How to stop being a control freak in a relationship

Updated April 17, 2017

Both men and women can be control freaks in a relationship. According to psychiatrist and best-selling book author, Judith Orloff, controlling tendencies often derive from a feeling that everything must be perfect, and in order to achieve perfectionism, the controller must do everything themselves. Controllers usually do not see themselves as being controlling, but rather right. In extreme cases, the controller may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Controlling behaviours, especially those in a relationship, can be emotionally and sometimes physically abusive.

Understand what it means to be a control freak. Controllers may hold on to past hurts, are easily angered or irritated, have difficulties expressing their emotions, attempt to buy their partner items in exchange for love and affection, and tend to bring up past grievances when arguing with the significant other.

Trust yourself and others. Controllers often feel the need to control situations because they are afraid that something will go wrong if they don't. This may include the house not being cleaned to the controller's standard of perfectionism, or that the other person may leave if they are not controlled into staying. Once the controller begins to learn how to trust, he may also begin to let go of some of his controlling tendencies.

Realise that nobody is perfect. Each person's definition of perfectionism is different, and therefore what may seem perfect to the controller may not seem perfect to someone else. Controllers typically feel judged if things are not done to their ideal standards. If the controller can understand that there is no such thing as perfectionism, he may be able to feel less of a need to control the relationship and situations within the relationship.

Seek help from a mental health worker. Psychologists and psychiatrists can help controllers understand why they are controlling, and provide ways to end the controlling behaviours.

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About the Author

Jacky Gamble has been a freelance writer since 2008, and has written articles for Internet publishing companies, and She is pursuing an Associate of Science in business administration.