Sunday, December 26, 2010
Control -vs- In-Charge
I have been going to 12-step meetings for a little more than a year now. It took me almost 10 months before I bought a book to work through the 12 steps. It has taken me another 4 to get to the point that I am willing to start working through the questions in it! Here I am, looking straight into the eyes of 2011, and wanting to dive a little deeper into me, so I opened my work book, and decided that (most) every Sunday I would write about one question in the workbook, in order, from beginning to end, and without skipping any of them!
Step 1: We admit that we are powerless over others - that our lives had become unmanageable.
Question 1: Am I controlling? How?
I am far less controlling than I was when my children were young! Back then I had to make sure things were under control, otherwise I did not feel like we were safe. Controlling what the kids were doing, and how they were doing it kept us safe, in my mind. I could control what their dad was doing to some degree, and that kept us safe. So many things were out of control, and so unmanageable! I felt so powerless, but if I knew what to expect from the pattern of behavior, then I could know what to do to keep everyone safe.
I just got off the phone with my daughter. I told her I was writing on this question today. She said that yes, I am controlling, but that I want to control those things and situations that directly impact me, and my household. She told me that even when she was little, I did not try to control other people, except my kids, and that was my job. That she saw that I was not trying to control what her dad was doing, that that I was trying to control the situation that was out of control, that I was trying to bring order to the chaos.
I HATE chaos! I must have calm, and peace and order in my world. If I cannot have it in general, I would have it in what ever corner was mine to control. Sometimes that was simply my desk/office space at home, or my laundry room, or my dresser. When my life and finances and family was falling apart around me, I sought solace in cleaning and organizing my closets.
I do not have to be in control of things, but things but be under control! My body reacts with tension in my neck and shoulders when chaos reigns. I need for there to be a plan. A rhyme, a reason, a rhythm. There is a scripture in the bible that says to do all things decently, and in order, and that has been so true for me.
When my home is tidy, I can rest. When I understand how things work, I can roll with change. When I pack all the different outfits, I can be spontaneous with my boyfriend! But gee, what if he wants to take me out dancing, and I only have my dirty work jeans, and hiking boots! So I pack snuggle clothes, and going out clothes, and working in the yard clothes, and wandering around town clothes, and visiting the family and friends clothes ... now I can say YES! to anything he suggests we do! That is control, for me.
So, as I look at this question ... Am I controlling? It really is a question that requires a yes, or no, answer ... I feel like I can say, No, I am not CONTROLLING. I am in control, I am in charge.
I am in charge of my life. I am in charge of my household. I am in charge of my responsibilities. I don't expect anyone else to make my decisions, and I don't try to make decisions for people that I am not responsible for, and as my children grow and launch from my household, I don't try to decide for them. I offer suggestions, and counsel, and not always when they ask, and sometimes when they don't, but I offer my input, and can walk away knowing full well that they are intelligent young adults that I have trained well, and they can make their own decisions. And they can carry the responsibility for them.
I have control by knowing the ground rules, and functioning inside them. I have enough to do to keep myself safe and happy and warm and well, without trying to manipulate other people. If they do not see the wisdom that I offer, that is their own choosing, and I can rest well knowing that!
Peace and love to you all as we walk together in this quest to