If you're part of the human race, you have no doubt spent a great deal of time attempting to manage the world around you to varying degrees. This is a normal, and at times, necessary part of life. However, for some of you trying to control events, and people, around you goes to a higher level.
Maybe, someone has accused you of being a 'control freak'. Perhaps, you self-identify as one. I have met certain individuals who even wear this title as a badge of honor. Do you have obsessive-compulsive behaviors or always have to be in charge? This is not because you are mentally ill or controlling. Rather, at some point in your life, things felt very out of control, and this was the way you had to begin adapting.
Fear of letting go
Now, if you attempt to relinquish control to whatever degree, you experience a marked increase in anxiety. Does this resonate with you? Others in your life do not understand how difficult it can be for you to let the house be less than perfect or to 'just relax'.
As a trauma specialist, I discovered early on that if you did not identify and resolve individuals trauma or unprocessed emotional memories, asking them to make behavioral changes in areas related to control could not only be difficult but were often terrifying and painful. All these behavioral patterns were a resource for the individual. It was parallel to telling an alcoholic or addict, "Why don't you just stop drinking?" "That's the solution to your problem."
Developing an internal sense of control
The key to developing an internal sense of control begins with going inside yourself and exploring what feels out of control and why. You can then get help resolving and regulating your emotional world, which will allow you to stop trying to control, and be controlled, by things outside of yourself. Believe me, things then start to get a lot more quiet and peaceful.
As always, be kind and patient with yourself. This is a process. If your anxiety goes to a high level or past traumatic memories come flooding in, get help from a professional like myself. You really can free yourself from the need to manage everything around you. I don't need to tell you how exhausting it is. Remember, this is not a character flaw but an adaption to previous emotionally painful circumstances. Take charge of your life today by mastering your internal world.
John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.
John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance.