Cure For Control Freaks
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Understanding control freaks can make your life and their life a lot better.
Control freaks have a terrible life and make life terrible for those they live with, marry or work with. Women, Men and supervisors and even children have control freak problems that seem to be difficult to cure, but are curable. If you are married to one and try to leave you may end up dead if you donít know how to treat/change their thinking. Many control freaks end up in prison.
First here is why you have so many relationship problems and then I will explain how to solve them.
Dealing With Control Freaks
by Thomas J. Schumacher, Psy.D., R-CSW
Most all of you have had to contend with control freaks. These are those people who insist on having their way in all interactions with you. They wish to set the agenda and decide what it is you will do and when you will do it. You know who they are Ė they have a driving need to run the show and call the shots. Lurking within the fabric of the conversation is the clear threat that if you do not accede to their needs and demands, they will be unhappy.
Certainly, itís natural to want to be in control of your life. But when you have to be in control of the people around you as well, when you literally canít rest until you get your way Ö you have a personality disorder. While itís not a diagnostic category found in the DSM IV (the therapistís bible for diagnostic purposes) an exaggerated emphasis on control is part of a cluster of behaviors that can be labeled as compulsive generally characterized by perfectionism, orderliness, workaholic tendencies, an inability to make commitments or to trust others and a fear of having their flaws exposed. Deep down, these people are terrified of being vulnerable. They believe they can protect themselves by staying in control of every aspect of their lives, including their relationships. Control freaks take the need and urge to control to new heights, causing others stress so they can maintain a sense of order. These people are riddled with anxiety, fear, insecurity, and anger. Theyíre very critical of themselves their lover and their friends, but underneath that perfect outfit and great body is a mountain of unhappiness. Letís look at what makes control freaks tick, what makes you want to explode, and some ways to deal with them.
The Psychological Dynamics That Fuel a Control Freak
The need to control is almost always fueled by anxiety Ė though control freaks seldom recognize their fears. At work, they may worry about failure. In relationships, they may worry about not having their needs met. To keep this anxiety from overwhelming them, they try to control the people or things around them. They have a hard time with negotiation and compromise and they canít stand imperfection. Needless to say, they are difficult to live with, work with and/or socialize with.
Bottom Line: In the process of being controlling, their actions say, ďYouíre incompetentĒ and ďI canít trust you.Ē (this is why you hate them). Remember, the essential need of a control freak is to defend against anxiety. Although it may not be apparent to you when they are making their demands, these individuals are attempting to cope with fairly substantial levels of their own anxiety. The control freak is usually fighting off a deep-seated sense of their own helplessness and impotence. By becoming proficient at trying to control other people, they are warding off their own fear of being out of control and helpless. Controlling is an anxiety management tool.
Unfortunately for you, the control freak has a lot at stake in prevailing. While trying to hold a conversation and engage them in some way, their emotional stakes involve their own identity and sense of well-being. Being in control gives them the temporary illusion and sense of calmness. When they feel they are prevailing, you can just about sense the tension oozing out of them. The control freak is very frightened. Part of their strategy is to induce that fear in you with the subtle or not so subtle threat of loss. Since the emotional stakes are so high for them, they need to assert themselves with you to not feel so helpless. To relinquish control is tantamount to being victimized and overwhelmed. When a control freak cannot control, they go through a series of rapid phases. First they become angry and agitated, then they become panicky and apprehensive, then they become agitated and threatening, and then they lapse into depression and despair.
Control freaks are also caught in the grip of a repetition compulsion. They repeat the same pattern again and again in their attempt to master their anxiety and cope with the trauma they feel. Characteristically, the repetition compulsion takes on a life of its own. Rather than feel calmer and therefore have a diminished need to be controlling, their behavior locks them into the same pattern in an insatiable way. Successes at controlling do not register on their internal scoreboard. They have to fight off the same threat again and again with increasing rigidity and intransigence.
