Robotman and I have a big laugh about how a couple of people have suggested I am controlling of him.
I will admit that in the beginning of our relationship I had a very bad habit of answering for him but that was more out of hyperactivity and himself not answering quick enough, than actually answering for him.
I am very self-aware, though, so I quickly nipped that in the bud.
We would both agree that I am the ‘household manager’ in that I make all the decisions RE household but that’s not to say that robotman doesn’t give his twopence worth, which he does regularly.
I will also say that I am very aware that in a lot of ways I am ‘controlling’ or even a bit OCD.
I have come to realise, though, that my OCD is more of a survival instinct than a real part of myself and the more I heal old wounds the more I let it go.
This post is about my journey to realising that I just want to chill the f*ck out and step away from the control.
So where does the need for control come from?
When I get stressed or anxious I definitely have a strong need to control my surroundings.
Not necessarily other people- just my surroundings.
Examples would be seen in regards to timekeeping, not walking on the lines on the ground, having everything straight in the house, controlling my diet, writing lists and being overly organised.
This all started after I got hit unconscious by a car when I was 10.
I went from being a carefree, wild, adventurer to a fearful, anxious and quiet child.
I didn’t know how to talk about it and the hospital never suggested any sort of child psychologist for the shock.
I would pinpoint this as the start of my anxiety leading to a need to control my surroundings.
But there is one particular experience that I have been working on to help let go of my anxiety that has hit me so severally over the last few years.
At one stage in my life I had allowed an overly critical person get under my skin.
They enjoyed reminding me and others about how imperfect I was- in every way- physically, professionally- even in my personality.
I was completely unacceptable. They poked holes in everything- even my relationship with robotman.
It wasn’t a direct attack.
It was subtle, so when I tried to gently confront it everything could be denied and I ended up looking and feeling like a looper.
Classic narcissist (them, not me I swear).
I regularly found myself trying to defend my whole being to a person who hated me no matter what I said, did or looked like.
I think they hated me before they even met me.
Anyway, I changed everything about myself. I changed my job, I changed my weight, I even changed my personality.
I changed it, not so that they would accept me but just so that they would stop psychologically beating the sh*t out of me.
I was only a kid, you see. A fool.
The reality was that even after I changed all the things ‘wrong’ with me, this person still held me with contempt. They still told others what a bad person I was.
The lies grew bigger and thankfully, their lies got so out of control they actually got caught out. I had proof that I wasn’t insane and others started to realise that I might just not be as bad as they said I was.
Once I realised that no matter whether I was my true self or my fake self I was still going to be criticised, lied about and hated so I scoffed at what a fool I had been and started on my return journey.
I returned to myself. I let her out again- the restless, wild, hyper-active, unpredictable, zealously happy elemental creature that I am.
The hate got stronger. The games become more clever and covert but they had no effect on me anymore.
I realised that it was perfectly acceptable to not like this person.
You see, the naive part of myself had always believed that I should like everyone. That deep down inside, everyone is just a broken child.
I still believe that but that doesn’t mean I have to like and respect everyone.
Don’t get me wrong, I will always behave respectfully and with integrity but that doesn’t mean I have to have respect for everybody.
My inner voice has become stronger. I don’t respect the opinions of people who are critical and judgmental of others.
Since I have let go of the need to be accepted the rejection doesn’t hurt anymore.
I have started focusing on all the positive people in my life and there are so many.
So going back to my original question: Where did my need for control come from?
Fear of imperfection.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of criticism.
Fear of judgement.
It is said that one of humans basic needs is acceptance.
It fascinates me the lengths a person will go to just for acceptance.
I have come to realise that I don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like me.
I have come to accept that yes, I am completely and utterly imperfect.
The more I accept my imperfection, the less need I have for acceptance outside of myself.
The more I let go of this need for acceptance the less need I have for control.
I am more free to go with the flow- which is my true self.
I have spent years psychoanalysing why someone would act so hostile and aggressive to another.
