.
Control also gives a boost to our well-being by making us believe that we aren’t under another person’s control. It has been argued that the need to be in control is not just desirable but also a psychological and biological need.
Our innate desire to be in control is helpful for us in many ways. Knowing we can make our own choices and carve our own path help us achieve more goals in life. But some people take it too far to the point that it is detrimental to them and to those around them. Seeking control is only a good thing up to a certain point. When you go beyond that, it can make you miserable. The question is, how do we know when it becomes too much?
Signs Of When We’re Being Too Controlling
Commonly more known as a term, “control freaks” go beyond knowing what they want and working hard to make sure that the vision that they have in mind happens. They tend to micromanage every detail of everything and that can be very exhausting.
All people have some controlling tendencies to a certain degree. It is important to understand where those tendencies stem from, particularly if your obsession with control needs a clinical diagnosis of something more serious.
The clinical diagnosis for someone who is overly controlling is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If you are suffering from OCD, you have such anxiety from simply existing in the world that you are forced to micromanage it and the people around you.
Like any other clinical diagnosis, this behavioral issue shows itself in degrees. At the lowest, this person’s controlling behavior is just annoying. At the extreme, the rigidity of the controlling behavior paralyzes people suffering from it and it also causes them to ostracize themselves from the world. In most cases, people with OCD are in the middle.
If you are not certain whether you or someone you know may desire to be in control is too much, here are some examples of day-to-day things to help you identify further:
● Refusal to delegate tasks. You overwhelm yourself with tasks because you believe no one can do a job as well as you can.
● If you choose to delegate tasks, you can’t help micromanaging. Letting someone do what you’d rather do yourself makes you feel stressed and restless. You assume they will likely do the task completely wrong so you want them to check in with you every step of the way to not waste any additional time and effort.
● You are controlling because you feel good about it. Being in control feels good because it stimulates the release of dopamine. The brain is designed to give you the good feeling of dopamine when you are close to achieving your needs, but the problem is the brain also releases cortisol which makes you feel bad when expectations aren’t met. Cortisol makes you feel threatened even when you are safe since its purpose is to warn you when you have gone off course.
● You constantly or easily get mad over the slightest change in schedule or in your plans.
● You want to know and have a say in what other people are doing.
● You are a perfectionist who is very concerned about what others think of you. You fear committing any mistakes because it is important for you to be perfect in your eyes and also in other people’s eyes.
● You’re moody. We all know things can’t always go our way. Control freaks tend to be moody as they are easily frustrated just because things didn’t go the way they planned or wanted it to be.
● You have been severely hurt in the past. Many people with control issues have suffered an emotional or physical injury that gets embedded in their central nervous system causing them to want full control of their life. They do not want the past to repeat itself or get hurt again, hence the excessive desire to be in control.
● You want to control your significant other’s finances. You want your partner to justify his or her expenses and criticize the way they are spending their money.
● You constantly criticize people around you just cause it doesn’t suit your preferences. You criticize what they wear, their choices, etc.
I’d also like to point out that in numerology, people who are born in April or have the number 4 in their birth charts, in general, are naturally more prone to controlling behavior (depending on which position the number 4 shows up in of course). The energy behind the number 4 represents organization and structure. Even when you look at the shape of the number, it’s rigid, sharp and some of my numerology students even described it as demanding.
Mindful Ways To Overcome OCD symptoms
Many people who have controlling behavior suffer from anxiety disorders. They feel compelled to control everything around them in order to feel at peace. The more turbulent they feel inside or the more anxious they are, the more they try to control what’s happening outside. This is why there is a need to address the underlying issue first.
To let go of your controlling behavior, the root cause of your anxiety should be resolved. This is where natural and mindful ways of overcoming controlling behavior come in. Here are some of them:
● Psychotherapy can help reduce anxiety, identify the root cause of your controlling behavior, allow you to change your perception of the perceived risks at a subconscious level, and practice healthier approaches to cope with daily life.
● Reduce stress and anxiety through mindfulness-based methods. There is no known definite cause of having OCD, but stress can make symptoms worse. The idea of sitting with uncertainty encompasses the concept of acceptance and surrender in a zen-type way, meaning you are okay not knowing what’s going to happen and you’re not attempting to control it. For you to achieve this peace of mind, you need to quiet the mind and body through practicing meditation or applying Reiki on yourself frequently after a short and simple entry-level Reiki 1 Training. Reiki is something anyone can learn to do and you do not need to be naturally gifted in order to channel Reiki healing energy.
● Relaxation can help manage stressful OCD symptoms. Simple things like yoga, a soothing ritual, a relaxing massage, or receiving a gentle Reiki session could do wonders.
● Receive a few Emotional Energy Healing sessions around the root cause of your controlling behavior. Healing old wounds can help you be free of holding negative emotions in your mind and body. And in case you’ve been considering deprogramming work around your subconscious thought patterns which is sometimes recommended by therapists, a few Emotional Energy Healing sessions could set you up beautifully before any deprogramming work. The two modalities go beautifully together to help you create significant long-term positive changes, holistically.
● Build a strong support system. Stay in touch with your family and friends. You can also join a support group. The more you are connected to other people, the less vulnerable you will feel.
It feels good to be in full control of everything going on around your life, but your life can be more fulfilling and happier if you learn to let go of some of that control.