Are You A Closet Control Freak?

Being in control is good. But at what cost?

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The clinical control freak is someone who is abusive and will alter your life patterns at extreme costs. They will play with your mind, schedule and goals and do whatever it takes to fool themselves into the reality that they can keep everything under their control in order to manage their personal anxiety and other personality disorders.

But what if you are just a bit controlling? Just a closet control freak?

Oh I get it. The world is a dangerous place, right? There is danger and failures around every corner. The closet control freak can reason that they are just protecting their friends and loved ones from hurt and danger. But is it YOUR job to step up and protect everyone from life? Do they WANT your advice or your help? Do you think that is YOUR duty or is it just a mechanism to prop up your self-worth?

The control freak is like a repellant. Lets face it- nobody likes to deal with someone who has the need to control things around them. Even if they are right. We all have the desire to find out for ourselves.

This is not about judging whether they are right or wrong. The control freak would argue that they are just trying to protect others with their behavior. Trying to guide things so the outcome is good. Sounds good but not always truly sincere.

The root of the closet control freak is to avoid personal worry, anxiety and keep up their self image. See, the problem is insecurity or a lack of self-esteem. And the antidote is power.

By controlling things you can blank out the insecurity with power. You are in control. You are calling the shots.

What are some signs of the closet control freak? Here are a few:

Advice: You must give advice- cause you are the expert on everything! Giving advice seems like a good thing right? Unless its not wanted. Look back at repellant. Keep your trap shut. Unless there is imminent danger or something criminal.

Stall tactics: When something comes up that you don’t want to do -you stall. Wait it out until the other person see your “better idea”. Or just hope things change to your viewpoint. Stall anyways. Just in case, Forever. Super frustrating!

Better options: You feel like you need to give other options that suit you better. And you wait. Until. They. Choose something. That you. Like. Childish.

Dismiss: You can justify dismissing things that are not important to you, yet, may be important to others. You truly believe that you have the ultimate objective view. If you don’t value it, then its not valuable? Really?

Mechanical Control: You don’t like others to drive, fly, or steer anything. You have serious bouts of fear. You are not in control. You have trouble relaxing when someone else is at the wheel. Are we all bad drivers except for you? Is this really our problem?

Reject- Not Compromise: You will feel that you cannot sacrifice what you know must happen. Save everyone from disaster. Anything less leads to worry, anxiety or fear. Winner take all. Seriously?

Perfectionism: Things must be perfect. If someone see something that is bad or out of place- then it is a personal failure. I can’t have a dirty house or a bad golf game. Really? Nothing is perfect under the sun. This is textbook insecurity. Right?

I get the control thing. We can get accustomed to being in control. And we don’t want bad thing to happen. But what do we sacrifice? Is it worth it? Remember the repellant. Can you keep your mouth shut? Can you stop the manipulative behavior? Can you let others figure it out without your “help”? Can you just relax and let it happen?

Reality check. The world will keep spinning without you! Find your value somewhere else and realize that you matter without the efforts to control. Your hard work to change or manipulate people or the outcomes will rarely have any influence on them or the outcomes. So why do you do it? Why do you think that you have to control anything? Realize that its your “go to” response. You have likely been doing it for so long that it has become second nature. But you need to fix it because nobody else can. It’s your anchor. Face the issue and the world will change around you. Really! I promise.

So what do you think?  Do you agree with my comments or am I out of bounds on this?  Click “Like” if you agree or click on “Leave a Comment” and tell me what you think!

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You Can’t Look Back!

Kathy and I were having breakfast with a man after Street Corner Saturday morning who was recovering from a brutal beating which almost cost him his life.  He was in a coma for several weeks and the doctors were not optimistic about his recovery.  While he was in the coma, the Lord spoke to him and reassured him that He still had work on the earth for him to complete.  He told us that he remembers being separated from his body and looking down on the doctors and his family similar the common near-death experience.  He eventually recovered and has had a dramatic life change as he is convinced he has been given a second chance at life.

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This man had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and was associated with some bad people.  As he continued with his story he began to express self-doubt and a feeling of not fitting in with the other men around him.  He continued to share about his past failures and insecurities and I stopped him mid-sentence and told him-

Stop!  You can’t look back! 

We all have junk in our past.  We have all made mistakes.  You simply cannot dwell on the past.

I told him that he was a new person that has been transformed and forever changed.  The old self is gone.  The voice telling you that you about your past, your previous failures, that your not good enough …is NOT the voice of the Father.  This is the voice of the enemy.  You cannot listen to this.

The enemy uses self-doubt, shame, and guilt to take away our power.  When we turn inside of ourselves we have destroyed our ability to influence others in a positive way.  We cease in our ability to make a difference in the world.

He shook his head yes and thanked me for the reminder.  He viewed many of the other men around him as hypocrites for just “talking and not walking” in their faith.  I reminded him that he can influence them by doing the right thing and walking in the light.  The rest is up to God.  He needn’t carry that burden.

Looking back can bring you down but it can also be an encouragement.  Look how far you have come!  You are not where you used to be.  And you are moving forward.  You are making a difference.  Push that negative voice out of your head.  It is not doing you any good!

