Got Control Issues? Welcome to the Club
I have control issues. Yes, I said it. I have control issues.
My partner has been away for over a month now and I am in the powerful process of truly seeing the extent to which my control issues have interacted in our relationship. Distance not only makes the heart grow fonder, it also illuminates the unconscious patterns at play.
So the question I am asking myself today is this, “How do I begin to resolve and heal my relationship with control?” First off, my sense is that this is a powerful process of continued discovery and learning. It begins by compassionately facing and accepting what I have been up to.
What I have been up to:
When I am feeling afraid (which can look like overwhelm, stress, hurt, and pain) my body contracts and my breathing gets shallow. With lightening speed, my mind/ego reacts, calculating a way to feel safe. Funny thing is, my mind does not focus on healthy ways to create more safety on the inside of me - like with deep breathing and placing a loving hand on my heart. Instead, it instantly goes external in its focus. The lack of safety on the inside of me feels so intense that it fixates on anything outside of me to create some semblance of safety.
This focus on the external is our Control Strategy. But as many of you know it never seems to give us the sustained safety that we crave (akin to putting a tiny, pink, polka dotted bandaid over a gaping wound). We gain only an instant of relief from our fear by controlling something or someone in our environment. But a moment later the fear is back with a vengeance. So we fix, control, or manage our external reality again. And again. And again.
How do we stop this cycle of control and create something healthier?
1. Facing & Naming:
It starts with facing that fear has made an appearance within you. Perhaps asking yourself, “I wonder if I am feeling afraid right now?” Then breathing and naming, “I am feeling afraid right now.” By doing this, you slow down the mind’s compulsion to fix your internal discomfort with maladaptive external strategies.
2. Inquiry & Presence:
Take the time to illuminate your relationship with fear. When you are feeling afraid, stressed, overwhelmed or hurt, ask yourself, “What am I actually afraid of right now?” Then ask, “And what am I really afraid of about that?” And then with plenty of breath, ask again, “And what am I really afraid of about that?” Going deeper and deeper with this question until you land on the root of your fear. Once there, BREATHE. Place a hand on your heart, feel, and breathe some more. This process can sometimes take only a few minutes and the amount of clarity and relief it generates is well worth the time.
When I asked myself these questions I found that my primary fears are of being abandoned and alone. When I went deeper, there was a story I had made up, that if I was alone, it was because I was flawed and I was not enough. Taking some deep breaths into that place, a voice emerged that just said, “I am broken and I am not good enough.” It is powerful to see that so many of my coping strategies - like control - stem from a desire to get as far away from that story as possible. What if... just what if.... I took the time to BE with that place inside of me that feels deficient and incomplete? What if I took the time to love that place? I wonder what might happen?
This is my current journey at the moment.... thank you for being with me.
Sending you all tons of love,