Two Types of Control Freaks
Type 1 Control Freaks: The Type 1 control freak is strictly attempting to cope with their anxiety in a self absorbed way. They just want to feel better and are not even very aware of you. You will notice and hear their agitation and tentativeness. They usually do not make much eye contact when they are talking to you.
Type 2 Control Freaks: The Type 2 control freak is also trying to manage their anxiety but they are very aware of you as opposed to the Type 1 control freak. The Type 2 needs to diminish you to feel better. Their mood rises as they push you down. They do not just want to prevail; they also need to believe that they have defeated you. They need you to feel helpless so they will not feel helpless. Their belief is that someone must feel helpless in any interchange and they desperately need to control you.
Some Coping Strategies
1) Stay as calm as you can. Control freaks tend to generate a lot of tension in those around them. Try to maintain a comfortable distance so that you can remain centered while you speak with them. Try to focus on your breathing. As they get more agitated and demanding, just breath slowly and deeply. If you stay calm and focused, this often has the effect of relaxing them as well. If you get agitated you have joined the battle on their terms.
2) Speak very slowly. Again the normal tendency is to gear up and speak rapidly when dealing with a control freak. This will only draw you into the emotional turmoil and you will quickly be personalizing what is occurring.
3) Be very patient. Control freaks need to feel heard. In fact, they do not have that much to say. They have a lot to say if you engage them in a power struggle. If you just listen carefully and ask good questions that indicate that you have heard them, then they will quickly resolve whatever the issue is and calmly move on.
4) Pay attention to your induced reactions. What is this person trying to emotionally induce in you? Notice how you feel when speaking with them. It will give you important clues as to how to deal with them more effectively and appropriately.
5) Initially, let them control the agenda. But you control the pacing. If you stay calm and speak slowly, you will be in command of the pacing of the conversation.
6) Treat them with kindness. Within most control freaks is a good measure of paranoia. They are ready to get angry and defend against what they perceive is a controlling hostile world. If you treat them with respect and kindness, their paranoia cannot take root. You will jam them up.
7) Make demands on them-- especially when dealing with the type 2 control freak. Ask them to send you something or do something for you. By asking something of them, you will be indicating that you are not intimidated or diminished by their behavior patterns.
8) Remember an old but poignant Maxim: ďThose who demand the most often give the least.Ē
Keep in mind that control freaks are not trying to hurt you Ė theyíre trying to protect themselves. Remind yourself that their behavior toward you isnít personal; the compulsion was there before they met you, and it will be their forever unless they get help. Understand that they are skilled manipulators, artful and intimidating, rehearsed debaters and excellent at distorting reality.
In order to not feel degraded, humiliated and have your sense of self and self worth assaulted, you need to avoid being bulldozed by a controlling lover, boss or friend. When you are caught up in a truly destructive/controlling attachment, the best response may be to walk out. You have to understand that whatever you do will have a limited effect. These people are angry and afraid to let go of you. Hence, it is your job to let go of them, protect yourself in the processÖ and grow.
I got on the internet and found a lot more on this mental problem that causes so many divorces and so much unhappiness. Read on, itís in this report
If you know someone who is a control freak give them a copy of this report.
I had a plant superintendent who was a control freak, a monster. In a few weeks of arriving at the plant I worked in: he demoted 3 general foremen and treated me like shit.
I cured him. I wrote down my feeling on what he was doing. I called a meeting with just him and me where I told him how harmful his scolding and degrading was. I told him he was doing was strictly for his extremely pleasurable adrenalin highs. I gave Him a copy. I told him if he wasnít satisfied with my engineering he could give a copy to my boss. I would willingly move to some other manufacturing plant area.
He gave me back a copy the day he retired saying he had read it many times and he was sure it made things for him and others much better. I noticed he definitely changed for the better at meetings and after leaving our area.
A friend has had serious relationship problems with women and even his son.
