12 Signs Of A Control Freak – Can You Identify With Them?

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Being a control freak is more than just the need to control one’s life. It is obsessive behaviour that is extremely detrimental in all aspects of one’s life. Here are certain definite signs of a control freak and tips on how to stop being one.

It is great to have control over your tasks and yourself. Knowing what you want and seeing an image of yourself is a beautiful thing, as long as it is kept in check. Once the need to manage every little action of yourself and even the people around you goes out of control, you step towards being control freaks. And the signs of a control freak are visible to everyone except you.

Living with a control freak is not easy. Psychotherapist Aman Bhonsle says, “Before getting into a relationship you should watch out for some relationship red flags that are indicative of behaviour of a person that shows that in future he or she could display abusive or controlling behaviour.

“A red flag is also a dead giveaway that the person lacks manners, empathy and kindness that would have an impact on your relationship with the person. But the red flags can be deal-breakers in a relationship and if ignored could lead to serious consequences. If the red flags show you signs of a control freak then take those into account before you embark on a relationship.”

12 Signs Of A Control Freak

Control freaks are people who have an obsessive need to have power over every person, every task and every situation. When the obsessive need to control is overpowering, the person ends up being clinically diagnosed with a problem.

They get obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and their anxiety shoots to an extent that they feel the need to micromanage everything.

If you are not sure where you stand on the spectrum of being a control freak, here listed are some signs of a control freak. If you are able to relate to a lot of them, you need to take active measures to stop it.

So what are the signs of a control freak? We have listed 12.

1. Everything has to happen according to their schedule

Generally, people are okay with minor changes in their plans because as we all know, life is unpredictable. Well, not for a control freak. A control freak cannot stand any changes in their plan, no matter what.

They show no sense of empathy for anybody who ruined their schedule. One of the major signs of a control freak is their inability to adjust with anything.

One of the prominent controlling personality traits is to get mad and throw tantrums at the slightest change in their schedule. They do not seem to care about how inconvenient it could get for someone else.

If they want the meeting to be held at 8 in the morning, they would not care even if a colleague has to commute for 2 hours early in the morning to be there.

2. They do not like delegating tasks

Control freaks tend to believe that nobody can do a task as well as they can. Even if the work is piling up, they would rather be overwhelmed with the work and throw a tantrum about how nobody has good work ethics, but they will not simply trust their co-workers with the job that needs to be done. They have major trust issues with anything and everything.

This stems from psychological restlessness which coerces the control freak to believe that the tasks might not be accomplished how they want it to be, resulting in them choosing to overload themselves with work instead of delegating it to other people.

3. Signs of a control freak include being extremely moody

Control freaks have a million uptight thoughts going on in their heads at any given point of time. Because of these unceasing thoughts, these control freaks are constantly frustrated. The frustration results in anger, obsession and irritability. These are absolute control freak personality traits.

You can spot a control freak just by observing their behaviour throughout the day. Every human being explores several emotions in 24 hours, but for a control freak, the emotions of frustration, anger and irritation are the most dominant.

Being extremely moody is one of the most apparent signs of a control freak. This really becomes detrimental in an intimate relationship when a partner can’t fathom how swiftly the mood would change – usually for the worse.

4. They lash out at the most minor of inconveniences

Annoyed couple
Minor changes can trigger them

Nobody likes changes and nobody is fond of going through inconveniences. However, when can anybody ever come across someone who said that their day was flawless, with no inconvenience and was absolutely perfect?

Almost never. As humans, we try to deal with the minor inconveniences that take place during the day and move on. But a control freak personality cannot do that. They keep mulling over the whys and hows.

Sadly, the same is not the case with a control freak. They cannot accept the fact that minor problems are a part of everyday life. They wouldn’t hold back from screaming at the cab driver for arriving late, or at the waiter for bringing their coffee not warm enough, or at their partner for not ironing the clothes the way they wanted.

Control freaks in relationships are a huge difficulty to deal with and this lashing out only makes them more distant from everybody else, especially their significant others. And mind you, they do not hesitate to say hurtful things.

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5. They are extremely critical in nature

Nothing is ever good enough for control freaks. They can never be satisfied with their lives, but more importantly, they are never satisfied with the lives of everyone around them. They are always complaining, cribbing, criticising.

Control freaks tend to criticise everything and everybody. They will be critical of their friends, their food choices, the clothes they wear, and anything that their partner does for them. Living with a control freak is an extremely hard task.


