The Control Freak – Out of Control Obsessive Control of Situations

Yesterday we discussed the control freak’s obsessive need to control situations in the workplace. Outside of the workplace their need for control over situations can reach much deeper and darker depths, attempting to control the uncontrollable.

  1. Need to control other’s perceptions of them: The control freak can become obsessed over how other people perceive them. This can lead to intensive lines of questioning of shared friends and acquaintances that can ultimately drive them away from the control freak.
  2. Spend too much time on menial tasks: Hyper-focused on the details of any given project, from cleaning the house to writing a blog post, the control freak often loses the forest by getting stuck in the trees. Time marches forward and the control freak is still stuck on finding the perfect font. This can often lead to the next issue.
  3. Existing in a perpetual freak out: By focusing so much time on menial tasks the control freak often finds themselves short on time and having to accomplish what they set out to do in the remaining time left to them. This brings on a perpetual state of freaking out and worrying that there’s not enough time to get everything done. This state can bring a lot of undue stress on both the control freak and those around them.
  4. Super bargain hunters: While not a bad trait there’s something to be said about the people who spend hours researching prices across dozens of websites to save a dollar or two. These are the same people who will drive an hour to save 5 cents on a gallon of gas. The control freak often experiences a distortion on the value of time and cannot see that their actions cost more than they save.

It may be helpful to note that any of these qualities can be beneficial in the proper amount, it’s the obsessive focus on them that contributes to the actions of the control freak. Now, I know I just spent a couple minutes telling you how these traits are bad, so how can I say they are also beneficial? Let’s look at them again.

  1. Need to control other’s perceptions of them: Wanting someone to have a better view of you is not a bad thing. It can help you to better understand yourself and the person you’re attempting to persuade. Sometimes the only way to improve a relationship is through changing another’s perception of you.
  2. Spend too much time on menial task: Sometimes the details are key. It’s true that selecting an appropriate font can send a better message. The key to making sure this works is to properly budget your time for fine tuning and tweaking the project you’re working on. This will help you to avoid the following issue.
  3. Existing in a perpetual freak out: While no one wants to feel like their freaking out, and no one wants to be around someone like that, there is nothing wrong with feeling the pressure of a situation and acting accordingly to make sure that tasks get done. Spending too much time in this freak out, however, is not healthy and can lead to higher stress and all the stress related diseases we keep hearing about.
  4. Super bargain hunters: We all want to save money, and shopping around for a better deal is a good way to do it. Some of us are not as good at this as we may want to be, and others are way too obsessed with it. Keep in mind that every minute you spend doing something is taking away from the cost benefit of doing it. You may save two dollars on a purchase, but it took you an hour to find it, sign up for the new credit card, and get your purchase through. An hour of work and hassle netted you a two-dollar return.

We all have a touch of the control freak in us on a personal level. The ability to see our actions objectively and act against the urges to obsess over control can help us get through the day.

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