OYM Day 56: OYM & LTMI
I have control issues. I’m a control enthusiast. I don’t like the term “control freak”, but that’s probably just another thinly veiled attempt to control how you think of me when you read this. I find it so odd that of all the things I could be, controlling would be it. I say this, because all I ever want is less of it, or for someone else to be in charge. Or so I think.
My last therapist said I should be evaluated for an official diagnosis of OCD. That way I could be prescribed other medications, I guess? No, thanks. Often times the need to control stems from previous traumas, including abuse, neglect, you name it. It’s not just waking up one day and wanting everything to go your way.
I have very vivid memories of my need for control, starting at a very young age. I don’t remember the exact number, but I was still sharing a bedroom with my sister so I’d guess 7 or 8. I was always clean and tidy, but more than that, I really hated myself. The way I looked and the way I compared myself and my family to those I saw elsewhere. I started making decisions as a kid to change the way I might be perceived, really thinking about the way I dressed, who I hung out with, my impression on their parents, my teachers. I journaled a lot as a kid and I thought about going to the garage to dig them out before writing this, but it’s been at least 10 years since looking at them and I’m not sure I want open that can.
There are a few entries in particular that I can remember. One is about not being invited to a girls birthday party when I was in 5th grade. Many of my other friends were invited, but not me. It made me think that she must see through me and see what an awful person I was. Well, I couldn’t have that, could I?! So I called her house and asked if she wanted to come over and play the same day of her party. She said she couldn’t. What about the day before? She couldn’t. Maybe the day after? She put the phone down briefly and when she got back on, she invited me to her birthday party. Oddly enough, or not odd at all, this girl and I became great friends and stayed that way through most of high school and college. Showed her!
Another journal entry is in my 6th grade notebook, written in rainbow pen, and it talks about how I want to die. I just didn’t fit in with the people in my current world and I knew I was different and special. My guess is I was just having a bad day and needed some sort of release, so I wrote openly and honestly in my journal (and probably cleaned my room from top to bottom). I’ve mentioned it before in another post, but I’m quite certain I had diagnosable depression as a child. It came and went. I had a pretty great childhood and have many wonderful memories. Depression just kinda sat there most of the time, like a sack of scary potatoes. I can assure you that I really didn’t want to end my life. I just don’t think I knew how to handle how I felt. Saying I wanted to end my life was my way of having control over it. I knew I would never act on it, but having the control to do so was comforting somehow.
Control is just a side effect of stress, anxiety, and depression. For awhile I really thought I had my anxiety under control, but maybe I’ve just been disguising it at something else. Being in quarantine during this pandemic has really brought it back to light. It’s not a problem everyday, but when I’m dealing with a toddler sleep regression or a week of nothing to look forward to, I see it.
My control issues nowadays usually show up in the form of being exhausted. Exhausted from keeping the house just so, my kid happy, my husband as free of household and child work as possible (in fear that he might wake up one day and hate his life and leave us), and maintaining friendships, personal goals, and trying not to age. It’s a classic women’s tale, really. I end up tired, depressed, and wanting to down a bottle of wine in a single gulp.
Do you have control issues? How does your control take shape? What do you do to let go of it?
A lot of things people do to relax can easily become fuel to my control issues, like cooking, working out, personal grooming…to me those are all things I could obsess over. I’ve read about muscle tensing exercises. Maybe I’ll try that.
I’ve also read that perhaps I should delegate some of my daily duties to other people, to avoid being triggered by stress. It made me laugh to read, because needing help is not a part of the image I’ve crafted. I am self sufficient and don’t need anyone else to survive. I know this is an abandonment issue.
Man. Maybe I should have called this blog “Open Your Mouth & Listen To My Issues”. Woof.
In any case, I’m making some moves to let go of some control today, so hopefully tomorrow will be more lighthearted and peppered with swear words.