Control, Care-taking, Communication
I never thought I had any control issues. Nope, not me. But you see, control issues are sneaky little bastards. I thought everyone else had the issues and I was there to help and make it happen. If you were hungry, I fed you. If you were sad or angry, I tried to make you happy. If you were burdened, I would listen and carry the burden for you. I was the care-taker, the helper, the responsible one…
What I didn’t know was that my care-taking role was just holding hands with control. I needed you to need me and I would manipulate that (I didn’t realize it at the time) to try and make it happen. Now if that isn’t a control issue, I don’t know what one is!
If I did whatever it took to make your life better, easier, happier…then I could control my unhappiness, self-doubt, loneliness… I was trying to control everything around me to force peace in my life. And now for the slap in the face…I had no control over anything! It was all a delusion I had created. I felt I could be everything for everyone and in being everything for everyone I would be fulfilled and happy. What a wake-up call…I had control issues!
When I stopped trying to control everything that was happening in the lives of others, I was forced to see what was happening in mine. I was drained, empty, sad, lonely, depressed…you get the picture. Once I began looking inward (because you know I never wanted to do that), I began to understand how truly ugly my life was and it was because of me. Yeah, that was not a happy revelation but it certainly was necessary.
I had to learn that the only control I had was over myself; recognizing, acknowledging and meeting my own needs both physically and emotionally. I had to learn that I did not have control over “my life” because most times we don’t’ have any control over what happens in life (you know the saying, “shit happens”). I only have control over my reactions and responses to what happens in my life. How I react or respond is a choice and I get to control those choices.
The other thing I had to learn to control was communication. I sucked at communication. I could not ask for what I needed and I could not let someone know when I felt overwhelmed or like I was dying inside. I felt that if I did, I would be judged or ridiculed and others would think less of me. I could not say “no” to anything because I felt it would hurt, disappoint or anger someone. But, in order for me to have any kind of control over “me and my life” it was necessary to learn to communicate. I had to learn to let people know when I was unhappy, hurt or angry. I had to learn to say no. I had to learn what a “safe person” was with whom to share my burdens. I had to learn to let things out so that I could be healthy and grow.
As with all recovery, it was and still is a process but one so worth every minute of it!