In the process of critiquing, they push their friends and partners away. It is never advisable to constantly feel the need to manage everybody’s lives.

This critical behaviour is the biggest red flag of control freaks in relationships and it wouldn’t be long that they would be left alone because they could never be happy with anybody.

6. They always have to know every little thing

Call it gossiping, fear of missing out (FOMO), or an excuse to control someone’s thought process, one of the biggest signs of a control freak is that they have to know everything. Literally, every single detail.

This need to know the tiniest detail of any information acts as a catalyst. It gives them power to control the surrounding according to their convenience and also the ability to manipulate other people in order to control them.

Controlling personality traits include the need to have the kind of power over other people’s lives in a way that makes the control freak superior to them. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you find a control freak asking more questions than necessary about their partner’s friends, what they do, where they go and even become as shallow as checking their phone.

7. They always have to have the last word

Healthy discussion? What’s that? A healthy discussion does not exist in the dictionary of a control freak. Any point brought up in front of them will inevitably turn into a massive argument and the argument will not end until the other person gives up and they have the final word in it. Conflict resolution is simply not their thing.

Couple discussing
They always have the last word

A control freak cannot accept critique on themselves. They would much rather lash out instead of listening to someone explain something to them.

They think of themselves as ‘perfectionists’ and insufferable know-it-all, which is why they cannot have a sensible discussion with someone. The argument makes them feel superior and the power to control the argument feeds their nature.

8. They never admit they are wrong

What are the signs of a control freak? Control freaks believe that all that they know is right and they cannot go wrong in any aspect since being perfectionists is one of aforementioned established sign of a control freak.

This mentality of “I am always right” refrains a control freak from even thinking “I have control issues”, and this thought never lets them admit they are wrong.

Even if a control freak would realise their wrong doing or the fact that they made a mistake, they will still not spell it out loud. They will not apologise.

Instead, control freaks in relationship would gaslight and make it seem like everything is the other person’s fault. They would manipulate their sentences in a manner that would eventually prove them right, even when they know they are in the wrong.

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9. They cannot work in a team

Control freaks and teamwork are the two same sides of a magnet. They repel each other. Control freaks simply cannot work hand-in-hand with a team. The reason for this thought is because they do not like delegating and they do not think anybody else can do a good job.

However, on the contrary, even the team members cannot work with a control freak. Nobody likes working with an overtly critical person who believes only he/she knows the best and someone who loves exercising uncalled for power over everybody.

Therefore, control freaks don’t work with teams and the teams never welcome control freaks.

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10. They use ‘constructive criticism’ to have their ways

Even control freaks have different categories. There are certain control freaks who would outright criticise people with no empathy, no compassion. Even in public. The other type of control freaks would veil their negative criticism with words like “love”, “care”, and “constructive criticism”.

In an office scenario, a control freak would say things like “this is a good project, but I think you should do it this way”, until the entire project is changed to how they like it.

Control freaks in relationships are no less either. They would use the term “constructive criticism” to break the self-esteem of their partner until the partner gives in and the control freaks have their way.

11. The finances are always their department

Handling one’s finances is a great thing, micromanaging other’s is not. Control freaks would not only take charge of their financial situation, they also control their significant other’s financial condition too.

They are unabashedly vocal about how their partner should spend money and how much. So event if their partner earns a handsome salary they wouldn’t have the freedom to decide how they want to spend it. They often know the account details of their partner and keep them in check, too. They ask for every detail of their partner’s spending habit.

Finance problem
Finance is always their department

They decide what expenditures are worthy and which ones are not. This leads to countless arguments in a relationship, eventually resulting in a split.

But while the relationship lasts, the control freak finds the need to know the detail of every penny of their significant other. This is one of the reasons why living with a control freak can become a nightmare.

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12. They tend to be perfectionists

Control freaks are perfectionists. This perfectionism does not shoot from the demand for quality it rather branches out because control freaks are internally very concerned about what other people think of them.

Control freaks know that they are labelled as control freaks. They mould their personality in a manner that they continue to be known as one. The desire to perform well and the terrifying thought of not being able to perform well drives this aspect of a control freak.

This is the same reason why they expect perfection in everything they do and they also expect the same from everyone around them.

How To Stop Being A Control Freak?