He told me of a wonderful, intelligent, rich, kind woman he had met at the Cultural Center and that he had been dating daily for over 3 weeks. They had gotten very close in fact they had gone to bed for wonderful sex. He was extremely happy.
I watched Dr Phil on television and what he said about control freaks fit my friendís problems exactly. Dr Phil is on TV every week day at 5 oíclock. He is good. He explained that there is a way of getting over the relationship problems youíre having that can lead a life with much happiness for you and others.
Three days later I gave him the following letter, hoping it would keep him from screwing up again, so he/her could stay happy,
I was too late. I found he had blown up on her, scolded her severely and the relation was over. He had said he would pay for all the meals while dating.
He said "she wanted to have me go some place and I blew my top; Iím too old change and go along with that crap." He took what I gave him not expecting what I had written.
He later stopped by and I gave him and ear full and he told me the real reason "She didn't even offer to pay for some of the gasoline." I asked, "Had you asked her to pay for gas." He said No! I replied "how was she to know you wanted her to pay for some of the gas. Instead of really communicating with her you opted for an adrenalin high by blowing up.
He thanked me and said he may try getting back with her, as she has called about every other day sense they broke up.
Well today he came for a visit and to get airline tickets to visit her where she live in the summer in Toronto. He got back with her and they went out for dinner etc. They are very happy and he has talked to her children who called him. He thanked me very much for the information I had given him. I gave him another ear full on why he couldn't ever afford to blow up again.
Thought you might enjoy reading some of what I gave him.
I feel you and I get along very well. You seem to have told me things you havenít told others. You donít seem to have many close friends and your relationship with some people isnít good, in fact I would have to say it is very bad.
Your first wife left you, taking $100,000 with her and she went to your sons and later died. Millieís relation kicked you out of the hospital, when she was dying even though you had lived with her for 9 years. You didnít find out that she had died until days after the funeral. Your son and you do not get along and youíve cut him out of your will. You severely scolded Millieís friend who came to visit you and she left in a huff. You scolded and slammed the door in the face of Joyce, our very charming, warm lady friend.
Your problem is you feel you must be in control. It is hard to get over these feeling and just let go. That is what you must do to have a good long lasting wonderful relationship.
It is very hard to do if you have always felt wonderful adrenalin highs from demanding control of others through scolding, and degrading.
The first thing you should understand is that you are not going to get out of this world alive and as Ben Franklin said if you donít want to be forgot before you rot either be some one great or have someone write something about you. You are not going to have either happen to you so cool it. Live and let live.
I let things I donít agree on ride often and have wonderful relationships. My wife and I donít always agree but that does not upset me or her. She is a devout Catholic and I am a devout Atheist. We discuss religious issues often and openly but never demanding. She buys chili powder in little packages even though we have a big plastic bottle full of it. I kindly mentioned this wastes money. She says she likes it her way so it is not worth fighting about.
I find there is a hell of a lot of things not worth fighting about, scolding about or getting upset about. Before you do any of scolding, think of the harm it can do to your relationship, ask your self is it worth it ? This will hopefully cause you to let a lot of things ride.
My first wife, her brother and mother were somewhat control freaks. Her father, other brother and sister were the opposite. It could be genetic but that is no excuse for letting it continue destroying your relationships and happiness. Every so often I would tell my first wife that her scolding, complaining was taking the fun out of life and then she would stop it for a few weeks. So I know control freaks can control themselves
One article said:
∑ Getting over being a control freak is a lot like the twelve step program you first have to accept that you are a control freak and it is harming you a whole lot of others.
∑ Accept that itís you, not them that are harming relationships. You have had far too many failed relationships for it to be them. You have scolded and tried to be to controlling and it has made life miserable.
∑ You have harmed others and should make amends to Joyce our friend to, Millieís friend, to your son etc. Write them a letter, or call but just do something in the way to let them know you as a control freak hopefully wonít do it again.
