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You're a Controller if....

Updated on January 2, 2015

Why Do You Need to Control Others?

In today's breakneck speedy world, the subject of controlling personalities is often ignored. The operative behind every world class leader is the ability to influence, not control others. Those who are born leaders know the unusual sense of self-confidence in their ability to be influential.

Is it Influence or Control?

There are controlling personalities in both genders. Men tend to get the worst of this label since men are expected to be "heads of households," "business leaders," "politicians" and essentially the well from which all strength flows. Don't think for one minute women deny themselves the opportunities to be in control of husbands, co-workers and even, their own social circle of friends. Is that really what life is all about? Controlling others? There's a difference between control and influence. Control is the mechanism by which an individual commandeers another or a situation. Influence is the subtle use of self-confidence to support a basic premise or operative. We are not influenced by the kind of control exhibited by controlling dictators like Hitler, Stalin or Mussolini. We are influenced by the magnitude of another individual's unique skills, talents or intelligence. Thus, control of others is destructive. Influence by others inspiring.

You're a Controller If...

There are certain clues to how much control over others any individual exerts. Imagine a scenario where the world is perfect. No wars, no hunger, no disasters, no financial ruin. Everything perfectly in its place and a place for perfectly everything. The need to control others is generally precipitated by a need for perfection. A world that is in perfect order according to personal dictates. The clues to know if you're a controller include:

. A desire to inflict personal will on a significant other

. The desire to maintain personal rules over every situation

. The need for others to be followers, never leaders

. The inability to accept superiority in others

. The need to reframe or refocus all attention on oneself

. Demanding perfection from everyone but yourself

. Possessing unreasonable expections from others

. Inability to admit the right of others to exercise their human free will

. Refusal to accept decisions made by others

Control Freaks Breed Rebels

Back in the 1960s, two words describe dictatorial personalities, "control freak." To be a control freak simply meant insisting others do as they are "told." Little wonder that spawned a generation of rebellious young adults unwilling to forfeit their right to free will all humans are born with. Parenting of these young adults was a matter in those days of "doing as they are told," never questioning authority and generally being docile, sheep who followed their parental leaders. The problem with that began the day these young adults were born. At the precise moment a child is born and draws its first breath, it is a unique individual not like any other. As such, that brand of individuality causes problems for controlling personalities. Individuality is a death knell for hopes of taking control. Unfortunately, these parents preferred, "Do as I say, not as I do," to their own detriment. They completely ignored that all children follow most by parental example. So, smoking, drinking, gambling, overreating and other personal habits of parents simply didn't match parental epistles and gospels to the contrary.

The Need to Control Others

Boomers are most often demonized for their "free" attitudes regarding others, mostly by controlling personalities who much preferred to keep a tight rein at all times on others..."in" their households or "out." There are basically two types of controllers, the overtly controlling personality and the more subtle covert controller.

At home, the overt controller has the spotlight all the time, every time. At work, the overt controller appears the "over achiever" never satisfied with his/her accomplishments or that of others. Nothing to these controllers is ever "good enough." They always know better. The battle lines are drawn by them and they will make the work environment next to impossible to develop any sense of teamwork. The controller only needs the team to do his/her bidding. In social circles, the overt controller typifies the role of superiority in fashion, conversation and grasp of the spotlight. Behind the facade is massive, deeply hidden insecurity.

The subtle covert controller is likely more dangerous to others. The facade behind which they hide is playing the victim, sociopathy nothwithstanding as the basic mental flaw. The subtle controller is a master in the use of the "right" words to achieve their desired results: controlling others with least personal effort expended. Signs of the covert controller are long silences, sudden moodiness and/or unusual, precisely calculated generosity. The covert controller only gives to "get." The basic operative of the covert controller is a finely honed ability to calculate their behaviors in a manner they know is unpredictable. They use the predictability of others as a weapon to get, never to give. At home, the covert controller may appear agreeable, docile or indifferent. They long ago implemented the practiced art of indifference that cuts into the fabric of relationships in the most hurtful way. Hurt, being the tool by which they gain control. In the workplace, the covert controller has none but to observe others to learn their weaknesses. Preemptive judgments of others is a necessity for the covert controller. By slotting everyone in their midst into compartments, they find it easier to control each individual masterfully. In social circles, the covert controller may appear shy and retiring. Watch their eyes and their expressions as they move from one individual to another. This is their classification operative.

Understanding the Need to Control Others

The first thing to understand about controlling personalities is that it begins from early childhood when the young controller feels the world around them is totally out of their control. As teens, some become social bullies, while others become defiantly contrary. It's no good trying to reason with a controller. They believe only in themselves, narcissism being necessary to maintain control. Any suggestions for change, innovation or progress is generally met with resistance or worse, outright belligerence. In the extreme, this can result in outright physical or mental abuse of others on a regular basis. When drugs, alcohol or other manic obsessive/compulsive disorders are part of this mix, these controllers live in a constant world where battling to maintain control is the second major obsession of their daily lives.

Creating the ideal world for controllers is, of course, not possible. One out of five individuals on the entire planet is a controller. With such a ratio, Controller Worlds collide with regularity. Watching two controllers battle for supremacy is an amusing vignette in human behavior gone awry. It's reminiscent of the Roman arenas where battling for human existence was a daily sport. Roman rulers pitted the most vicious gladiators against each other in the battle to "win." Controllers live an existence based on this same premise of needing desperately to "win" the battle for control of the world around them. What they often miss is the enormous amount of physical and mental effort expended to reach their goals. Would that they spent their efforts on more productive enterprises.

The Most Difficult Thing Controllers Need to Do

If you thought that controllers expend too much of their personal energy on controlling others by various means, imagine that energy in quadruplicate expended on learning to forfeit their need to control?The most difficult thing controllers need to do is to address why they need to control others and to begin to learn to control themselves first and foremost. Old habits die hard as the saying goes. The only protection the rest of the world finds any measure of safety from controllers is to detach from the strings of control posthaste.


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