A few times now I’ve seen the same facial expression of physical discomfort for the same reason and while I doubt all control freaks share it, I bet they all have some physical tick that appears under the same circumstances.
The reason for the discomfort is when they realise they are not going to get the credit for something that someone has done within their perceived area of control. This might be someone who works for them, or a colleague who does something special in an area they also cover or maybe just an area where that they want to move into and seize from others. To be clear though it does not happen when the person who gets the credit is recognised, but only at that point that they realise it won’t be them. The recognition could come a long time later by which time they’ve normally composed themself and put on an appropriate face of support, though not so overdone as to suggest that this is something they could not have done easily.
The mentality of this is interesting because most people assume that credit always goes to the person who deserves it, but control freaks know the truth, which is that the credit is entirely free floating. If they know how then they can pick it up wherever they find it. They don’t even have to pretend that they did the work behind it, nor do they need to cut the real person behind the work from the picture.
All they do is consider the group they want to get the credit from and think what is the single most important point about this work as far as that group are concerned and make it seem that they were the first to spot that. Preferrably by repeating this point over and over. Now if you are the person who actually did the work then you are normally trapped by your own involvement at this point. You can’t focus on just one point because you know you work you did is this rich tapestry of benefits and you feel compelled to at least give a glimpse of this, if not to reveal it in all its glory. Unfortunately the single-mindedness of the control freak in just stressing the one point means that will be all that sticks in most peoples’ minds and they end up with the credit not you.
But if by chance or by design you do spot that one most important point and state that publicly in a way that can’t be hidden or forgotten (they will certainly try both tactics so be prepared) then that’s when you will see the physical discomfort on the face of the one who thinks they’ve missed out. And if they are only a control freak in training then they might make the error of picking a less important benefit and trying to make it sound like that is the most important one. But by then it’s generally too late.