Episode 8: Mental Wellness Vs. The C-word Taking Control
It can be hard to feel in control of anything, when there is so much uncertainty in life; but whilst we cannot control the effects of coronavirus at a global level, we can of course control how we respond.... not just in the current testing climate, but in all aspects of our life, every day. Feeling we lack control can leave us edgy, anxious or even despairing, but we have the capability of transforming our mindset with a single thought, resetting our mood with a few deep breaths or checking our responses with just a moments pause. It may seem unlikely, but with a little practice and awareness, you can effectively change your responses and mood for the better.
You are in control of you. The power of your mind is phenomenal. Use it to control the things you can, rather than fretting about the things you cannot.
So why is it that people feel the need to control others?
This tends to be driven by deep seated fears, that unaddressed, can lead to high anxiety; fear of being abandoned, fear of failure or appearing weak. These are common challenges and you may even recognise that you have some of these traits, as many of us do. Nurturing the cause of the anxiety can bring psychological relief and transform relationships for the better. It's very possible that you may notice an elevation in controlling traits in yourself or others, in response to the additional stresses caused from our current situation. Just being aware of this is a very positive start. Then you can decide on a course of action to make the positive shifts you'd like to achieve.
So what does it look like?
Escalating disagreements, verbal put-downs, questioning loyalty... insisting on things being done their way, discouraging differing opinions, talking over others... sound at all familiar? These are all signs of someone's insecurities and subsequent anxieties. They may be very successful at work and seem very capable, personable and engaging. They may have simply learned that love comes only with achievement or maybe they learned not to rely on or trust adults, despite a possibly nurturing home. We take on so many lessons in childhood, without the understanding, awareness and context we have post maturity, no wonder some of these are "false-truths". Controlling people frequently attach a deep sense of vulnerability about relying on others which can manifest in a number of ways. For some, this may be passive-aggressive tendencies, such as withdrawing affection or making the partner feel guilty. Others may use ultimatums to gain compliance to their way. Either way, these bahaviours are primarily born from fear, and that fear can be addressed.
If you find it hard to trust, feel hurt when a loved one doesn't agree with you, and frequently prompt arguments, you may decide you'd like to make some positive changes. This can bring a greater sense of well-being, improved relationship and a deeper sense of calm. You may feel it would be helpful to seek professional support in order to make the changes you desire, however, you can decide to work on your approach today; pausing and softening your language, encouraging opinions and discussion, taking time to calm your mind and breathing.
I'm here to answer any questions. These are not easy times, so keep being kind to yourself and others. Focus on the things you can control and remain alert to controlling traits, and reach out if I can be of support.