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Are You a Controller: Impact of This Saboteur on Intuitive Women Leaders

Angie Monko February 6, 2023

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Are You a Controller: Impact of This Saboteur on Intuitive Women Leaders

Do you suspect you have a Controller Saboteur within you?  If so, then safety and certainty are very important to you.  This blog is part 3 of 4 in a series of blogs written about the 4 saboteurs that I see the most in intuitive women leaders.  It’s crucial to understand ourselves better in order to actually be in control of our lives, rather than TRYING to control everything around us.
In this blog, I will cover the characteristics, typical thoughts, feelings, justification lies, impact on self and others, and the original survival function of the Controller Saboteur.  I have used myself to demonstrate the Controller saboteur as this is my top saboteur from the Saboteur Assessment (7.5/10).
NOTE: All parts in italics have been taken from The controller has an anxiety-based need to take charge and control situations and people’s actions to one’s own will. She has high anxiety and impatience when that is not possible.

Characteristics Of A Controller


  • Strong energy and need to control and take charge.
  • Connect with others through competition, challenge, physicality, or conflict rather than softer emotions.
  • Willful, confrontational, straight talker.
  • Push people beyond comfort zone.
  • Comes alive when doing the impossible and beating the odds.
  • Stimulated by and connects through conflict.
  • Surprised that others get hurt.
  • Intimidate others.
  • In-your-face communication interpreted by others as anger or criticism.


Angie’s Childhood Story: Connecting Though Conflict


When I was about 11 years old, my Grandma Radae came to pick me up from my best friend, Leslie’s, house, in the old Chevy pickup truck.  Leslie and I had been having a good ‘ole time, and I wasn’t ready to leave.  So I ran out to see if she would come back later to get me.
She told me NO, “You’ve been playing long enough. I’m not coming back. You’ll have to come home now.” Patience wasn’t Grandma’s strong suit.
Being told NO wasn’t mine.  So I tried to get out of the truck anyway. She wasn’t having any of my strong-willed disobedience. She yanked me back into the truck by my long curly brown hair. She screamed in her deep, raspy voice when angry, “Get BACK in here, Angela!”
So I did.  I laugh about this while writing it because it IS comical, and it points to how much I wanted to be in control.  While still in the truck, after she calmed down a bit, she asked why I had to be so stubborn.  And I said, “I don’t know, but that was fun, Grandma!” Some part of me enjoyed her attention and the high drama of the conflict.



We can be very forthright with our words and actions.  The Controller saboteur can lack empathy and understanding of what others are going through. We think people should be able to handle direct communication and conflict, but often they get their feelings hurt instead.  We are surprised by this if and when we learn of our negative impact.
Though a great leader will display a healthy amount of controlling to get the job done, when it’s taken too far, it leads to saboteur-controlling behaviors. This lessens our impact because others lose trust in us. They come to resent the one they perceive is controlling them.

Thoughts Of A Controller


  • You are either in control or out of control.
  • If I work hard enough I can and should control the situation so it goes my way.
  • Others want and need me to take control.
  • You are doing them a favor.
  • No one tells me what to do.
I’m a recovering controller (not recovered). Many of these thoughts sound very arrogant. I’m working to make them less of my reality by surrendering to Life on Life’s terms.  The Life of a controller is exhausting. By trying to play God, it can be very frustrating when things don’t go my way.
I’m too self-aware to tell anyone they need me to take control. However, I believe certain people do need (and want) me to take control because they prefer that I think for them.  My willingness to take control also reveals that I don’t trust them to take care of themselves on some level. I know this sounds like I put myself on a pedestal, but it’s my inner work.  I don’t want to feel this way. I would rather trust them.
To summarize, I can have this “Mom knows best attitude.”  One of my morning and evening affirmations that I say while brushing my teeth is this:  “What would it feel like to be ready, willing, and able to let go of the ‘mom knows best’ attitude, let others learn their own lessons, so we can deeply connect?
For most controllers, freedom is a high value, as indicated by “No one tells me what to do.”  The illusion is that our saboteurs can run the show and get better results than our Inner Sage, our Wise, Elder Self who leads from Love and not Fear.

Feelings Of A Controller



  • High anxiety when things are not going my way.
  • Angry and intimidating when others don’t follow.
  • Impatient with other’s feelings and different styles
  • Does feel hurt and rejected, although rarely admit to it.
While critiquing the various aspects of a controller, I am feeling a tug of shame, like “Ugh–I don’t like seeing THAT mirror.” These reflections are accurate though. It goes back to the “mom knows best” mentality.  Because I do feel like I’m a good thinker, very curious, analytical, and creative, I trust my opinions.  I probably have an over-inflated view of myself (insert Please Don’t Judge me).
I am triggered if I present a perfectly good idea or perspective and someone shuts me down. They refuse to hear what I have to say. So their EGO wall comes up, and in turn, my EGO meets theirs.