Realize that you are here for a purpose much bigger than yourself.  To change lives.  To build up.  To restore and create.  This is the voice from heaven.  Listen for it!

So what do you think?  Don’t be a stealth reader!  Click on “leave a comment” and let me know what you think!  If you like this post press the share button and post it on your Twitter feed or Facebook page!  Yep…I can use some encouragement too! 

The Hero and the Villain

A good action movie or a novel generally has these roles.  The villian is the dark and scheming character who is struggling to get what he wants in an unscrupulous way.  The hero is the character who is on the right side of things. The hero struggles with the villain and his schemes and works hard to make things right.

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A wise woman once described a relationship issue I was experiencing in the metaphors of the hero and the villain.  But this description is much different than what you would see in the movies.

The hero in this situation convinces themselves that the other person- the villain, is broken, weird, evil, twisted, crazy, or just wrong.  This gives the hero the license to do whatever they want.  The hero feeds off of competition, power and control.  The hero is always right.  They have to be at the front.  They have convinced themselves that the villain is so messed up they can treat them in a way that can be cruel, unfair, and disrespectful.  Or they see the villain as competition. The hero can distort the facts so they feel like they have to take care of things.  The hero has convinced themselves that the villain is so messed up that all regular conventions do no apply.  They have free rein to do whatever they want.  And its their job as the hero to jump in and make it right.

Meanwhile, the villain is just doing what they always do.  They may be way different from the hero- but their heart is right.  The villain may be unattractive or introverted or eccentric or have problems that the hero can’t understand.   Things that really grind the hero.  But generally, they are just different from the hero.  The villain can’t understand why they are treated so harshly by the hero.  They see the hero as someone they respect.  They can’t understand why the hero wants to continually put them down.  And the actions of the hero can be so subtle that the hero doesn’t even know what they are doing.  But I can assure you- the villain can see it.

I’ve been the villain.  More times than I can count.  I am different.  I am introverted.  I am not competitive.  I am an easy target.

Have you been any of these characters?  Let me give you some dialogue/thoughts you may be able to relate to:

  • All my son wants to do is play video games.  I can’t get him outside and he hates fishing.  I don’t know what’s wrong with him.  I’m going to take away those stupid games.
  • I’m just going to go talk to the client.  John is just not good at this.  I can’t trust him to take care of it.  He’s not like me.  I will close the deal.
  • I have to take control of things.  My husband is so passive.  Yes, I can be a little bossy- but I have to.  Somebody has to do it.
  • Why do I have to do everything around here.  When I give you a task to do you always take too long and make mistakes.  Good thing I am here to clean up your mess.
  • There is no way I could promote her.  She barely talks to anyone.  How can she be a manager?  I’ll continue to take care of it myself.
  • He is so weird.  I am afraid to take him to any meetings because he will make us look bad.  He just sits there and when he talks he makes weird comments.  I am so glad I am good at covering up his comments.
  • I don’t get her.  She hates shopping.  What woman hates shopping?  I am surprised she has any friends.  All my friends love to shop.

And so it goes.  The discouraging thing is that once the roles are set the hero rarely changes.  They continue to see the world as though they are the only person who is equipped to handle things properly.  This sounds as though they are well equipped, right?  No.  The truth is the hero is actually very insecure.  They see the world as a stage and they need to have everything looking good.  Any opportunity that could make them look bad is intolerable.  The hero must continue to be the hero and will fight for it at all costs.

So where are you on this?  Have you seen the villain or the hero?  Maybe a hard look at your relationships is in order.

Remember that different is good!  And just because someone is different than you does not give you a blank check.  If you are inherently competitive or have an issue with control you may need to do some self-examination of your real motives.  The villain is not broken.  They are just different than you.  And you need to give them some space!

So what do you think?  Have you seen these roles played out in your life?  Do you have a story about one of these roles?  Click on “Leave a Comment” if you want to join in or click “Like” if you agree with me!   

How to Create a Drama-Free Workplace

Most of us love a good drama at the movies, but not so much at work.  Office drama can be draining.  It’s hard enough to keep the plates spinning without the added pressure of drama.  It seems like finding the right mix of folks is like a science experiment.  Unfortunately, in a drama filled environment, we often hire the person who is non-threatening instead of the best candidate.  Then one day you look up and wonder how in the world these folks ended up on the payroll!

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The root of most office drama is insecurity.  The problem is that it’s not easy to see during the recruitment process.  You may have a candidate that appears confident and assertive, yet they have social or personal issues that won’t appear until they are introduced into the mix.

Intent can also skew your thinking.  In a recent post in Forbes, (link here) Erika Anderson points out that staying positive with others intentions naturally diffuses drama.  All you have to do is believe their intentions are good.  Seems easy- but for some that live their lives in the negative zone, it can be very difficult to trust that other coworker’s intentions are good.

Many managers see drama as purely a result of immaturity.  But it often goes much deeper than that.  Many times there are wounds or events from the past that have shaped the person into who they are.  Don’t always dismiss poor behavior as simply a result of immaturity.

