Knowledge is power. The better we know ourselves and why we act the way we do, the better we are at handling those character defects that we have.
I like my white picket fence and manicured lawn. I like everything to fit in a nice little perfect box that screams normal and functioning. When challenges and issues would arise, I would put on my super hero cape to fly to the rescue. I would use all of my powers to control the situation to fit my will. My super powers consist of guilt, shame, tears, and threats. My poor husband didn’t have a chance.
Control issues are not new for me. I can recall having these since my early teen years. As I look back, there are things that I can recognize that contributed to them but that’s a whole other article.
I have checked up on my husband’s whereabouts on more than one occasion. I have a need to be sure of what he is doing and who he is with the majority of the time. Yes, it is as bad as it sounds, and it is very tiring. So what is one to do if they have control issues or lives with someone who does?
First, realize the issue. Most people with control issues don’t even realize they have the issue. It is true that acknowledging there is an issue is the first step to recovery.
Second, educate yourself on the problem. Control issues are caused by fear. We try to control because we are afraid. This fear can be many things. It can be a fear of rejection, hence checking up on the husband. It can be a fear of what others may think, so we put on the “everything is perfect” front and refuse to seek help for issues within our family. It can be a fear of rumination where we fear for the safety of our kids or spouse. In this fear, we try to control them to keep them safe, but yet we hurt them by not allowing them to truly live a free life to make decisions on their own.
Third, get honest with yourself. I needed to understand where my control issues came from, so I started asking myself the question of “why?” when I would think about checking up on my husband although he had given me no reason to suspect otherwise. My answers always came back to a fear of the “what if”. What if he’s cheating? What if he leaves me? I sat down and had to be honest with myself. What if he does leave me for someone else? Other than the emotional pain, I would be okay. I can take care of myself and my children, emotionally and financially. I had to be very honest about why I had lived this way for so long, and it was all fear based that I had never addressed. Living in fear is not living.
Control always comes back to some type of fear. That person may not acknowledge the fear, but it’s there in some form. They may not even truly know themselves what it is they are afraid of, hence the need for some self-awareness. Living with control issues is miserable for everyone involved.
I don’t wake up every day and not have struggles with past demons, but at least now I know what I am truly fighting. When those old fears come back and start to push my emotional buttons, I can realistically slow down my mind and think through what is going on instead of just reacting to the emotions.
Knowledge is power. The better we know ourselves and why we act the way we do, the better we are at handling those character defects that we have. This is the first step to the road to recovery and a much better life.
If you have control issues with people in your life, ask yourself, “Why?” Be really, really honest. The answers may surprise you.
Photo: Flickr/ smile_kerry