Have you ever been called controlling?


People with anxiety can often be called controlling, obsessive or bossy and being called a control freak is now part of our everyday language.

Whilst you may have elements of all or some of this in the way you behave, there’s an important reason behind it.

You may feel actively anxious, or you may be prone to anxiety but feel mostly ok.

Regardless of your anxiety status, you’ll spend a lot of your day keeping your world and everyone in it, safe.

When I talk about feeling safe, everyone will interpret this differently. For some, safety will be looking after elderly parents, steering kids in the right direction and ensuring that everyone is happy. For others, safety will be about paying bills on time, and keeping their relationship together.

The problem with safety behaviour is that it can quickly get out of hand.

What starts off as steering the kids in a better direction, can quickly be perceived as controlling and critical parenting. I understand it comes from the best of intentions, but once safety behaviour gets a bit out of control (!) it becomes the opposite of keeping everyone safe.

If you know you’ve a tendency to do this, decide where your boundary is and stick to it. When you’ve hit your boundary, throw the rest out to fate. You may be pushing your teenager to go to university rather than do an apprenticeship in their best interests, but there’s a limit to how much you can push and a point at which you let them make their own decisions and leave the rest to fate.

And next time you get called bossy, feel free to use my response, “I’m not bossy, I just make better decisions”