Control Freaks Please Stand Up
Let’s face it, there’s a little bit of the control freak in all of us, (as you will soon find out when you take the quiz below). We all have a need to control something in our lives, but what’s healthy and when have you gone too far?
Growing up I always heard my Dad say “It’s My way or the Highway” and he probably still thinks like that today, BUT my Dad cut me a lot of slack in my life and let me learn life’s lessons myself through trial and error, which I was very grateful for and still am today! It was my mom who silently stood in the background trying to control everyone and everything that came within 100 yards of her radar, (which she still does today).
I happen to be a strong personality and my mom’s clutches failed to capture me into her snare, (which is why I was ex-communicated from the family, and labeled the Black Sheep). She still weaves her spider’s web but without me in it. The entire experience is what it is, and I was able (through much forgiveness work) let my Mom continue to be who she is, and my Dad who he is.
Do you have rigid rituals that you absolutely won’t budge from? Are you your own worst enemy and severely critical of yourself? Do you try to control the outcome of situations because you just “know” it would be better for everyone concerned? People who feel out of control themselves tend to become controllers. Deep down, they’re afraid of falling apart, so they micromanage to bind anxiety.
Working with domestic violence as long as I did, I understand yet another area of control, a volatile existence which could blow up at any time and put you in harm’s way. If you feel you may be involved in a controlling relationship, there is help available for you.
Before I go any further, stop and take the two quizzes below, to find out where you stand on the scale of control. (Go ahead I’ll wait).
When my youngest daughter Shayna was in grade school I read a book and took a course on Parenting with Love & Logic. I highly recommend this if you’re a parent. I wish I would’ve studied it sooner. It basically highlights the different approaches of parenting so you can see for yourself, if you’re on of those controlling parents, (which I was).
I thought I was doing the right thing by teaching my girls right from wrong but what I realized is I wasn’t letting them make their OWN choices. For example, if it’s cold outside instead of INSISTING that your child put on his jacket and starting an all out Cold War, simply ASK him whether he’d like to “wear the blue jacket or the red jacket?” This approach literally saved my life and taught me how to allow my children to make their own choices. Sometimes as parents we think we know what’s best for our children, but allowing them to make their own choices is empoweringand they’ll be better off later on down the road when you’re NOT there to tell them what to do!
I wasn’t always that way and I had to learn the hard way. One year when I was married to Fred, my second husband and Neysa was about eleven years old we went to the 100th Bomb Group for a huge Thanksgiving Day buffet. Everyone was dressed in their Holiday best and we had been through the line once or twice already and it was time for dessert. My oldest daughter Neysa wanted to go up to the dessert buffet but hadn’t eaten her stuffing. I told her to eat her stuffing before she could go to the dessert buffet. She said she didn’t like it. Well myself playing the role of Mommy Dearest so perfectly insisted she eat the stuffing before dessert. What happened next instantly cured me of ever making my kids eat something they didn’t want to ever again. She threw up all over the table, yep, right there for the whole world to see!
I’ve come along way since those days…
What you CAN and CAN NOT Control…
- You can’t control the weather BUT You can control moving to weather you like
- You can’t control your In-Laws BUT You can control how often you visit them (and vice versa)
- You can’t control the behavior of your spouse (or anyone for that matter) But You can control if you stay with them or not
- You can’t control a mean-spirited boss BUT You can control whether you stay or go, and you can mentally bless him everyday
- You can’t control who your kids fall in love with BUT You can control how you chose to raise them and the activities and people you introduced into their world
- You can’t control the government BUT You can vote, petition, boycott, etc.
- You can’t control all the chemicals they put in foods BUT You can control where you shop and what you choose to buy
Now let’s talk about money and the power money has in the hands of the people who hold it…Money gives people a lot of control but we can also make choices in how we deal with money and the power issues involved with money. There are too many control issues involving money for me to go into here but a common one is children who come from wealthy parents and IF they don’t live according to the code of rules the wealthy parents have laid down then they risk losing all their inheritance, (which many children have given up for freedom.) Then there’s all the horror stories I’ve heard about parents and their children’s weddings. If the parents are footing the bill that does not give them carte blanche to call all the shots, it’s not THEIR wedding. Thank God arranged marriages are a thing of the past (or are they?)
Where Does Control Come From and How to Let it Go
- Control is rooted in FEAR
- Control is attached to a certain outcome
- The energy of Surrender accomplishes more than the energy of Control
Making the shift from Control to Surrender simply means letting go of the oars. Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to help you make that turn around:
- What am I afraid will happen if I let go of control? (is Byron Katie ringing a bell?)
- Who’s boat ARE you in? Control what’s in YOUR boat, everything outside of your boat, is everybody else’s business and NOT yours!
- Would letting go feel like freedom?
For more info Control & the Art of Surrender
“If you’re not sure if you trying to control something…ask yourself what’s in it for you?” ~ Eva Starr