How to handle control freaks
Skynner’s bestselling book on family and marital therapy defines a control freak as:
A perfectionist defending themselves against their own inner vulnerabilities in the belief that if they are not in total control, they risk exposing themselves once more to childhood angst. They often manipulate and pressure others to change, in order to avoid having to change themselves.
It’s a difficult personality to be around. When person is willing to leap over any boundaries we have set in order to bombard us with their truth, it can feel suffocating.
Because they demand intellectual allegiance. There is absolutely no way anyone will dissuade them from their position. And they’re shocked if people go against their way of doing things.
Unfortunately, managing control freaks is an experience for which we are given limited tools and training. In fact, it wasn’t until my thirties that I finally developed the language to express what I was feeling.
But if I could travel back in time, here’s what I would have said to them.
Look, I know you’re never wrong. I can see that you have a zero tolerance policy for other people’s opinions. And I fully understand that if everyone doesn’t do things your way, they’re wrong. But please stop trying to make me feel inadequate about my own views. Please stop trying to heighten my sense of lack and invoke my fear of missing out, just because you’re terrified of being out of control. You cannot convert me to your dogma, and I would appreciate it if you didn’t try.
Just let me be one of the lost ones who missed the boat to bliss.
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What’s your strategy for managing control freaks?
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