How To Stop Being Controlling

How To Stop Being Controlling

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If you are here, then that is the first sign that you are willing to change and adapt your behavior.

Of course, everyone wants to be in control of their life, and this is not always an inherently bad thing. 

But there is a difference between wanting a more controlled life, and being controlling.

Controlling behavior can not just negatively impact your life, but also your relationships.

Tearing down your relationships and degrading your bonds is only one of the negative effects of controlling behavior, so looking for ways to get control of your controlling impulses is important. 

Your need to be in control can get out of control, so knowing how to get this behavior in order is important to actually having a more fulfilling life, and reducing stress.

So, if you are tired of letting your controlling impulses and reactions have control over your life, then keep reading to understand what you can do to change.

How To Tell If You Are Controlling

There are many signs to look out to see if you are controlling.

You might not be controlling but recognize some of these signs, and you could easily be controlling and not identify with some of these, but if you can identify with a good amount of these, then there is a good chance you are controlling. 

Some of these signs include; needing to stick to a routine, getting anxious and stressed when things are unpredictable, sticking to an organized system, being a perfectionist, needing things done a certain way, catastrophizing when things are unexpected, unrealistic standards for yourself and others, being demanding and critical, being unable to relax, giving advice/orders where they are not needed. 

These are just some of the main signs, but if you can identify with a lot of these, or some of them strongly, then there is a good chance that you are controlling.

How To Stop

Now you know that you are controlling, you need to know how to stop being controlling.

Not every method we list here will work for everyone, and not everyone can help their behaviors by themselves and you might need more professional and guided help. 

However, the advice here can at least help steer you in the right direction to working past your controlling tendencies. So, if you want to help yourself, keep reading!


You have already got a certain amount of awareness if you are on this guide and looking for advice on how to help with your controlling tendencies, however, this is only the start. 

To further improve your controlling tendencies, you need to be able to recognize them more frequently.

Look for more specific examples of when you are being controlling so you can better challenge them.

Being able to recognize when you are being controlling means that you can better start to process how you are struggling and how it is impacting your life.

This awareness will make healing and changing a lot more simple!


How To Stop Being Controlling

This is related to the previous point, but once you have recognized your controlling behaviors, try and dedicate some time to working out why you rely on these behaviors.

One of the most common causes for controlling behavior is having been exposed to the opposite to a traumatizing degree, for example, growing up in an out of control household. 

But, if you go too far in the opposite direction, it can cause equally as damaging effects.

If you learn why you are relying on certain behavior, you can better combat your reliance on them and have a more healthy reaction to when things go wrong.

Challenge Your Thinking

If you are reading this guide, then you understand that your controlling behavior is an issue, but you need to take it further.

Once you have got a grasp of the previous two steps, you want to start to more actively challenge your controlling thinking and tendencies.

If you challenge your thinking, then you can better avoid acting on your tendencies and thoughts. 

This will lead to an overall more healthy lifestyle where you are not being held back by debilitating needs to be in control.

If you feel yourself needing to be in control to an unhealthy degree, actively fight against this.


The most important stage to dealing with controlling behavior is accepting that you are not always be in control.

This can be difficult, but it is the most impactful step once you have done it. 

This usually is best once you have taken a deep breath when you are feeling yourself start to spiral.

Give yourself time to be calm and reflect when you would usually grasp for control.

This lets you stop relying on any damaging behavior which would usually control you. This is not always easy, but it will start to become natural with practice.

Embrace Imperfection

This is related to the previous point, but you want to be able to embrace any imperfection which might usually bother you.

This can be in a big or little way, but if you live with these mistakes, it makes holding back your controlling tendencies easier.

Summary – Can You Be In Control In A Healthy Way

If you are scared of what life is like without control, or have experienced trauma because of this, it is normal to want to rely on your controlling behavior to avoid this.

However, you might not realize how this can create its own world of problems and how this can negatively affect you and the people around you. 

You can have more controlling habits in a healthy way, but this can only be healthy through having balance.

Knowing how to balance your controlling tendencies with the unexpected and letting things be out of your control will greatly improve your quality of life. 

If you are unsure what controlling tendencies you might struggle with the most, asking a friend or family member who you can trust to be honest and loving to tell you can help you work out what specifics you might need to work on!

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