Control Freaks, micro-managers – everyone knows one. Whether it’s your boss, your Father-in-law or your room mate, you may find yourself frustrated and perplexed with how to cope.
First of all, Control issues belong to the would be controller – not you. Don’t let them make their problems become yours.
Controllers are relentless due to deep insecurity.
Many lived in chaotic, toxic families where they had no say in anything. They often grew up feeling helpless.
Controllers will do anything to have at least the illusion of omnipotence. Controllers will wear you down if you allow them.
Often, they earnestly believe they are being helpful or efficient.
One problem with controllers is they think their way is the only, best possible way to get things done.
Some controllers make everything a matter of Life and Death. They spin far fetched but deadly scenarios. You have to wonder if they believe it or simply use these ‘What If?’ scenarios to manipulate people.
“I just want you to be safe/healthy!”
“This is the most efficient/effective way!”
“Don’t you want the best for our (family/company?) “
Controllers can’t be controlled.
If you suggest an alternative to them or poke holes in their rationale, they will accuse YOU of being the control freak!
There are lots of inappropriate ways to respond, if it’s a stranger you might be tempted to rudely put them in their place. What if the Controller is someone in authority? What if it’s a loved one? We should treat everyone with compassion and respect.
Matt 22:39 'love your neighbor as yourself.'
If YOU were the Controller, how would you hope to be treated?
Show them why what they do is inappropriate.
“I feel disrespected when you insist that I do _____ a specific way. Will you give me the freedom & dignity to do things my unique way?”
When you link their behavior with the effect it has on you, they have to stop trying to sell their way. They are forced to think about how you feel.
Speak calmly (even if you don’t feel calm!) Make eye contact. This should be done in person if possible, sometimes you may need to send them letter so that you can get a word edgewise! A written letter is better than a text message.
When they cross the boundaries (and they will) react calmly but firmly. Let them know that you appreciate their concern. Assure them you will take their input seriously. Remind them that you reserve the right to do something a different way – your way. Inform them if they get overzealous and begin trying to force their will on you, that you may need to take a mental health break away from them. This can be a few minutes or a week. This isn’t punishment but your way of maintaining your dignity and peace.
Every single time they try to take over the event planning or ‘help’ you make a minor/major decision calmly hold up a hand and call a time out. Remind them of the boundaries you established. Thank them for their concern but tell them you are just fine.
Disengage and recharge.
Stop the conversation right then and there. Tell them you need to leave. Don’t fall into a text argument. Ignore those text notifications!
If it’s a supervisor, be extra respectful and take a short mental health or bathroom break.
Staying out worldly calm is important – especially if you dealing with a male Controller. They are more inclined to dismiss emotional responses as an over reaction.
Consistency is key, they may NEVER see the Light. If they know you won’t argue or give in, they stop micromanaging out of expediency. By treating them respectfully, you give them room to apologize if they see your point of view. Be respectful to gain respect.
Arguing is pointless, micromanagers are too in love with their way. Often, they can make getting their way sound reasonable. No lawyer can win versus a determined Controller!
Finally, if you find yourself being held accountable by someone as a micromanager or controller… Listen to them! Don’t dismiss their objections.
It’s fine to present your point of view. The problem is when you won’t take “No thanks.” as answer. If you keep ‘explaining’ why your way is best, you devalue the other person. If they tell you “Fine, you win!” You didn’t win and neither did they!
Micromanaging or controlling behavior damages professional and personal relationships.