How To Be Less Controlling (7 Effective Ways)

There’s a chance you’ll encounter controlling people at some point in your life. Controlling people like to have a say in other people’s lives, just as they want a say in their own.

Wanting to be in charge of the tiniest details of other people’s lives can become abusive at some point. 

To be less controlling, you have to overcome your fears, reassess your control efforts, practice flexibility, and if the situation is getting out of your hand seek professional help. You must also practice acceptance and learn more about your fear and how to deal with it.

Have you ever encountered a controlling person? Or are you the controlling one? Well, then this article is for you. Here, we will tackle ways on how to be less controlling. 

Controlling Behavior: Signs, Causes and How To Deal With It

Controlling Behavior: Signs, Causes and How To Deal With It

Controlling behavior is influenced by a variety of factors. Anxiety and personality disorders are two of the most common. To feel at ease, people with anxiety disorders feel compelled to exert control over their surroundings.

They may not be able to put their trust in anyone else to handle things in the same way they will.

Controlling behaviors can be a symptom of a variety of personality disorders, including histrionic personality, borderline personality, and narcissistic personality, among others.

Only a licensed practitioner is qualified to diagnose these illnesses.

You’re curious about what’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen, and when. When things don’t go according to plan, you get irritated. Here are some of the following signs that you could be a control freak:

Start to become insisting.

Controlling people frequently demand that everyone do things their way, even when it comes to minor issues that are a matter of personal preference.

If you’re wearing something your partner doesn’t like, they may demand that you change. Even if you make it clear that you disagree with them, they may refuse to back down.

Refuse to accept responsibility.

No one likes to admit they’ve made a mistake, but people in positions of power seem incapable of doing so. Even when their actions are the cause of the problem, they will find a way to blame you for the outcome.

It could be something as insignificant as accusing you of distracting them when they make a mistake.


Life does not always go as planned. Perfection is the lowest standard in the world because you know you can’t be perfect if you’re trying to be perfect.  So you’ve got a standard you’ll never be able to meet.

Trading your expectations for appreciation is one way to stop being controlling. Be grateful for your life as it is, rather than how you think it should be.

Want attention

You can count on the controlling person in your life to try to upstage you if you have a victory, no matter how small. They want to be in the spotlight no matter what.

Take “no” for an answer.

Controlling people have a hard time establishing healthy relationships. They will not be deterred by a negative response. They will do something even if you have specifically asked them not to.

They’ll put pressure on you if you don’t want to join their plans. Do you have a friend who is like this?


They’ll keep you guessing as to what they’ll do next. They may alternate between complimenting you and berating you for not doing what they want. The goal is to keep you on the edge of your seat and focused on them.

Controlling people want to control your reality, so they lie. Reality is built on the foundation of truth. They will attempt to deny your reality by lying about their own or your behavior. When you try to contradict them, they may claim you’re the one who’s crazy.

Wants to be in charge of the money

If you’re married to or live with a controlling person, they’ll almost certainly want to manage all of your finances. They might claim that they’re better at it than you are or that you overspend. They want to control your financial access to control what you do.

Dictates your agenda

Controlling your movements is one of the most intrusive ways someone can try to control you. They might always want to know where you are. They try to isolate you from other, supportive people in your life through threats, intimidation or pouting.

Telling lies

Although lying may appear to be one of the most obvious signs of controlling behavior, the truth is that it is often subtle. Controlling people will persuade you to doubt yourself and your emotions by lying to you about your reality.

They deceive themselves, as well. It’s possible that you’re controlling if what other people tell you contradicts your perception of reality.

Controlling Behavior: How to Handle It

Controlling Behavior: How to Handle It

Controlling behavior can be irritating at times, but it can also be abusive. You can decide how to handle the behavior once you’ve determined the severity of it.

It may be beneficial to talk to the offender about the controlling behavior if it is mild. You can tell them how their actions make you feel, but avoid sounding like you’re blaming them by using “I” statements. 

A sentence that begins with the words “I feel” is more likely to be accepted than one that begins with the words “You always.” To see a difference, you’ll almost certainly need to establish clear boundaries.

