Rearranging the dishwasher and other signs you are a control freak

Confessions of a Control Freak #anxiety #control #perfectionist

Are you guilty of rearranging those dirty dishes in the dishwasher? Well, I am too. We all know there is only one proper way to load the dishwasher. And it’s your way! If you rearrange the dishwasher, you may be a control freak.

I use the term “control freak” loosely to mean anyone who has particularly high standards and wants others to prescribe to them. Please don’t be offended by the term. I consider myself a recovering control freak, too.

Controlling behavior is closely associated with perfectionism. Having exacting standards are ways to feel in control of yourself and others. They provide a sense of security. But they also wreak havoc with our emotional health and relationships.

Signs You Are a Control Freak #perfectionist #control #typeA


I have worked hard at overcoming my controlling and perfectionist tendencies. Here are my personal confessions of controlling behavior:

  • My way is the only right way.
  • Micromanaging.
  • Doing too much myself; Difficulty delegating. This leads to exhaustion and burn out.
  • Criticizing and nagging.
  • Things have a proper place and need to be kept there. (I still hate clutter.)
  • Resentments. Resentments stem from frustration that people weren’t doing what I wanted.
  • Plans. Predictability and plans were key ways to manage my anxiety and make me feel in control.

This all sounds pretty unpleasant, doesn’t it? All of these controlling behaviors are efforts to feel safe, secure, and in control. When control freaks feel they aren’t in control, panic and anxiety can ensue. They make sense when you understand the psychology of control. But, like I said, they are dysfunctional.

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Sharon Martin, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist in Northern California, specializes in helping adult children of alcoholics and others who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-criticism. She has a private psychotherapy practice in CA where she is available for online counseling. Sharon is also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism and write the blog Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today.

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