∑ That there is a hell of a lot of things not worth getting upset about or trying to control.
∑ Know you can be flexible without having problems and that this will help you survive much better.
∑ Being a control freak isnít about doing what is right; it is about doing things out of fear and insecurity.
∑ Praise yourself when you donít blow up and still have a friend that you would have lost by the way you had always acted.
Here are some other articles
Need for control has its roots in insecurity. Confident people think the world is humming along smoothly enough and they can take care of their personal slice of the pie. That'd be enough to keep themselves happy, so why not let everyone else go about their business? It's the insecure people that fear the future. They fear that others are coming to get them, or are destroying the environment, or are decaying the moral fabric of society. Those other folks need to be stopped. Their decisions aren't as wise as your decisions would be. You need control over them. You need to tell them what to do or they'll screw it up. You need to regulate them via money, or force, or suspension of their freedoms, or guiltÖ or of the threat of any of those things. Fear is the motivation behind grabbing control, and fear is the primary means towards keeping control. The reward is wonderful adrenalin rush followed by a loss of an easy going relationship.
Control Freak is what Doctor Phil Called the problem.
By Dr. Les Parrott
One of the most common complaints I receive when discussing relationship problems is that one of the partners has a controlling personality. A controlling person has a tremendous need to be in charge, set the agenda, and dictate opinions. In the past terms like "bossy" were used in a lighthearted manner to refer to the domineering personalities we all encounter. But if you've ever been in a relationship with someone who qualifies as a true Control Freak, you know there is nothing amusing about it.
A confirmed control freak is not interested in true discussion. It's as if they have all the truth, and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. They feel no need to examine both sides of any issue and their mind is made up before they even hear that there is another side to an issue. They circle the wagons to protect their opinions and deny even an effort at clarification, balance, and understanding, to say nothing of building community with people who do not see things exactly as they do.
These people can have a lot of trouble getting their romantic relationships off the ground, because their thinking is too restricted, their minds too closed, for any future relationship dialogue. Ultimately, this causes them to close their hearts to people who would make a loving partner.
Bob, for example, was a 45-year old man who wanted to find a long-term relationship. He joined eharmony.com, an online relationship matching service and was matched with Julie, a woman who met most of his preferences-she was 39, wanted to have children, shared his religious denomination, and lived a short distance from him.
Most importantly, Julie liked Bob and soon was sending him several messages a day. But then, one day, they reached an impasse-though they were both committed Christians, Julie felt that women should be allowed to become ministers, but Bob disagreed. Though neither was headed for the clergy, and this was only a theoretical disagreement, Bob couldn't let it go. Refusing to see her side of the issue or even allow her to have a different opinion, he badgered her again and again about this one issue, telling her why she was wrong and letting it take up most of the messages he was sending her.
Angered by her "inability" to see his way of thinking, he eventually ceased communicating altogether. Rather than concentrate on all the remarkable similarities in their personalities and values, as well as his good fortune in finding someone who truly accepted and liked him, he let one small issue cheat him out of a wonderful relationship.
At the root of all controlling behavior is an attempt to tame our anxiety-not to dominate another person. That's why control is so tempting.
It is intensely seductive. Control tickles our psyches with a sense of peace and calm. It provides us with a delicious taste of power over everything that seems beyond real control, namely time and other people. As a result, many of us end up fighting simply to achieve that powerful control.
For the dating control freak, compromise in order to have a good time with the person we are dating just doesn't seem as gratifying as an out-and-out victory, and that makes it easy to forget that our conversational triumph represents the defeat of something more important-communication, empathy, and the kindling of love.
Living with a control freak can be very dangerous. I could give a very long list of control freaks who have murdered or ended up in prison for other reasons related to their controlling. Most married control freaks I know ended up divorced.
Do give this to anyone you think needs to understand why they are control freaks so they can hopefully get over it.
Do check out Dr Phil's Ten life strategies for a good life
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