I have spent years wondering why anyone would tell lies about another person.
I have spent years going over conversations- trying to figure out when I had behaved so badly that I deserved this treatment.
I have come to realise that this person is just living in fear too.
By rejecting me they had control over me.
They had no control over themselves- that was clear enough through their behaviour.
But they had figured out a way to control my happiness.
They were nice and warm to me on Monday- so on Monday I was happy and secure.
Then they would pull that string on Tuesday and treat me with hostility and aggression- so on Tuesday I would cry myself to sleep.
Then on Wednesday they’d be nice to me again but another person would be hating on me, conveniently after chatting to this person.
By telling lies about me they controlled my relationship with others. They controlled the depth of our relationship by ensuring there was always an ‘issue’ with me and always a bar between us.
They had placed themselves in the centre of every relationship they had access to, whispering in ears.
Telling me what so and so said and then telling so and so what I said. Leaving out context and tone of voice, of course, so it always sounded worse than it was.
It was a time of torture in my life. Every day was psychological torture.
I think I’d rather they just beat me to a pulp so that my bruises could at least be on the outside.
The more I danced their tune the more control they were in.
Isn’t it funny how this started off with me recognising the need to let go of the reigns only to discover that my frantic anxiety for control was actually a result of handing it over to some fuckin’ miserable eejit?
I am pretty sure, though, after all the working out I have done over this issue I am pretty sure their behaviour just stems from the same fear.
Their behaviour is learned. It is their go-to behaviour.
I am obviosuly triggering something in them that leads them to this fear.
Maybe they too fear their own imperfection and by focusing on everything that is wrong with me they feel better about themselves- or it distracts them from being self-aware.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not the fool I once was.
I can feel compassion for their condition but that doesn’t mean I need to rekindle our relationship.
You see, at the end of the day- I can’t control anybody. Not one person.
I don’t want to.
I do however, have control over myself.
I can control whether or not to allow someone to hurt me.
I can control myself when I get anxious and try to control my surroundings.
I can realise that controlling surroundings doesn’t make the anxiety go away- it just masks it for a little while.
I hope that you have taken something from this piece and if you have made it this far I would like to thank you for taking the time- It is so personal to me that I found it hard to shorten.
I hope that you realise that if someone has control over you that you can take it back right now- this instant.
You can do that by letting go of the need to be accepted by them.
Accept that they will never accept you and focus on the people in your life who don’t put you through the hoops- they are much easier company, I assure you.
You cannot change them. You cannot change their behaviour.
And what if I am the controller? You might be brave enough to ask yourself.
In that instant, I will advise you to become more aware of feelings in your body.
Try to connect with where those feelings are coming from and heal them.
Realise that controlling others around you is just a temporary fix- it just masks your feelings of insecurity and fear. It is not real and here is only so long you can pull it off before you have either destroyed a person or lost them.
How have I been releasing control these last few weeks?
- Any time I feel over-anxious about a small issue I purposefully do the opposite of what I think is ‘the right way’ so that I realise it the world doesn’t end when things don’t go my way
- When I feel anxious over untidiness in my house I purposefully let it go untidy for as long as it takes for me to realise that it actually isn’t the end of the world
- I spend more time outdoors- nature is full of complex irregularities and imperfection and yet it is so magnificently perfect
- When I beat myself up for having an imperfect appearance I remind myself that those thoughts come from outside of myself from magazines and the occasional asshole who cannot see beyond the physical whose opinion I don’t respect anyway
- I take deep breaths
- I run
- When I am feeling weak or vulnerable over my experience being bullied I do some strength training- sometimes feeling strong on the outside helps your inside to catch up
- Strength training is also a positive way of practising healthy control because you need to be really focused and controlled in your movements
- I practise controlling myself- controlling my temper, my tongue, my reactions. It’s much harder but less damaging to others
Have you any tips, tricks or links yourself? I would love to hear where you are at in your journey to step away from the control.
Thanks for listening.