I admit it. I’m a Control Freak.
There, I’ve said it. Isn’t that the first step in an addiction problem, admitting your addiction? Now, what do I do with the rest of this since I’ve yet to find a 12 step program for Control addictions.
I recently realized how stressed I’ve been and wondered why I’ve been having trouble getting to sleep and then, waking up in the mornings. It wasn’t until 2:30 a.m. when I looked at the clock for the tenth time in less than a half hour that I realized there was chatter going on in my head that was so loud and non-stop that I couldn’t believe that my snoring husband or the neighbors nextdoor hadn’t been woken up with it. I was thankful that it was just in my head but, wished there was a mute button to turn it all down and let me get some sleep.
I’m one of those people who try to foresee everything that could possibly be or go wrong in order to find a solution for it before it happens or, if it happens. The problem is, whatever is really a problem, rarely is ever one of the hundred scenarios that I’ve worked out in my mind. It’s usually something comes out of the blue that never crossed my mind that becomes the issue or, I end up finding out that there wasn’t a need for any of it at all.
As a child, I grew up in a dysfunctional household where anything could happen at any given time. It could be anything from the most absurd and silly to the horrific and dangerous. Whichever it was, I found myself trying to think ahead so that I could at least, attempt to counter it before it happened to save myself either discomfort or embarrassment. Either way, it really boiled down to a fear of not having control over situations.
While that type of thinking had a foundation at that particular point in my life, I find now that it serves absolutely no good at this stage. As a matter of fact, it’s causing more problems for me than any situation I could encounter ever could create for me. Adding to that, I’ve found myself also trying to control my husband’s and daughter’s issues as well. Not a good scenario because I’m considered meddling by doing so…even though it is done out of love and concern versus wanting simply to control them.
Control usually is born out of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, hurt and all sorts of other negative emotions. It’s really all about the fear of pain or discomfort in some form or another. It could even be about trying to stop pain or discomfort for someone else that we love. Of course, at the bottom line of everything, even with trying to control someone else’s pain, we’re also still trying to control our own because if they’re unhappy, we also feel that discomfort.
However, since control is usually about fear of pain or discomfort, can we be causing ourselves more pain and discomfort by trying to control everything to avoid it? I’ve realized that with all of the control that I’m trying to have, I’m putting myself through a literal wringer. Every negative emotion I am trying to avoid, I’m giving to myself through the process of trying to control everything. I’m feeling the fear, dread, worry and oftentimes, rejection from others as I try to control their circumstances for them. In effect, I’ve created all of the things that I’ve tried to avoid feeling, tripped over my own two feet and become a total basketcase which renders me ineffectual in a lot of different ways. I am, for all intents and purposes, tripping over my own two feet and getting in my own way.
So, what’s the answer to this control issue?
Letting go of the steering wheel and have trust and faith that everything will work out somehow. It’s all about trusting self to deal with what needs to be dealt with, if it needs to be dealt with and only then.
That’s not to say that we stop making decisions and simply react to whatever is dished out to us in Life. It’s simply meaning that we’re not conjuring up solutions to problems that don’t exist at the moment and realizing that if or when there is something that we can or need to deal with, we will do it. It means, living in the moment and not looking ahead too far or doing so with visions of disaster dancing through our heads.
This is one of the most powerful of prayers that there is towards giving us pause to stop and put the perspective back into situations.
Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change those things that I can,
Wisdom to know the difference
The key for me, seems to be in realizing that not everything is in my power or hands to be able to control. I need to learn that difference and accept that Life has its own way of working things out for us if we let it.
So, I’m leaning back on my sail boat, letting go of the wheel, allowing the wind to take me where I need to go but, knowing that if I need to steer around some obstacle, I have the power to do so quite nicely. I can’t, nor do I need to radio ahead to figure out every potential hazard that may lurk ahead. I only need to be aware and act when necessary and knowing that I can and will handle it somehow.