“Shes such a control freak!” You hear them say. “I’m being a control freak!” We say.
What do you not hear as often? “He’s such a control freak!”. Yet women are consistently referred to as control freaks. In my 27 years I have not heard somebody refer to a male as a control freak. Maybe they have and I just haven’t heard it around me personally but let’s be honest, it’s a term used more for women than men.
But why? We all enjoy control. Control over our lives is what makes us feel good, feel like we’re on the right path, that we’re completely driving our own lives. We all seek it, but sometimes in completely different ways. Some of us seek it by asking those around us to act in a certain way in our language. On the contrary, some of us seek it by not adhering to rules or ideas of others. Some seek it by practicalities such as organisation, planning or lists.
Being organised. What a thrill. Being organised makes space in my mind for life. I don’t have to think about what we’re eating for dinner when I get home after a long day. I don’t have to think about what to wear in the mornings when I’m half asleep because I organise my clothes for the week. It all helps me be as present in the day as possible.
Where it gets hairy is if we’re expecting others to act within our own expectations in order to feel in control. This is when we get dynamic issues and everyone feels a little on edge and usually where the term ‘control freak’ comes from. The idea that someone is placing pressure on us to be a certain way to ensure they’re feeling good. People get mad about it. And so they should. But they could also just communicate to the person who is making them feel like that, rather than labelling them a control freak. Because who is that actually helping? You, sure, for 5 minutes. But it won’t stop the pressure or prevent you from feeling uncomfortable.
There’s then the other side: when somebody doesn’t like the way you are and calls you a control freak because you’re not their cup of tea. That’s OK. You don’t need to be everyones cup of tea, but unless somebody is speaking to you about it seriously, flipping remarks are not helpful and here’s how to manage them:
You need to understand yourself well enough that whenever somebody flippantly says ‘you’re a control freak’ you can smile at them and walk away. Because whatever they are saying about you, isn’t your problem.
We are human and our feelings are important and matter but holding on to other people’s words will never make you feel good. They’ll sit inside you like a shot of whiskey that hasn’t agreed with you and affect your sleep and make the mornings feel horrid. You’ll look at yourself a little differently, you’ll speak with an echo in your mind and never quite feel good enough. And there’s a way to stop it. It’s called accepting that you can’t please others and letting it go.
And by using the term ‘control freak’ about someone instead of speaking to their face, you’re the controlling one there. You’re seeking to feel better about yourself by insisting someone else has a problem and it’s not your best moment.
You’re brilliant, even if you like to write 25 lists a day.
You’re great, especially when you organise your life down to T.
But you’re the best when you’re honest and open to conversation, when you’re accepting of yourself as less than perfect everyday and never settle for any shit. Then you’re you and you’re loved for it.
Love, Am X