The Burden Of Having An Overcontrolled Personality
11 Sep 2023
Do you find situations without order and structure challenging? Do you feel it is hard to trust people? Do you find it embarrassing to be vulnerable? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may have an overcontrolled personality. People with this personality type tend to be rigid, stoic and don’t often show their emotions.
Having an overcontrolled personality can be emotionally painful, as you feel unable to express yourself and connect with people. This can lead to a sad and lonely existence.
In this blog, we look at the price incurred by having a personality like this, and look at ways you can free yourself from the bonds of overcontrol. If you’d like more information on this subject, or would like help with your overcontrol, please do not hesitate to contact Samarpan Health.
What Is Overcontrol?
Overcontrol is when someone feels the need to be in charge of everything about themselves. They control their emotions and how they appear in front of others and constantly fear losing control. People with overcontrol tend to be risk-averse and hyper-vigilant, choosing to keep to consistent patterns of behavior, going to the same places and associating with the same people.
This way of living often leads to lack of social connectedness and intimacy, as people with overcontrol find it difficult to let their guard down and let someone in. They may also be perceived as being distant and aloof, which can cause additional problems with forming close relationships.
Having an overcontrolled personality (OP) may initially help someone succeed. OP characteristics like perfectionism can be beneficial in some areas, such as work, but too much control is ultimately harmful to a person.
Overcontrol is not the same as being controlling. Someone with overcontrol is only concerned with controlling their own behavior, whereas someone who is controlling also seeks to have dominion over others.
What Causes Overcontrolled Personalities?
There are three main causes of overcontrolled personalities. People with overcontrol often develop it through more than one of these.
Some people are born with a greater degree of sensitivity than others. This sensitivity can cause people to flourish as artists, musicians or writers. Having a sensitive system may also mean that you perceive threats more than others, which means that you feel safe less of the time. This can lead to OP, as you keep yourself closed off so you can feel safe.
Being neglected or having a lonely childhood can lead to you not expressing your emotions, as you believe that your needs may not be met. Over time, this can develop into a pattern of behavior that you find difficult to break. Neglectful parenting may also cause you to have difficulty trusting others.
Having parents who excessively encouraged you to focus on achievement and performance can also cause OP. In houses like this, there is less room for emotional expression, as this is sacrificed to goals being met, academic or otherwise.
Emotionally inhibited or overprotective parents can also cause a child to develop OP. In the first of these families, showing emotion is frowned upon, and the child may be chastised for displaying them. In the second, the parent’s threatening narrative of the world affects the child, leading to them believing that the world is dangerous. This causes the child to keep their world small and closed in, to protect themselves from perceived threats.
In many Asian cultures, great emphasis is put on accommodating other people’s needs. Self-expression and open communication are often not valued in the same way that they are in the West.
In some of these cultures, pride and honor are valued above the need for expressing thoughts or feelings, particularly if these thoughts and feelings may be considered “shameful.” This can lead to many people in these societies showing signs of OP, as they seek to reduce situations where they experience shame through withholding emotions and not venturing to new places where they believe they may encounter shame.
Traits Of Overcontrolled People
People with overcontrol usually follow certain traits. If you have more than one of these, you probably have issues with control over yourself. At Samarpan Health, we help people who exhibit these traits learn to open up and enjoy life more. Seeing people blossom and savor the world around them is some of the most rewarding work that we do.
Lack Of Receptivity And Openness
If you have an overcontrolled personality, you are likely to be risk-averse. You may avoid new experiences, going to new places and meeting new people.
Lack Of Flexibility
If you are overly concerned about controlling yourself, you are probably fairly inflexible. You likely follow a pattern of behavior that you are unwilling to deviate from. If someone suggests you try something new, you will be averse to trying it.
Lack Of Emotional Expression And Awareness
If you have overcontrol, you are unlikely to show spontaneous emotional expression, which can lead you to seeming somewhat rigid and formal. You will tend not to show that you are in distress and instead adopt a stoic stance to situations. This can lead to the people who know you believing that you are okay, when you are actually in a lot of pain.
Lack Of Social Connectedness And Intimacy
Due to your lack of emotional expression, people may feel you are aloof or cold. You are likely to keep people at a distance, and be wary of anyone who wants to get close to you. You may also feel bitter towards other people.
How Having An Overcontrolled Personality Causes Woes
Living with an overcontrolled personality is usually a painful existence. People with overcontrol are likely to suffer immensely, though tragically feel unable to express this pain to other people.
