Something of a Control Freak

Steph_2_cropped. jpgBy Stephanie Stamm

At work yesterday, one of my colleagues called me “a little bit of a control freak.” She prefaced her statement by saying it might sound like an insult, but she didn’t mean it that way. I didn’t take it that way. I held the thumb and forefinger of my right hand about an inch apart.

“Just a little bit,” I said.

We both knew that was an understatement.

Did I mention that a central part of my job is Document Control? Yeah, that’s no accident.

My colleague’s comment was prompted by my admission to having some anxiety about the project we are beginning to implement next week. I know it will all ultimately work out fine. Sure, there will be hiccups, as there are with any major project, but we’ll work through them. And the entire team has worked hard to ensure that the new system will function much better than the one from which we are upgrading. But, as my colleague rightly pointed out, because I’m something of a control freak, I feel anxious, because I can’t control all the moving parts. I’ve done my best to organize all the data I can, to talk to all the affected people, to ask tons of questions to make sure we all have all the information we need to make the decisions we need to make. And I do trust the team. We’ve assembled a great group of people to get the job done.

But I’m still anxious.

This project sometimes feels like an octopus with way more than eight tentacles. And I’m afraid some unexpected tentacle will tangle us up or sweep our feet out from under us.

Hmmm… Are there really only eight tentacles? Really? Are you sure?

Well, that sounds a bit extreme. Hiccups, yes. Flying octopus tentacles, probably not.

But you know what I mean, right? My mature mind knows all will be well. My reptile brain wants every possible i dotted and t crossed. And it knows there are more i’s and t’s than it can count in 40,000 or so documents.

I wonder if my reptile brain looks like this fellow?

Just a little bit of a control freak. Yeah…

It’s hard to let go and surrender.

But surrender I will.

Because I do trust the team.

And because I don’t want to dream about menacing computer screens or alphabet-flinging octopi. 🙂

Any other control freaks out there? What gets your reptile brain cranked?

Both images from Wikimedia Commons (, Public Domain.


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I am the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy series, The Light-Bringer:



I have also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes:

Undead of Winter Front Only Into the Storm Cover


24 thoughts on “Something of a Control Freak

  1. The only way I even come close to being a control freak is when I’m in a car. I’m not a vocal backseat driver and I can even comfortably ride with another driver, but I have this idea that if I fall asleep the car will crash. So I’ve never been able to sleep in a car. I have no experience on which to base this weird belief. I didn’t experience a crash while sleeping in a car. I just can’t sleep.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Completely a control freak. My saving grace, I don’t have jobs where it comes out too often. (By choice I might add). Through the years I’ve calmed down some about it, but…I empathized with you completely. Hang in there and tell that reptile brain it will be okay. It won’t believe it, but….

    Enjoyed and related to this post way to much. Doris

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Doris! I’ve gotten better over the years too–or at least more conscious of the fact that I’m being controlling. Now that I recognize it, I can relax a bit more.


  3. I’m more of a semi-perfectionist. I have a certain way I do things and I want every one to do it that way. Well maybe a control freak if they don’t do it my way. Just a little, I will give in. As I get older, I let things go more often. Sounds like you have a great crew. Just say, ” I’m not a control freak, I just take pride in my job.”Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like being in charge and don’t generally trust other people to get the work done. I’d like to but in my younger years, got disappointed to many times. So, now I just say, “I’ll do it myself!” Guess that’s the control freak in me! LOL 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are so many situations in our lives making us “control freaks.” Unhappy childhoods can do so, becoming a mother, becoming a nurse, maybe a school teacher–all situations where our control just might make things better and situations where we HAVE to be in control much of the time! Or so I usually think. And of course I became a mother and nurse and voila, I’m a control freak. It’s a hard thing to recognize and break too. So good for you for understanding and looking at this humorously in yourself. You sound like a great manager.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful post, Stephanie, that really hit home with me. Yes, I’m probably one of the worst control freaks. About some things, not everything. It’s a good thing I have several different jobs where either I’m my own boss or I work autonomously. I try to remind myself that the worst almost never happens but I still can’t help being anxious. It’s a constant struggle for me not to freak out when I’m extremely busy. I just try to manage one task at a time and focus on my lists. Listing things really helps me not get overwhelmed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Control freak? Maybe a little bit. I don’t like turning over my fate to others, although I know I do it everyday. The cars around me as I drive… they can wreck my car and injure me. The plane I board… my life is in the hands of the pilots and the mechanics looking after the aircraft. Once, family drove up to Columbus, Ohio, in snow so I could return to my home in Central Florida. The snow got heavier and heavier, and the flight kept getting delayed. It drove me nuts not having control over getting back to my home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is one of the things that makes travel by plane, etc., difficult–not being in control of the schedule. I like to not drive everywhere, but I like the control of driving myself. Good points about how we put our fates in others’ hands every day.


  8. I tend to go back and forth on the control issue. Sometimes I want to control every little thing and other times I let go. With all the hurrah around our move and will we or will we not get our new house, I just threw up my hands and let go. It all turned out eventually. We will spend our first night in the new place tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m not really much of a control freak, I tend to let other fret about things. Computers can send me over the edge from time to time. But it’s all good as along as there is a little smooth surface between the bumps in the road.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Any other control freaks out there?”!!! How about this: the plural of octopus should actually be “octopodes,” since it’s really a Greek word, not Latin (and they taste really good, too, but that’s another story). Does THAT qualify? My reptile brain seems to get cranked almost entirely about things that do. not. matter. Even a tiny little bit.
    Now gimme the keys, you wack-job.


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