Relationships Thursday: The Control Freak!

This piece is a wake up call…Perhaps, are you living with one?… Are you one? Read on from your favourite Relationship Guru Nancy Wyna



One of the most trying situations in a relationship occurs when your partner wishes to control every aspect of your life. If you find your partner determining what you should do, whom you should not meet, even what you should wear and think, you know you have a problem at hand.

Whoever he or she is chances are you feel confused! Am I the problem, is he/she? I must be doing something wrong or why else would he act like an instinctive?

Control freaks are extremely clever and skilled at controlling people and situations to fall in with their wishes. If your partner is one, then most likely you have been brainwashed into believing that you are incapable of thinking or doing anything right on your own and that the only way to do a thing is to do it their way. You may have acceded to your partner’s wishes a few times in the past just to avoid any unpleasantness. But your partner will point this out to you as evidence of your own weakness and continue to bully you to act in accordance with their wishes. So the first step in dealing with a control freak is to understand that you are not weak and incapable.

A control freak lives two different deceits – on the outside they are hugely social people, popular and vivacious in company while only those who know them well are familiar with the aggressive and hurtful nature that lies beneath the surface. This is one of the reasons why your friends and family may not understand your unhappiness in such a relationship and on the contrary praise your partner for the caring person he/she is. Indeed this two-faced mask suits your partner fine since they can use it convince you that nobody else has a problem with who they are and so things are as they should be.

Nevertheless the thing with control freaks is they are likely to take your good nature for weakness. You may give in a couple of times to unreasonable demands like not ever buying certain gifts for their  birthdays, having not noticed their new hair style , or refusing to ask your friends over for a Friday night out . But once you start giving in to take the easy way out, a controlling partner only gets more confident and expert at imposing their wishes on you. Here the only way out is to stand up for yourself. If you think that there is a chance that your partner may still want this relationship to work out in a healthy way, let them know that while you love them very much, you will not tolerate any more bullying.

Your wishes and needs are equally important and they will have to learn to respect them if you are going to be together. You may need to establish clear boundaries on what sort of behavior is and is not acceptable. If you find your partner at least willing to listen, help the process along by being more specific like what sort of personal liberties you expect and what kinds of responsibilities you want to handle on your own. This may be easier said than done since a control freak may have induced such fear and anxiety in you over time that you may no longer believe in your ability to make a difference.

However you should realize that no matter how many times you give in to your partner’s wishes and how understanding you try to be, unless you do something to defend your own self-worth and self-respect, no one else will. Finally it is your call on whether you choose to try and work things out or leave an overbearing, controlling partner.


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