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7 Signs You Have A Need To Control | Tony Robbins

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It is understandable to want to be in control of your life, and there is a healthy level of control we all must retain in order to direct our lives and pursue our goals and passions. However, when the need for control becomes excessive, it can cause more harm than good to your relationships, career and overall sense of well-being. If you have reached a point where you are wondering, “Am I controlling?” it is likely you’ve passed the point of healthy control, and your need for control has become toxic. As Tony Robbins says, “Changing yourself is the first step in changing anything else.” Take action now to learn to let go, and you’ll create the lasting fulfillment you’ve been craving.


The need for control is rooted in fear and self-doubt. Mental health experts report that people resort to controlling behaviors to gain a (temporary) fix for feelings of anxiety. The foundational (but likely unconscious) belief runs along the lines of, “If I can control my circumstances so they feel stable and functional, I can finally rest assured that all parts of my life will also run smoothly.” In pursuit of this unattainable goal of creating rock-solid security, it’s tempting to try and control everything around you, from your relationships to your finances, and even to other people’s lives.

It’s a common experience to begin the day worrying about not only your own to-do list, but also the needs and fears of loved ones, colleagues and even strangers. Although this worry-driven approach is not helpful in finding feasible, effective solutions for life’s uncertainties, it is oftentimes the only approach known by someone suffering from an excessive need for control.

If you find yourself asking “am I controlling,” it’s possible you grew up under the care of individuals who did not provide an adequate sense of safety or who, ironically, felt an inordinate need for control themselves. To further complicate and cement controlling behavior, it is common for adults to praise a child for being “mature,” thus reinforcing the child’s fear-based efforts at control. Children in such a predicament approach adulthood unable to shake the need for control unless they develop adequate alternative coping skills.

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