Do you find yourself trying to be in control of situations or others? If you stop and question the emotion that is riding along with you. . .it is fear? For some, having control makes them feel powerful. This week I hope to teach you different ways you might be exerting control and what emotion it is stemming from. I will also teach steps to work on overcoming this tendency. If you are new to the podcast or if you have been here before – welcome!
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Are you a control freak? Ok, maybe not a control freak, but you do like being in control right? Of course you do. We all do.
So what is control anyway?
The definition Google says; the verb means: to order, limit, or rule something or someone’s actions or behavior. The noun means: the act of controlling someone or something or the power to do this.
So why do we try to control things? The idea of control makes us feel like things will be easier. When we are in control we feel powerful. At ease. Relieved. Safer. Certain. And our brain, our primitive brain, likes certainty. Because certainty means safety. And safety, means life. So basically, we control things so that we don’t have to feel fear. Certainty is the opposite of fear. When we are certain, we aren’t afraid of what is going to happen, how people will behave, or how we will behave.
Being in control, or being a control freak, is you (or someone else) reacting to fear. Often we think that reacting to fear means we are running down the street screaming with our arms waving wildly. I picture the people running away from aliens, Godzilla, or the big tidal wave that’s coming to get them in the movies. But usually, we react to fear in very aggressive ways. We don’t act scared, we just try to control things so that we don’t have to feel the fear and instead we feel safe and certain.
We try to create certainty for ourselves by making plans, creating repetition and order. We create certainty by behaving in very specific ways or expecting others to behave in certain ways.
You may notice this in others too. When people try to control you it’s coming from their fear. Interesting, right?
But, control is always an illusion. We don’t actually have any power to control what people say, do, feel, or think. And we definitely don’t have control over things that happen (hello COVID!)
There is only ONE thing you do have control over. You!
- You can control how you want to think about things
- You can choose what thoughts you want to believe that your brain offers you.
- You can control your emotions.
- And you can control how you respond and act to people and your circumstances.
Why do we want to appear in control?
Often times we try to control situations so that our emotions don’t get the best of us. We are afraid of showing how we truly feel about something to others. So we try to control things so that we aren’t put in those kinds of situations. I see this all the time with couples around sex and relationships.
We have a fear that if we say something or do something our partner might think certain things about us. And if they did think those things, then we would feel ashamed, vulnerable, weak, silly, or incompetent. Those feelings seem really scary and so we want to avoid them at all costs.
But remember, emotions don’t have to be scary. We don’t need to fear them. They are just vibrations in our body and can’t actually hurt us. And if you are new to this podcast and haven’t heard me talk about this before, go back and listen to Episode 4.
I had a friend who’s husband had a fear of losing her. He had been abandoned by his mother at an early age and was scared of being abandoned by his wife. So, what did he do? He tried to control her. He tried to control everything about her. And guess what happened? She was tired of being controlled and divorced him.
I have a client who was scared to have another orgasm because she had one once and felt like she lost control of her body during that time and didn’t like it. She didn’t like that her body responded in ways that she wasn’t 100% in control of, so she didn’t want another one. She was afraid of what she looked like when her body lost control in ecstasy. She was afraid of what her husband thought of her when her body did that. That it wasn’t sexy or attractive. So, she went years without another one. Then she came to coach with me and learned that how her body responded was normal. I encouraged her to talk to her spouse about it and he had completely different thoughts! He loved seeing her lose control like that, especially knowing that it was brought on by him.
Sometimes it’s so funny what we try to control, when we really don’t have to.
Using the fear
So how do we get over the fear? How do we get over being a control freak? We need to utilize that fear in a way that serves you better.
The first step is awareness. Awareness of what you are thinking that is creating the fear. Be really compassionate with yourself on this. Even if the fear is irrational, it’s ok. You can tell yourself “I’m scared” or “I’m feeling fear and it’s ok”
Then, be willing to feel the fear. Remember, intense fear doesn’t mean intense danger.
It’s all in your mind. So welcome it. Let it be in your body. It won’t hurt you. Relax into it. Let it wash over you. Breathe. It will dissipate as you just allow it to be there. Again, be really compassionate with yourself as you do this. You aren’t used to letting yourself feel the fear. It’s ok.
When it has dissipated and you aren’t feeling it to such an intense level, then it’s time to question it. Question the thought that is making you feel the fear. Is it true? Is it reasonable? Is it what you want? Utilize this fear it in a way that serves you better.
Watch yourself this week and the things that you try to control or the things that you see others trying to control. No judgement. Just curiosity and compassion. And then it’s time to dig in. If you want some help with this, come into group coaching where we really help you figure this out so that fear and being a control freak doesn’t get in the way of you having the kind of relationship and sex life you truly desire.