Am I controlling? (How to know)

Am I controlling

In this article, we will discuss how to answer the question “am I controlling?”, the signs of being controlling and you can even find useful tools that can assist in identifying this type of behavior and help you determine if you might need to seek professional help.

Am I controlling?: What it really means

“Am I controlling?”, you might be wondering. Maybe you have heard “you are so controlling” or “you can’t control everything” but, how can you be sure?. Well, if you are really a controlling person, your self-esteem might be impacted already or you have problems in your interpersonal relationships, leading to insecurities and trust issues.

Am I controlling

We all have our particular way of handling certain situations or doing things but we have to recognize when crossing the line between a particular way of thinking and being controlling. But why am I thinking “am I controlling?” well, it depends on your personality traits really,  what your definition of control is and how people perceive you. 

Nonetheless, there is no need to feel bad about having controlling traits, in fact, everyone has them to an extent. The main idea is for you to identify, analyze them and make adjustments to your behavior if needed.

What are the signs of a controlling person?

Here are the signs that may indicate you are dealing with a controlling person:

  • They will make you think everything is your fault.
  • They will create conflict so you fight with the people around you.
  • They will tell you who you can or can’t speak.
  • They will belittle you, intimidate and even humiliate you.
  • They will criticize everything you do (or don’t do).

Feeling the need to control others

If you feel an urge or need to control others, this could be the best way for you to avoid the unpleasant sensation of feeling anxious. This behavior tends to be more evident when having a partner, which could potentially turn into an abusive relationship and take it to the point of no return.

Am I controlling

So, why am I controlling?

Most likely this urge to control could have been learned and developed while growing up under the care of someone that couldn’t provide an appropriate sense of safety.  Some examples include but are not limited to receiving unreliable and inconsistent nurturing, meeting your parent expectations as a form of love (where tasks were more important than constructing healthy relationships) or being raised by controlling parents or carers.

Controlling personality: Are there any signs?

Here you will find some of the signs that will help you answer the question “am I controlling?”.

According to Life coach Tony Robbins, there are two types of individuals: the ones that depend on your ability to control and the ones that want you to back off. Also, he mentions that controlling people can be identified because:

  • They tend to be perfectionists
  • Try to please everyone
  • They think being perfect is the only way of being successful
  • They tend to be always criticizing others when they make mistakes they think could have prevented
  • They only see two possible options, either is black or is white, a grey area is non-existent in their minds
  • They have a hard time letting mistakes go

Help! How can I stop being so controlling?

If you feel identified with the signs mentioned previously you then may find the following tips really useful. This will encourage you to take the first step into changing some of the habits that make you controlling, but remember, you need to be willing to make changes and that is certainly something not easy to do.

The first useful tip is trying to change your midset, this means, you should start by thinking that everything you say or do doesn’t need to be perfect or on point. You are allowed to make mistakes like everyone else.

The second useful tip relates to investing time to work in your self-esteem, meaning, you should take a look inside yourself and understand that people will tend to judge and criticize every little thing you do if they have the opportunity. It isn’t you, it’s them! Try not to take it personally, and close your eyes, breathe and learn how to relax under those situations.

This third tip is closely related to the previous one. Invest time in learning how to manage your anxiety, especially since thoughts are the ones controlling you, not the other way around. Think of all the possible scenarios when facing a situation (getting rid of the unknown factor) and realize there could be positive outcomes instead of focusing on the negative.

The fourth tip is related to being obsessed about imposing your ideas because you consider they are the best options available out there and if you don’t follow through as planned, something might go terribly wrong.  It is important to let others provide a different approach to certain situations, you might actually be very happy and satisfied with the outcome.

The fifth tip is related to trusting others and delegating responsibilities to achieve a common goal. Asking for help won’t make you less capable on the contrary, giving up control helps build trust, cultivate healthier relationships and releases stress.  

The sixth and final tip is related to listening first what others have to say. It can be hard for you not to interrupt someone when you consider they are totally wrong, however, you are not an expert in every topic and you might actually learn a lot from different opinions instead of yours alone.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What are the signs of a controlling person?

The following signs will help you determine if you know or may have contact with controlling people in your life:
– You have noticed their behavior to be inconsistent.

– They are always right, never accept when they are wrong or take responsibility for their mistakes.

– You have noticed they don’t like when you spend time with other people, only they are allowed.

– You have noticed they consistently try to change you.

– You have noticed they always think there is “someone else” in your relationship.

– You have noticed they are always jealous.

What is a controlling personality type?

The term “control freak” refers to a person with a personality disorder that is characterized by controlling behavior manifested when undermining other people, usually by dictating how things should be in a social context or interaction.

Does anxiety cause controlling Behaviour?

Mostly, underneath controlling behavior, we can identify thoughts related to fear and also anxiety traits. Thus, you should learn to aware and in charge of those feelings instead of trying to manipulate your partner’s behavior. Several psychological techniques such as emotional regulation can allow you to be in control of your thoughts and subsequently your own behavior.

How can I be a less controlling girlfriend?

There are some basic tips that can help you become less controlling of your boyfriend and alternatively can make you more lovable, open-minded and upbeat instead:

– Try not to give in to paranoid.

– Give him some space.

– Try to have an open and assertive way of communication.

– Try not to surrender to your impulses. 

– Embrace and be more accepting to make changes.

What causes control issues?

Control issues can be caused or precipitated by traumatic or abusive life experiences, anxiety, fear to be abandoned, lack of trust, low self-esteem, being a perfectionist and having a profound fear of failure, being emotionally vulnerable or sensitive towards negative experiences, among others.

So… “Am I controlling?”: Quiz time!

Here is a short and useful quiz to help answer the question “am I controlling?” helping you to identify some of the main characteristics and help you clear some of the additional questions you might have. If you think you are controlling and it is affecting your life negatively we advise seeking professional guidance.

Am I controlling

Why is the blog post “am I controlling?” important…

This blog post is important because it gives insight into why you think you might be controlling some known signs, giving you the chance to understand it better and act upon those traits that might be causing distress and difficulties in your personal life. 

Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below

Recommended reading

  • Controlling People: How To Recognize, Understand, And Deal With People Who Try To Control You
  • Emotional Intelligence: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Emotions and Raising Your EQ (Positive psychology Coaching Series Book 8)
  • Emotional Intelligence: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Emotions and Raising Your EQ (Positive psychology Coaching Series Book 8)
  • The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships
  • If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World

References

Gover, S. (2017) psychology Today. Do You Have a controlling Personality?

Tony Robbins: Am I controlling?

A Conscious Rethink

Am I controlling? (How to know)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.