Many of the deeper issues that result in office drama are not easy to fix.  There is likely a long process involved and it may even require professional attention.  Aside from the complex cases, there are strategies to address some of the common office strife.  Here are a few of them:

Dump the Stupid Rules:  Drama feeds off of petty infractions of the rules.  As a manager you may think this is counter intuitive.  You may be tempted to add more rule when you have drama.  The fact is if you give more power to the “rules police” you will only add fuel to the fire.  Turn the conversation back to performance.  If the person is doing a good job, then give them grace on the rules.  Get rid of as much of the petty rules as you can and you will benefit in the end.

Choose Your Managers Wisely:  In the book “Managing for People Who Hate Managing”, Devora Zack divides managers into two categories, Thinkers and Feelers.  Both can be great managers but you have to understand that they see the world differently and will react differently.  Drama feeds off of emotion.  It is very important that your managers are emotionally intelligent.  They must understand there own emotions and how they are affected by the emotions of others.  Just dismissing drama as stupid or silly emotion will not solve the problem.  You can’t tell someone who is upset that they are just being a baby.  There are great management strategies on how to be empathic, yet not feed the fire.  If you have a manager that is unskilled they will react incorrectly and make poor decisions that will only continue to feed the fire!

Watch for Type A’s:  The talented and driven are often a target for the drama group.  They are threatening to the status quo.  They want more.  They are used to getting what they want.  I have witnessed “the pack” systematically run off talented folks.  You need to watch for this and address this as soon as you see it.  Find the leader of the opposition and discuss the situation objectively.  Reassure them that this person is not threatening their position and reaffirm that they are not going anywhere and they need to develop a good working relationship.

React Well:  Be very careful how you react to the situation.  Strong reactions feed the drama fire.  If there is a situation that needs to be addressed, do it quietly and without fanfare.  Be very careful about getting both parties together to “hash things out”.  I have done this in the past and have had both good and bad results.  Try to respect the position of the person who is upset, but be very careful that you don’t add emotional fuel to the fire.

Watch For Alliances:  The office can be similar to an episode of  “Survivor”.  There are alliances that will naturally form, and you must be aware of who is where.  Sometimes you can break up problem workgroups.  The main thing is to see through the drama and find the alliance.  Seek out the leader and discuss the problem directly with them.

Don’t Let It Smolder:  Drama tends to naturally escalate.  If you are aware of a problem, it is best to address it quickly.  The longer it smolders the group will internalize and the issue will become fact.  This is human nature.  Find a confidant on the inside and try to pinpoint the issue.  The quicker you address the problem the better.

Make Changes:  If the drama is always centered around one person, maybe it’s time to make some changes?  Office drama is damaging.  Don’t be afraid to dismiss a person who continues to cause trouble in the ranks.

Have Fun:  Office outings and fun environments can help lessen office drama.  When you provide opportunities for interaction with someone outside of work you may find that you have things in common and actually like to hang out together.  It’s not uncommon to find out that the person you have a problem with is actually just like you!   Don’t forget to do some team building by having fun with your group.  This can pay off big in diminishing drama.

The business world is hard enough without having to deal with office drama.  Dealing with drama is difficult as it involves people, personalities and emotion which is a pretty scary mix for anyone.  As you become more skilled in sensing what is really going on you will be better equipped to address the situation.  Devora Zack cautions to be careful in how you address these issues in asking questions.  By asking the questions in the wrong manner you can actually reinforce the toxic thinking.  Ask questions about the outcome not the problem– i.e “What do you want?”  “What will this get you?”  “How will this benefit everyone?”  The fact is that keen management skills are often the key to killing office drama.

See- we all want to have “peace in the valley”.  Work is hard enough- right?  So…let’s leave the drama for the movies!

So what do you think?  Do you have other strategies that you have used to address drama and agitators?  Do you have a story to share here?  Click on “Leave a Comment” and tell me what you think!  Click “Like” if you can relate!

The Love Affair

Oh, how I love you… 

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The way you make me feel good when I feel like I’m all alone. 

You tell me little things that build me up.

The way you always warm my heart.

You are so charming, so witty, so amazing!

Sometimes you bring three people in, all at the same time.

With all of them at once telling me, in their own way, just how special I am.

I take you wherever I go.  I feel naked when you are not there.

Anytime I can steal a minute, I go for you. I can be very sneaky, because you make me feel so good. 

I find myself staring at you, waiting for the reply.  The reply that makes my heart jump.

You go wherever I go.  You never fail to keep me locked in our love affair.

I even take you to bed with me.  My spouse lying next to me, but my focus is on you.

When I hear you call me, I always respond.  You are on top even when I’m busy doing something else.

All day long, morning to night I go for you, even when I’m driving.

I can’t stay away.  I’ve tried many times to break way, but I always come back to you. 

You have a hold on me.

I don’t know what I would do if you were gone.  I would be such a mess.

You touch me like no one else.  You fill my insecurity.  You make me feel needed and loved.

I will always love you…

OK- so who is the object of the love affair here?  Click on “Leave a Comment” and give me your answer!