Who Are Control Freaks?
You and your partner have a great day out planned, but almost from the beginning, things go wrong. A wreck on the freeway jams up traffic. The sunny weather forecast turns to drizzle. You forgot to bring extra change for the parking meter. How is your partner dealing with these misfortunes?
Is he or she angry and sulking? Are you getting the blame? Are they ready to give up on the whole day and go home, muttering that you should never have been in charge of planning in the first place? If this scenario seems familiar, you may have hooked up with a control freak.
Control freaks are typically perfectionists who set impossibly high standards for themselves and others and cannot deal reasonably with the unpredictability of the real world. These people make those around them miserable. They don’t make good partners. Does your partner exhibit any of these warning signs?
Control Freak: Warning Signs
#1. Perfection Is The Only Option
Control freaks will only accept perfection, especially in other people. They often believe that only they can achieve that perfection.
At work, they put in long hours and love being the “hardest working, most dedicated” employee. No one else can do the job up to their standards. They rarely delegate tasks, but if they do, they will micromanage and nitpick until the job is done to their satisfaction.
At home, they will criticize projects you do and often will come in and re-do the job under the belief that if they do it, it will be done right. If you find that as you pick up the hammer and nail to hang a picture, your partner takes them out of your hands to do it, you are probably dating a control freak.
#2. All Must Go According To Plan
Control freaks have a great fear of the uncertain. They meticulously plan all moments of the day and become angry when events go awry. They plan out how others should behave as well and criticize anyone who doesn’t conform.
Control freaks cling rigidly to these plans, making no room for mistakes, uncontrollable events or human weaknesses. If you have a bad day and console yourself with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, which was definitely not on your diet, and your partner criticizes your transgression but ignores your pain, you are probably dating a control freak.
#3. When They Want Your Opinion, they’ll Tell You What It Is
Control freaks only trust their own opinions and abilities. They don’t listen to others’ input because they don’t believe it’s valid. They don’t trust information given by others and will always double check or insist on seeing things for themselves.
They make all the decisions for any relationship or plan. Even if they agree to do something your way, they will often go and do it their way without telling you.
They will make decisions for other people as well. Often, these petty tyrants will tell you their meddling is for your own good and shows how much they care. If your partner is telling you what to wear, what to eat, what to read or watch on TV, you are probably dating a control freak.
#4. They Practice Emotional Blackmail
People who want to dominate others often do so through emotional blackmail. When things don’t go according to plan, they will sulk and withhold attention. They love to apply the silent treatment until you come asking for forgiveness just to ease the tension.
Control freaks also use guilt and fear to manipulate others. They’ll paint a picture of the disaster that will result if they are not in charge. They’ll find picky faults and make others feel guilty for not meeting the perfectionist’s expectations. Once people are afraid and guilty, it’s easy for the control freak to step in and “save the day.”
If you get stuck in traffic and your partner blames you for choosing the wrong road and then refuses to talk to you for the rest of the evening, you are probably dating a control freak.
#5. Your Life Is No Longer Your Own
The most destructive thing a control freak can do is to take away the autonomy of another person. This is most likely to happen to people in relationships with them. They are extremely jealous of anyone who gets your attention, even of work or other hobbies. They want you there for them at all times, and they want to be your highest priority.
Control freaks will deride your friends and family and make the case that you shouldn’t spend time with them. They will pout and lay on guilt trips if you do.
If you find that you no longer have the hobbies, friends and free time that you used to have, and you are focused full-time on keeping your partner happy, you are probably dating a control freak.
What Should You Do If You Are Dating A Control Freak?
If you think you’re dating a control freak, you should take care of yourself first. End the relationship and find someone who appreciates you and can handle a little imperfection.
If you still care for the perfectionist, you can try to explain why you left the relationship and advise counseling. Don’t expect a sudden epiphany from the self-appointed puppet master, however. Remember, to the control freak, your opinion is worthless.