Signs, Causes And How To Get Help – Forbes Health

Desiring a sense of control is natural among humans, but when the tendency to control becomes persistent and pervasive, it’s problematic, says Dr. Khurana. “It often has origin in childhood, where the basic attunement and attachment process with primary caregivers was not quite right,” he says, explaining that this can lead to adults craving control. According to Dr. Khurana, possible causes can be:

  • Lack of unconditional love from caregivers
  • Lack of adequate nurture from caregivers
  • Household abuse and neglect
  • Households with mental health and substance abuse issues

Children who are not adequately supported in their early years are at a higher risk of developmental and mental health outcomes later in life.

A person with a history of trauma, such as child abuse or domestic abuse, may later feel compelled to dominate later in life, says Deena Manion Psy.D., a licensed clinical social worker in the Los Angeles area and the executive director and chief clinical officer at Westwind Recovery. “It may also be a need to feel ‘above’ someone else, which comes across as controlling, but more often than not, it’s fear-based or anxiety from past experiences,” she says.

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Acting in a controlling manner might also be consequential as a fear of failure, the need to strive for perfection or dreading specific emotions. Quite often, controlling people seek praise from others as a means of reassurance and boosting their own self-esteem.

Control issues may also result from:

Learned behavior: Often people shadow controlling behaviors of those in their immediate family or community, which can lead them to crave power.

Disorders: Controlling behavior can result from several mental health disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which cause an unhealthy thinking pattern or uncontrolled thoughts, and can cause a person to spiral in a controlling manner.

Anxiety: Generalized anxiety disorder can cause a person to obsessively worry and develop a need to exert control as a coping mechanism.

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