Home » Selected » Seven Tips For Dealing With A Control Freak
Hand writing are you a control freak on grey background

Seven Tips For Dealing With A Control Freak

If you have a control freak in your life, you are probably feeling overwhelmed and on edge. You may have tried appeasing to make the person happy, getting angry and arguing to get out of complying, or pleading and explaining to convince the person how unreasonable he/she is. None of these have worked, and it may even be getting worse.

Here are some tips that will help you when dealing with a control freak:

1. It’s About Them, Not You

Remember control freaks control because of the out of control feelings they experience.

This means it’s about them and not about you.

It feels like it’s about you because they focus on you and what you do.

They may demand perfection with house cleaning, cooking, bill keeping, personal hygiene, order, school work or any number of things. They may criticize you and focus on everything you’re doing while appearing to ignore themselves.

2. Do Only What You’re Comfortable With

Decide what you’re willing to do and let the rest go. You’re not obligated to do everything control freaks demand of you.

You don’t have to take on their anxiety and feel as anxious as they do. You can set boundaries and say no to things that aren’t comfortable for you.

For instance, if someone likes the house kept a certain way, do the best you can within your comfort level but let go of the part that makes you feel anxious.

3. Do It Because You Choose To

When you decide to comply with anything the control freak has asked you to do, do it because you choose to rather than feeling like you are doing it because you have to. You can say no to anything you want and when you don’t, own your choice.

This will minimize your resentment and make you feel better about what you are doing. It will also remind you, you could have said no and chose not to.

4. Don’t Defend Yourself

When criticized by the control freak, don’t argue and defend yourself. Instead, keep calm and say something simple like,

“Thanks for your opinion,”

“I’ll think about it,”

“You could be right,” or

“Interesting observation.”

If you feel like you have to argue your innocence about everything, you will make your relationship more contentious. If there’s a part of the criticism that is accurate, admit it and then move on.

Remember, control freaks are often perfectionists with themselves too. They just may not show you that part of their internal struggle.

5. Set Boundaries

When the controlling becomes abusive or unbearable, talk to the control freak about the part of the behavior that isn’t acceptable. Don’t be accusatory or threatening.

Just explain that you have tried to deal with the controlling behavior but it has crossed a line. You have a right to be treated respectfully and to take care of yourself.

This includes saying no to behavior that isn’t okay. If you can, focus on how much you have struggled and how it’s just more than you can handle at this point.

6. Detach

Separate from the control freak’s moods. When control freaks don’t get their way, they often become angry, upset, pouty, pushy and sulking.

Recognize you didn’t cause those feelings even if you refused to do what is being asked.

You can make your decision about doing or not doing what is asked and then let their feelings belong to them.


Control freaks often use tones of voice that are authoritarian, demanding, disrespectful, pushy and arrogant. You can ask the request be given to you in a respectful tone.

If you help the control freak know that it’s the way you’re being talked to rather than what you’re being asked, you may be able to get some change in how you’re spoken to.

You don’t have to let a control freak control your life. Use these seven tips to respond in a way that helps you to maintain control of your life.

About The Author

This post is by Karla Downing, M.A., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author and founder of ChangeMyRelationship. Karla grew up in a dysfunctional family and eventually found herself in a difficult marriage. Through her personal struggles, she discovered biblical and practical principles she now teaches to others to change their lives and relationships. I’m signed up for her free relationship tips and truths, and I encourage you to visit her website and sign up for them.

Read a parable of a man who wanted to cover the world with leather.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Translate »