Okay control freaks, this chapter is for you! However, I am sorry to say that in NVC philosophy, control is not a need, but a strategy to meet other needs, such as safety and protection from harm, and there is optional! It is probably one of the most common conditioned responses when we are afraid, even if we are afraid of something relatively minor, such as embarrassment. It also can become a very entrenched habitual response, where we reach for control in almost any unsteady situation.

As a strategy, control can be very effective at meeting needs. If we are in control, it is less likely we may insult someone, do something embarrassing or get to “out of control.” Control freaks often are very organized, effective at performing task and often make good workers. The control freak usually doesn’t allow herself to get to drunk when drinking, or too loud when talking or too messy when homemaking. In fact, in may ways being in control can be very desirable. And exhausting.

Although some of the most successful entrepreneurs and politicians have been super controlling, as a strategy for happiness, it usually comes up short. From a Buddhist perspective, it couldn’t possible be more contrary. In Buddhism, letting go is the strategy for happiness and well being. Controlling is the opposite of letting go.

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