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Letting Go of the Need to Control

!By Mim

I am feeling so excited.  I have started to understand something so big, so mad, so cosmic and so comical!!  It’s about a whole pattern of behaviour that I’ve had since forever, and that I’ve learned is common to so many women (and also men!), and I can’t stop laughing at the behaviour, at myself, and at how funny it all is and how good I feel.  I actually wrote a completely different post a few days ago, that I never quite finished.  I intended to complete it this morning, but things have happened in the last few days and when I went back to what I wrote I realised it wasn’t what I want to say.  So I want to write about what has been happening over the last couple of weeks.

It’s a thing about needing to control.  And I never even thought of myself as an uptight control freak until now.  Cynthia gently pointed it out exactly 13 days ago, and I couldn’t see it at all.  I didn’t know what she was getting at.  But she did, and Pete did, and Billy (my partner) did.  Billy definitely saw this controlling thing in me, and I trusted his integrity in saying this.  If Billy agreed, I was going to listen.  So ok, it was real, but I couldn’t see it for myself – couldn’t see it in myself.

In fact that message was enough.  I started to notice it.  All sorts of little things.  Mad stuff.  Making things seem important that weren’t, so they had to be done a certain way.  I absolutely had to control them.  Otherwise terrible things would happen.  Collapse!  Catastrophe!  Only I’d invented the importance in the first place.  It wasn’t real.

At first this was really difficult.  Not funny at all.  I felt really serious about this controlling behaviour, and desperate to stop doing it, and there I was trying to control my controlling. That lasted for at least a couple of days, in which I felt worse and worse: really irritated and bad tempered, plus an inevitable row with Billy.

So that strategy didn’t work at all.  I was adding another layer of control; just another problem. And much more important, it wasn’t the control itself that was the problem, but the need to control.  An altogether deeper tangle!

When I realised that controlling the controlling wouldn’t work.  I took an internal “step” back, and decided just to notice, without trying to change anything.  By now I wasn’t so irritated, but I was feeling quite down.  The problem seemed bigger than I’d ever imagined.  It seemed to pervade everything I did.  I wanted to change and had no idea how to.

And just at that time, Pete & Cynthia and Billy & I had a group meeting, and I expressed how tough I was finding it, dealing with my need to control. What was really amazing was that everyone, even Billy, said I’d already changed.  By simply noticing my need to control, I was being less controlling.  Somehow the act of letting myself notice, of removing the “curtain” that I was holding to hide my behaviour from myself – this in itself had unwound my controlling-ness a notch.  (I realise now that holding up that curtain, hiding myself from myself, was another layer of control that I’d set up – another unreality.)

And yesterday, in the women’s group, I found that people I knew well and people I didn’t know so well were all noticing the difference in me.  And today, only 13 days after that first conversation, I feel like I’ve understood, really “got” at least something about how this need for control works.  It may be only some of the picture – actually I know it’s not the whole picture – but who cares, it’s BIG.  The penny has dropped!  The true depth of the unreality that I invent.  And I feel fantastic!  So liberated that I can’t describe it.  Enormously happy and fuller and richer and grateful.  Very blessed.

This isn’t just about how I feel.  I do feel great, but I also realise that this isn’t only about me.  I have changed, and that means I’m being different with other people. I’m able to give more.  To be more clear.  Something about my unwinding, and about really asking myself what is reality, what is TRUE (and asking myself so many times a day) seems to have liberated something that is beyond just “me”.

Stayed tuned…!


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Tux says, “This is what Ive been telling you all along Mim, just let go…and keep petting me 😉

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