Hi, my name is Teri! I’m a control freak and a perfectionist. I think too much, I worry too much and I over analyze everything (ask my Match.com man). Life would be better if everyone did it my way, in my timeframe and the way I want - which is the best way. I want to have all things in my life follow my schedule – exercise, weight loss, work projects, and relationships. But to my surprise, life doesn’t work this way.
All of us have a little bit of a control freak and perfectionist in us, its how jobs get done, projects get finished and the house gets cleaned. However, when being an “out of control, control freak perfectionist” takes over your life, relationships are ruined, family becomes distant and there’s a general unhappiness in any interaction. Being a 24/7 control freak and perfectionist communicates to others somehow, some way, they just aren’t doing it right. Who wants to be with someone who conveys frequently, you just aren’t doing something correctly and get out of the way so it can be done right?
Along with being a control freak comes the angst of being a perfectionist. Perfectionists are always disappointed because there is no such thing as perfect; therefore, they can do nothing quite right nor does anyone else. So many perfectionists look for the perfect love, perfect house, perfect partner, and perfect child to reflect their perfectness and there IS NO SUCH THING. As a result, no one, including the perfectionist control freak feels love or loved, just criticized and unhappy.
So, what can we as control freak perfectionists do to show those around us they truly are special and loved in our imperfect world?
Funny you should ask that! I recently read a book I think is incredible. It’s “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, and it may hold the answer. The premise of the book is that everyone, including control freaks and perfectionists, perceives love in different ways. People view being loved through quality time spent with each other, words of encouragement, showering with gifts, acts of service, or physical touch.
Often we try to show our love for a person in the way we perceive love, again trying to control everything. If I feel loved by someone noticing and complimenting me on how I look, or telling me how much they liked my blog, then words of encouragement and affirmation is how I feel being loved.
However, if the person I’m with feels love by physical touch and all I do is compliment them, they aren’t feeling as loved as they could. I need to hug them, give them a laughing, sloppy wet kiss, pat them on the butt or affectionately scratch their back to show love in their way.
Another example is many men feel loved by sharing quality time with their significant other. For some reason, watching a hockey or football game together makes them feel awesome and loved. While the control freak might be saying I could be doing this or that; we need to just be with our loved one.
Some women feel loved by acts of service. A woman recently told me if her husband would just volunteer to do the dishes and give the baby a bath, she would have time to relax and maybe want to share some lovin’ later. All the to-do’s on her list make her feel stressed out and not want to share her special goodies.
I saw how The Five Love Languages can be used with anyone in life - old and new relationships, family, children and friends. If you’re a control freak perfectionist working hard to be loved and feel loved, you may feel nothing but frustration in your relationships. Working hard to be loved is a control freak trait (feel loved, check). At the risk of sounding like a line from a chick flick - love is a gift from one person to another. Knowing how to give that gift, as outlined in The Five Love Languages, makes it so much easier for us.
So, fellow control freaks and perfectionists join my Control Freaks and Perfectionists Anonymous and learn to let go and let love!
I recently read a phrase that will be the group’s only bylaw:
“How impatient we are! Why not let life take its own course for a change? Set down your oars and see where the current takes you.”
My control freak perfectionist wishes for you:
You do all the things outlined above because I told you to do them and it’s the right way (just kidding)!
You read The Five Love Languages and discover what makes you feel loved and how others feel loved. You realize your significant other’s love language and show how much you love them. You compliment, hug, spend time with, give gifts, provide acts of service for the loved ones in your life and know this will make them feel special beyond their dreams, they may not realize what’s happening, just all of a sudden they feel really good around you.
You recognize impatience as a sign of moving into high Control Freak Perfectionist mode and are able to pull back, let go of the feelings of urgency and listen to the sounds of peace.
And most importantly, put down your oars and drift on the slow and loving current of life.
My infinite love and gratitude to you all,
PS…Thanks to Shelly Willoughby who shared The Five Love Languages CD’s with me when I needed them most; Thanks to my daughter Sarah Powell and her friend Sandra Baron who gave me hugs when they caught me dancing alone in the kitchen to MC Hammer’s “Turn that Mutha Out”. To Patty Russ who laughed with me on the way home from walking when we tried to figure out how she feels loved – what an enigma (LOL) and she once again gave me an idea for a blog. My love to all of you!