Lack of emotional expressiveness causes difficulties in interpersonal relationships. Getting close to someone involves showing emotions, something which people with overcontrolled personalities find challenging.
Due to their inability to signal friendliness, people with this personality type may even be perceived as less trustworthy, increasing loneliness further.
When we build relationships with people, there are always many factors that are outside of our control. For example, someone may suggest a meeting at a new cafe. Most people would feel fine about attending, but someone with overcontrol is likely to avoid going to this new place.
Limits For Career Development
When offered an opportunity for a new job that is more satisfying and comes with higher pay, many people would accept the offer. This change would seem incredibly worrying for someone with overcontrol. Being around new people in a new environment would mean they would experience less control over themselves for a while, so they would not be able to take this new position.
They may also find it challenging to gain new skills due to perfectionism, which is another trait of those with overcontrol.
A need to control can cause eating disorders. Someone with an overcontrolled personality may limit the amount of food they eat to control their weight, or purge so that they do not gain weight after eating.
Depression And Anxiety
An overcontrolled person is far more likely to experience depression and anxiety than most people. Of course, overcontrol is caused partially by anxiety, but it can also cause it. When we refuse to do new activities and give up a little of our control, our world becomes increasingly small. Changing our patterns can seem scary, which leads to a need for greater control.
This kind of lifestyle can also lead to depression, as life becomes monotonous and lonely.
How Can Someone With Overcontrolled Personality Become More Open?
If you have an overcontrolled personality, know that there are steps you can take to open yourself up and stop being so scared of life. This will take time and it may be challenging, but you don’t have to do it all at once. Take it slowly, and day at a time, and you may find yourself becoming more open and less rigid.
Examine Your Beliefs About Yourself And Others
An over controlling personality begins with incorrect ideas about how the world and those within it work. If you have this personality type, you may believe that the people around you are potentially dangerous. You might think that you appear foolish if you show emotion. Perhaps you are concerned that some kind of calamity may befall you if you do a new activity.
This works best if you look at these beliefs with someone else who can point out where your thoughts may be faulty.
Make An Effort To Express Yourself
You may be able to break out of a fear of self-expression by expressing yourself more. This is likely to feel scary at first, but the more you practice, the easier that expressing yourself is likely to become.
Evaluate Expanding Your Comfort Zone
The comfort zones of people with over controlling personalities are very small. Try taking a look at your comfort zones, and look at areas where you may be able to expand them and increase openness. Make a plan and stay consistent about following this plan. Your self confidence will gradually increase, which allows you to become more flexible over time.
Spend Time With Open People
Being around people who are also emotionally closed can actually exacerbate your tendency towards being walled off emotionally. Spending time with those who are honest and open and willing to talk about tough topics can help you to open up yourself.
Allow Yourself To Be Vulnerable
Talking about your personal experiences and the way you feel about them can help you to reduce your overcontrolled personality. You can start by talking about something you feel somewhat comfortable talking about, and gradually open up to talking about more difficult experiences.
Practices such as meditation or yoga can help you let go of your need to control. These can help your nervous system cool down and allow your mind to become more still, which will make it easier for you to let go.
Professional Help For Overcontrolled Personalities
If you are overcontrolled, some of the suggestions above are likely to seem overwhelming. You may feel so fearful that you believe changing your routine and breaking out of your overcontrolled personality is impossible.
Having the help of a mental health professional is crucial in cases like this. They can give you the support that you need to make incremental changes. Bit by bit, you will be able to open up and let go of your need for control.
When you work with a professional therapist, you will notice that after a while your view of yourself, the people around you and the world has changed. You will no longer feel the need to be so rigid. You will be able to open up to people more. Your ability to form relationships will be enhanced. You will be able to travel to new places and do novel activities without feeling overcome by fear.
Therapists usually use either cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy to help you to release your control. These therapies can help you identify patterns of thinking and behavior contributing to your rigidity.
Samarpan Health - Freedom From An Overcontrolled Personality
Having an overcontrolled personality keeps your world small, isolates you and means you can’t live fully. At Samarpan Health, we have often helped people who come to our centre in Mumbai with their overcontrolled personalities. The roots of why people become this way are different for everyone, but we are certain of our ability to help everyone who suffers from OC
If you would like more information on how Samarpan helps people with overcontrolled personalities, or would like to check out our facility, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.