Get Curious Instead Of Defensive



Just the other day I was talking with Steve, my husband, of 20 years. He was complaining about something, which naturally begs me to “fix it.” Can you relate? We’ve been hired to solve the world’s problems, after all (LOL).
He wasn’t ready to hear what I was about to say (perhaps because he could feel some advice coming). Up until then, we’d been having a good conversation. Because I didn’t want to destroy the vibe, I got curious instead of defensive. 
I realized I was being over-powering with my need to be heard.  We both came up with some alternatives as to how to keep the connection.
His suggestion was that I could say, “Hey are you open to a win-win?”
My thought was, “How can we find a way to move forward in this conversation?”
Find what feels right for you.




When the controller is in charge, we lose our ability to connect. And then when others close the gate of communication because we’re being too controlling, we can get our feelings hurt, like I did with Steve. It would serve us well to remember that our true power lies in staying present and not letting our guard come up when others disagree with us.

Justification Lies Of Controller



  • Without the Controller, you can’t get much done.
  • You need to push people.
  • If I don’t control, I will be controlled, and I can’t live with that.
  • I am trying to get the job done for all our sakes.
As long as we come from a place of fear in trying to get others to do what we want, we will fail to connect and to have impact.  People can sense our energy and our need for things to turn out a certain way.
Example: If I approach Steve with a plan in which it requires him to do something my way, and I am attached to that, he will sense that. He will most likely reject my idea.
If instead I approach him with laid back, truly non-attached energy, he’s much more likely to go along. Have you ever experienced that? When you give people sincere choice, often they will choose to help you.  And remember this isn’t about your words. It’s about your energy behind the words.

Controller’s Impact On Self And Others



  • The Controller does get temporary results but at the cost of others feeling controlled and resentful and not able to tap into their own greater reserves.
  • Controller also generates a great deal of anxiety as many things in work and life are ultimately not controllable.
As I’ve mentioned, being a Controller is exhausting.  I went to a conference in Vancouver, Canada back in 2013 or 2014 I believe. There were probably 50 people in attendance.  They gave us an assignment to get on stage and present.  I can’t recall the exact instructions, but I remember demonstrating a daily prayer I’d learned from Robert Scheinfeld’s book, Busting Loose from the Money Game.
Standing with feet wide apart, head up, arms spreading to the heavens, I recited, “I am the power and presence of God creating everything I experience, everything. There is no power out there, not in anyone or anything. I am in Infinite Abundance, right here, right now.”
I’ll never forget the panel of judges’ assessment of me: Over-powering. I was put off by this. I thought, “They don’t know me. They are projecting onto me.” But were they? If I’m brutally honest with myself, I CAN and DO have over-powering, intense energy at times.
Especially if I really believe in something,  I can tend to push my beliefs onto others.  This is the case with close family members in particular.  After all, I’ve done the research, right?  No matter how we slice it, the Controller saboteur exudes a lot of power, to the point that it turns others off.  People don’t want to be controlled. They want to be respected, and they’d like for us to trust them.

Original Survival Function Of The Controller



( Underneath the bravado of the Controller there is often a hidden fear of being controlled by others or life. Controller is sometimes associated with early life experiences where the child is forced to grow up fast, be on its own, and take charge of its chaotic or dangerous surroundings in order to survive physically and/or emotionally. It is also associated with being hurt, rejected, or betrayed and deciding to never be that vulnerable again.
The Controller saboteur is often misunderstood. In truth, we have good hearts and really want to help. We are competent leaders who know how to fix problems. We would be using our talents wisely to lead worthy missions, causes, and projects.  What I just described is the SAGE aspect of the Controller. Remember the controller saboteur starts with an honorable intention, in this case, to help.
Because we didn’t feel safe in a chaotic environment growing up, we developed the saboteur as a coping mechanism, a means to survive. That’s when the gift of helping got taken too far, and now it’s bled over into and disrupted other people’s lives.

Do You Need Support?



If you find yourself in the scenarios of the controller saboteur, please don’t be hard on yourself.  We come by these coping mechanisms honestly.  There is another way.
My next free class, Heal Your Heart Healing Circle, will put you on a path to healing that just may surprise you in its simplicity. Register below. It’s our EGO that complicates things.  Please join me.
Much Love,
Angie Monko,
Life Coach for Intuitive Women Leaders

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