The difference between being controlling and being in controlJun 15, 2022
At first glance you may think being controlling and being in control both imply that you're a control freak. As a slowly reforming control freak, I can tell you there are some fundamental differences between the two and the goal is to be ‘in control’ rather than ‘controlling’.
First up do any of these sound familiar:
- You'd like everything to be done according to your schedule
- You don't trust anyone else to do the things that need to be done
- You don't like to admit you're wrong
- You have perfectionist tendencies
- You spend a lot of time and energy trying to prevent bad things from happening
- You struggle to cope with uncertainty
- You feel anxious when you don't know what's happening
If you read that list and found yourself nodding along, you definitely have some controlling tendencies. Good news is, acknowledging them is a great start.
The first step to changing any behaviour is awareness. Bringing your attention to something means that you're able to draw a line in the sand and start to move forward.
Quite often, if you have controlling tendencies you likely have a fixed mindset, which can add to the challenge of letting things go.
I remember sitting with my husband talking about different mindsets and was excited to share with him my growth mindset ways. The only problem with that was, after further examination, I definitely ticked more of the fixed mindset boxes.
“Damn it,” I thought…..It was at this moment that I decided to look more deeply at my way of approaching life.
I always thought that the control I strived for was a good thing, a positive trait, something that helped others. Like all shadow aspects at the right level, it can be. However, as I explored my need to control the world, I realised that it was not a particularly healthy way of being.
Being controlling often means you're taking responsibility for things that aren't actually yours. When you stop and notice this, you can see how tiring and stressful being controlling can be. The battle of desperately controlling the uncontrollable (including loved ones, friends, colleagues, pets, weather, etc., etc.) isn't one you can ever win!
For me the first steps in reforming my controlling behaviour was to identify what was something I actually could control. When you go through this process, you very quickly realise there is very little that you can control. In fact, the only thing you can really have any type of control over is yourself; your thoughts, your perspectives, your actions, and your behaviours.
Not that this realisation instantly stopped my control freak tendencies! But now, when I bring consciousness to my thoughts, stop and take notice of my controlling behaviour, I am able to quickly see what aspects I need to let go of and how to step into a place of being ‘in control’.
Don't get me wrong, there are still days I have to try really hard not to control everything, but having the awareness that controlling behaviour is a natural tendency for me makes me much more conscious of how and when it shows up.
One of the biggest things that has helped me is the understanding that being controlling isn't the positive trait that I always thought it was, which has brought it firmly onto the list of things to work on.
If this is something you know you need to work on then I'd love to have a chat with you. As someone who understands first-hand what it's like to be a control freak, I know I can provide some support in helping you move out of this behaviour.
The first step is to book a free virtual coffee chat with me where we can look at creating some quick and easy strategies to move you from controlling to being in control.