You may be in an abusive relationship if your partner isolates you from family and friends and employs various tactics to wear you down to the point where it’s easier to give in than to argue with them. 

If this is the case, the National Domestic Violence Hotline suggests developing a safety plan to help you improve your situation while remaining safe.

Effective Ways On How To Be Less Controlling

Effective Ways On How To Be Less Controlling

As a result of growing up in unstable families, codependency is marked by an inability to let go of one’s control. Perfectionism and the trait of controlling are closely linked to which is also rooted in anxiety and fear

In addition to their desire for predictability, perfectionists are fearful of failure. They are also overly rigid, anxious, and extremely demanding of themselves and often of others, too.

It’s critical to recognize the signs of controlling behavior and learn how to deal with it, whether you’re dealing with a controlling boss or a romantic partner.

They may believe that if they aren’t in charge, things will not go as planned. Some people’s control issues are caused by a personality disorder rather than anxiety.

1.  Face your fears and overcome them. 

Since fear fuels controlling behaviors, you need to figure out what you’re afraid of and whether it’s a reasonable fear.

What do you fear will happen if you don’t have control over a certain situation or a person? Do you dread the worst-case scenario or do you prepare for the worst? Do you think of the chances that a terrible event will occur?

You frequently exaggerate both the severity of the outcome and its likelihood. However, bad things do happen from time to time, and you have little control over them. You must accept what is within your power in this case.

2.  Learn to get your needs 

The desire for certainty in life is one of our Six Human Needs. When we don’t get our basic needs, like security, we learn to satisfy them in unhealthy ways like controlling everything around us. These tactics may work for a while because they create a false sense of security.

With time, you will realize that if you don’t leave and stop controlling, it will be the one to control you. You must learn to let go of the past to live in the present. You can’t control everything, but you can control your attitude.

3.  Practice Acceptance

Accepting that you can only control yourselves relieves you of the stress and responsibility of ensuring that everyone and everything goes according to plan.

Choosing to stay conscious and aware of what is happening in the present moment can help you avoid dwelling on the past or future. 

This can be accomplished through formal mindfulness practices such as meditation or simply by tuning into the present moment with all of your senses. It’s also a good idea to remind yourself that controlling yourself isn’t a good idea.

4.  Be Flexible

Also, be aware of all-or-nothing thinking, which claims that your way is the best and only way to go. There’s usually more than one reasonable way to accomplish a goal. Simultaneously, keep your attention on the issues that are truly yours to solve.

It’s impossible to solve everyone’s problems, and it often leads to more stress and strained relationships than it’s worth.

5.  You aren’t just “in control” or “out of control”

You choose to trust that others can make good decisions when you stop trying to control them. If they can’t, those aren’t your problems to solve. Accepting that you can’t control everyone and everything is crucial to your happiness. 

As is realizing that you don’t have to be responsible for everyone else and that you don’t have to feel obligated to always be “right” and in command.

Allowing people to figure things out for themselves is a loving and trusting act; detaching from other people’s problems is not uncaring.

6.  Seek professional help

The more control you have, the more likely it is that it is affecting your relationships and your life in general.

People can work through their problems on their own, but it’s more likely that they won’t be able to put their ghosts to rest and go back to their old, controlling ways.

So, if you get help from an expert, you should be able to manage or overcome your control issues for good.

7.  Learn about anxiety and how to control it

Rather than relying on controlling to deal with uncertainty, learn as much as you can about your fears.

You could read books or see a therapist about not being controlling. Since knowledge is power, you’ll be able to spot self-defeating habits and replace them with healthier ones.

If you’re wondering how to stop being controlling, ask yourself, “Are my efforts lasting?”  Bringing self-awareness to your actions allows you to be more sensitive with others and yourself.


It’s vital to learn how to let go of the behavior of controlling to maintain your sense of well-being, as well as your professional and personal relationships.

You’re ready to start the process of letting go of control if you’ve already determined that you’re controlling in your life.

While learning to be less controlling takes time and courage, the satisfaction that comes from letting go is well worth the effort.

Above all, practice patience with yourself. You’re asking a lot of yourself, and change is a process.

Joe Davies