Control Freak

Have you ever had one of those days where you are just skipping along, happy as can be, and seemingly out of nowhere a fun-wrecker comes in and attempts to steal your joy?  Are you the kind of person who has to exert some sort of power or control over others in order to feel somehow better than them or above them?  Do you know a person who is constantly putting other people down so at a later point he can swoop in and raise them up to fulfill some sort of hero role?  Some people will go as far as to become physically abusive to their spouses and children to maintain the illusion of power.  There are many more examples of power-trippers, and please feel free to share your experiences with us in the comment section below.

Most often we think of “power-trippers” as having very low self-esteem and assume they are using the behavior as a mask for their supposed insufficiency.  The truth is they are addicted to something much more destructive and insidious: dopamine.

Dopamine is the great “I am.” It is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that, when flowing, produces a feeling of euphoria. Dopamine is our ego.  To understand this better, when a cocaine addict is using, the chemical response in the brain is to release more dopamine into our system.  So the person who has learned how to control that release simply by exerting control over others is just another drug addict who is under the spell of their drug of choice.

There are not too many power addicts walking through the doors of 12 step programs to get their addictions under control.  Many of the people who have this affliction will take it to their grave with them.  There is also very little sympathy out there for these type of people, nor should there be; however, without the help of loved ones, addicts suffering seldom have the opportunity or the encouragement to make changes in their lives.  Without the understanding of what is triggering the nasty behavior of the “power-tripper,” family, friends, and loved ones eventually exit from the relationship.

Compassion is what is needed to help the person suffering with this disease.  Yet without the knowledge of what is going on, most people cannot muster up the motivation to be compassionate.  Ultimately, life is about our interpersonal relationships.  Most of us would consciously choose not to be in relationship with a person who is constantly controlling everything and everyone around them.  Yet unconsciously we find ourselves having to work or socialize with power mongers fairly often.  So why is this?  What could the possible benefit to the continuing evolution of mankind be?


What greater practice could there be than loving a person who is exhibiting unloving behaviors?  Where we get mixed up is, what does “love” look like?  Do we give in and let the person treat us badly?  Is “taking one for the team” ever a productive or effective way of loving someone into wellness?  No.  Love is strong, love is confident, love is trusting in the way of the universe.  Love knows that each individual must walk his or her own path, and that we can influence but we cannot manipulate.

There is much room to explore this topic together.  Please take some time to comment down below about your experience as a power-tripper or with a control freak.  Have you or someone you know recovered from this disease?  How do we spot this behavior before we get in to deep?

Last month we kicked off our first in a series of Path to Peace recovery retreats.  A small group of people all shared a life-changing event.  If you are in recovery and not experiencing great joy and freedom or are still suffering with addictions, please consider giving yourself this opportunity to soar into grateful recovery.  Our next retreat will held in San Jose, California, Sept 19 -22nd, 2013.  Click here for more information.

(Kevin McCormack, C.A.d ,is a certified addictions professional. He is a recovering addict with 26 years of sobriety. Kevin is a practicing auriculotherapist, life coach, and interventionist specializing in individual and family recovery and also co-facilitates spiritual recovery retreats for the CWG foundation with JR Westen. You can visit his website for more information at  To connect with Kevin, please email him at

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