How to Become Less of a Control Freak

If you have noticed yourself becoming a control freak in all, or even some areas of your life and you wish to learn how to let go, follow these steps to become more cooperative and accepting when you need to.


  1. Image titled Become Less of a Control Freak Step 1
    Start with a foundation of strong self-esteem. Any approach at giving up control should come from self-awareness and a desire for well-being, rather than from anything else. See esteem links below for more information. Any attempt to change at the core in this way, without self-esteem, will lead to continual setbacks and depression. It's not easy!
  2. Image titled Become Less of a Control Freak Step 2
    Study literature and art that treat the topic of leadership through inspiration (rather than control). Writings such as Ben-Hur, the Koran, the Old and New Testaments, and Leadership and Self-Deception are excellent sources. Movies might include "Bridge over the River Kwai", "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas", "Dead Poets Society", and "The Cowboys". Dance forms would include most Ballroom Dance styles, including the West Coast Swing, the Waltz, and the Cha-Cha; plays might include "Man of La Mancha (Don Quixote)". Even "Star Trek" can show you inspiring leaders who aren't afraid to delegate critical responsibilities. There's a lot out there.
  3. Image titled Become Less of a Control Freak Step 3
    As you learn, begin changing your thoughts to match those models you've encountered.
  4. Image titled Become Less of a Control Freak Step 4
    When you find yourself engaging in controlling behavior, look into yourself to see what motivated your actions. Was it fear? Was it a lack of trust? A big part of control is a fear of vulnerability. As you learn to open yourself up, you will find the connections with others that you have been missing.
  5. Image titled Become Less of a Control Freak Step 5
    Recognize that a lot of controlling behaviors are a result of insecurity. The need to take over, to be the one in control is often rooted in the idea that others are not as capable as you. Honestly evaluating your insecurity level will be crucial in gaining mastery over controlling attitudes.
  6. Image titled Become Less of a Control Freak Step 6
    Sometimes you just have to relax. Let things go and move on. Nothing is going to be perfect, so you don't have to try for everything.
  7. Image titled Become Less of a Control Freak Step 7
    Think about how others feel when you boss them around. Horrible. Like they're a child, and you're the adult, and you're in charge. Getting told what to do is no fun; think about that. It makes you come off as bossy and sort of mean.


  • Remember that controlling people are often just afraid of something - that's what drives the control urge. Wives, husbands, etc. are afraid that unless they constantly tell their spouse what to do, what they want, how to treat them, etc., somehow, their treatment will not be all they hoped for. The reality is that the treatment one receives from one's spouse or friends is much more powerful when freely given than when you insist. Acknowledge your fears and try to let them go.
  • If you have a significant other, or someone else who is close to you, telling them of your desire to change will help quell any uncertainty they may have about what you are trying to do; people can react quite unpredictably if you start changing your attitude and they don't know why. Try using phrases like: "I think I argue with you too much." or, "I feel like I need to pay attention more to what you want or need." or, "I'm going to try things a little differently, okay?"
  • Tell the other people in your life that you are trying to be less controlling, and enlist their help in identifying your triggers. When do you feel the need to control? What sets you off in that direction? Is it a fast-approaching deadline coupled with the fear you may not meet it? This may result in you taking over rather than letting your co-workers carry their parts of the load. Identifying your triggers will help you avoid controlling behaviors.


  • Control freaks have more health problems later in life.
  • Remember: letting go of control at appropriate times does not mean you are sacrificing either your personal identity or your self-esteem

Article Info

Categories: Creating Life Balance