Controlling People
Control freaks are actually out of control.

Kim is a self-described perfectionist. She says her husband, whom she's separated from, was too messy. When parking her car, she's careful to park precisely between the lines. Her couch needs to be arranged with the stripes in a particular direction.

Kim's 13-year-old twin boys say their friends can't even come over the house to play either because their mom is concerned it's not clean enough or doesn't want it to get messy. They say their mom would rather have them sit on the floor when watching TV than make the couch untidy.

Dr. Phil, "You're so worn out from dealing with things that frankly nobody cares about! We get to thinking we're the center of the universe and everyone's watching, so we hold ourselves to really high standards for fear of judgment. But they'll judge you way more for being a control freak who can't lighten up and roll with the punches than they ever would for having a messy house or for having your car parked off center."

Karen called off her wedding because she was fed up with her boyfriend's controlling behavior. She says she felt smothered, but would try to work things out with him if he could work on his need to be with her all the time.

"When she goes out, I'm afraid that she won't come home," says Joe.


Dr. Phil asks: "Do you trust yourself enough, have enough self-worth to believe that someone would be with you if you don't make them do it?" The issue, he explains, is not about saving the relationship with Karen. It's about becoming secure enough with yourself so that he's not so clingy, needy, controlling and demanding.

Jean and J.R. have been married for five years. She feels that her husband is so controlling that she sacrifices too much of her space, independence and sense of self-worth.

"Every relationship is negotiated," says Dr. Phil. "Stop complaining, and start asking."


Tell your spouse, advises Dr. Phil, that it's just not working for you and you're not going to do it anymore. It's better to be healthy alone, than sick with someone else.