While reading the signs of a control freak, were you pausing in between thinking “Whoa! I have control issues”? Fret not. It is great that you have addressed your nature and are willing to work towards changing. Here are some tips on how to stop being a control freak

1. By delegating more tasks

It may seem like a difficult task, but no change is ever easy anyway. The best way to stop being a control freak is to begin delegating more tasks. Control freaks need to begin believing in other people’s work ethics and trust them with doing a good job.

By delegating more work, the control freak not only builds trust of other people, but also has their workload reduced.

The overwhelming number of tasks they have to do because they want things to happen their way is extremely exhausting. Delegating more gradually reduces the controlling nature and is beneficial to everybody.

Related Reading: How to cope when your partner is a control freak?

2. By trusting others

Nobody prefers to be friends with a control freak, because they never trust anyone and they are constantly critical.

To stop being a control freak, one needs to let go of their guards and begin trusting other people. They need to realise that everybody has a purpose and they’re not evil. Insecurities need to be dealt with.

The only way control freaks can make a relationship work is by trusting their partners and making efforts to build trust in a relationship.

Believing that their partner is faithful to them and are well aware of how to manage their tasks, their routine and their money would truly liberate control freaks from holding on to the relationship really tight. It will flow smoothly by itself.

3. By exploring one’s feelings

If there is one answer to “How to stop being a control freak”, it is this: explore the feelings. Control freaks are so involved in their own heads, they stop paying any heed to the beauty of their surroundings and the surge of emotions that crave to be explored.

Exploring the feelings is like taking a deep breath of fresh air in a valley of green trees, something one can never understand if they are stuck in noisy traffic full of black clouds of pollution.

The best way to stop being a control freak is by understanding every emotion they feel, be it anger, frustration, happiness or excitement. Understanding why the emotion of frustration is dominant and delving into the psychology of anger would really give a control freak the ability to step out of those emotions. The only requirement here is the willingness to change.

4. By accepting everybody’s imperfections

Nobody is perfect. Not even the control freaks, no matter how hard they try to be the perfectionists. The need to control arises out of the need to have everything around a control freak to be perfect, including human beings.

Unhappy couple
Acceptance is the key

By accepting the fact that everyone has imperfections, yet every single person is beautiful in their own manner, the control freak can let go of the desperate need to mould everything to perfection. They can then begin living a life of appreciating the little beauties and ignoring the imperfections.

They also need to be less critical and harsh with their words, then they can be better in their intimate relationships.

5. By practicing yoga

Yoga is beneficial in more than one ways, the reason why many celebrities are endorsing it. Yoga helps a person have more control over their breath and their body, resulting in more control over their emotions. Control freaks need to have power over their emotions. The power they really need is the power to stop the overwhelming feelings of frustration and irritability.

By practicing yoga, the control freaks will begin to feel more at peace. They will remain calm and handle their situations in a composed manner, instead of throwing tantrums and being critical.

6. By seeking professional help

Addressing oneself as a control freak is a major step in how to stop being a control freak. However, it is not easy to let go of all the control personality traits all at once. These control freak personality traits form the human being that control freaks are and changing all of them is difficult. Anger management is one aspect that control freaks need to work upon.

To stop being a control freak, one can choose to seek professional help as well. A professional therapist can untie the thousand knots in a control freak’s head that act like bumpers in their process of being a better human being. The exercises given by counsellors can truly hasten the process of not being a control freak anymore.

It is hard living with someone who has control of personality traits. Signs of a control freak act as red flags to everybody around them and sadly, control freaks are left all alone to fend for themselves. Recognising oneself as a control freak is a major step, and it is possible to stop being control freaks with some effort. If they are able to accept their own and everybody else’s flaws and work towards being better people that’s half the job done.


1. Is being a control freak a personality disorder?

All human beings like a bit of control on the people around them or on the circumstances, but when controlling becomes an obsession then that can be termed as a personality disorder. A control freak can end up mentally abusing an intimate partner or make life hell for colleagues or subordinates.

2. What causes someone to be a control freak?

Need for perfection, insecurity, need to have a power over someone, festering anger or frustration, makes a person a control freak. Sometimes toxic parents are also responsible for a persons controlling nature.

3. How do you deal with a control freak in a relationship?

Living with a control freak is a hard task. But with patience and by creating healthy boundaries one can deal with a control freak in an intimate relationship.

4. Do control freaks know they are controlling?

Most often they know they are controlling. Since they believe they are always right and are usually critical of others, they think that their controlling ways are good for others.

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