One of the things I have found the most challenging on this trip to self-discovery I find myself on is learning I can’t possibly have control of everything.  That’s right, I said it.  I’ll even repeat it: I can’t possibly have control over everything.  And no the sky didn’t fall nor did I drop dead upon writing it.


Now, just because I can write it doesn’t mean I like it.  I most certainly do not.  I like being in control.  Not so much because other people aren’t capable.  More because I do it right.  And for those who might have missed it, that was a joke.


First let me define what I mean when I talk about being in control.  I mean receiving no help from outside sources if at all avoidable.  I mean dictating the terms of all human interaction.  I mean letting someone else in only so far and erecting a three foot wide twenty foot tall stone wall to keep them from getting any farther.  I mean practicing the art of being the only person I need.


Why is this so important to me?  One word:  Safety.  Safety from the unexpected.  Safety from the unknown.  Safety from embarrassment.  Safety from having to admit I can’t do everything.  Safety from dependence on people who are not dependable.  Safety from those undependable people hurting me.


There you have it.  Control for me is ultimately about not being hurt.  If I am in control the only person who can inflict harm upon me is me.  Obviously there are some significant flaws in that logic.  For example it does not take into consideration madmen with chainsaws, drunk drivers or charming young men who make it difficult to remember I am in control.


Loopholes you can drive a bus through.  I am well aware of this.  It doesn’t change the fact that I cling to this notion with remarkable tenacity.  Control is the life preserver to my drowning man.


It’s hard to try and be in control all the time.  It’s exhausting.  There’s a huge part of me which wants to throw up her hands and leave that crutch behind.  Unfortunately it has become so ingrained in me it’s a reflex.  If I want to let someone help or get past the battlements I have to maintain constant vigilance to stop myself from undermining my own best intentions.


Practice makes perfect as they say.  Perhaps if I keep working at it, the whole thing will become easier.  There’s really only one way to find out….  


2 responses

  1. Oh, my goodness, it’s interesting you wrote this today. I was talking about some of these very same issues with my therapist this morning! I am in the midst of similar struggles. I have had to ask for and accept a ton of help the past month, as I had a major surgery. It’s required so much letting go, letting people into my home, letting them clean and care for my children differently [you should see my 64-yo father try to use cloth diapers!].

    I have also been slowly working on letting more of myself out into the open for people to see, which requires a lessening of control, and it is causing me a bunch of fear. My whole life I have had a wall around me to keep me safe and make sure everyone would think I’m great. But when you realize you can’t control everything, and you don’t like the fake person you show everyone, and you’re exhausted with trying to look good, and you don’t even know who you are anyway, then it’s time to change, no matter how afraid you are.

    Take heart! I think it is getting a bit easier (I can now tell people what to do around the house when they come to help me – I even let them clean the toilet!!). My therapist was encouraging me today to remember what helps support me and do it or ask for it. I encourage you to do the same. What supports you as you uncover these difficult emotions? For example, for me it is talking with friends, journaling, art therapy, getting out in nature, finding a mentor, and other things.

    I hope you keep writing about your thoughts through this journey. I am grateful I have found you and a few other women who are going through similar life phases. It makes me feel like I’m not so weird!

  2. I know exactly what you mean – controlling everything is so safe, even relationships are free game, despite knowing how disastrous it can be. I’m going through the same thing myself, oddly enough. trying not to force anything to turn out the way i would prefer it to turn out just because i think it would be better. rolling with the punches and going with the flow… everyday is a struggle to relax! haha…

    it’s gets easier with more practice though. (knock on wood)

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