Do you find yourself needing to have control over everything in your life? Are you easily agitated or angered when you aren’t in control?

If you answered yes to these questions you most likely have controller tendencies. Somebody who is a “controller” only feels ok in their life when things are going their way. We need people to do things as we like them to be done. When people don’t do things the way we like it makes us feel out of control and fearful. Controllers constantly seek to control their environment and the situations that they find themselves in.

Perhaps you need things to be organized in a particular way or need people to do things according to a particular routine or organizational structure. When people don’t act predictably, do you have to rein them in and make them change their behaviour? Controllers usually put themselves in leadership roles in their personal and professional lives because being in charge causes them to feel safer in the world.

You may wonder where these tendencies come from. Why does somebody have to feel in control of every aspect of his or her life? Where does it start?

At its base, a controller is a fearful child that doesn’t feel in charge of its world. The world around looks very scary and this child learns to control its surroundings by carrying out certain behaviours or tasks. This makes the child feel safer and more in charge of their life. These strategies that are used to bring order and predictability to a child’s world will continue to be used throughout their life. These behaviours and tendencies may very well be unhealthy and damaging.

Do you think you are a controller? Closely observe your behaviours and tendencies. Step back and ask the question, ‘Do I need things to be done in a particular order? Do people in my life ever call me a control freak? Who is it I’m trying to control, what am I trying to control, and is there any merit to what I’m doing?’

Self-reflection is always the first step to change. I encourage you to find out if these tendencies are really serving you and the people who are close to you.

When you feel the urge to control a situation, how do you let go?