Saturday, January 29, 2011
Regaining Control of my life, by Letting go of Controlling others
Step 1, in the Co-dependent's Anonymous program says, "We admitted were were powerless over others - that our lives had become unmanageable." That, at first glance was a no-brainer for me!
Long before I had ever even heard of Co-dependency, or even considered a 12-step recovery program for what was happening in my life, I knew that my life and my world were totally out of control. I was stressed, and had developed a diagnosed anxiety disorder that I was being medicated for. I had gained a lot of weight that I had no control over. I had severe and often debilitating muscle pain in my neck and shoulders. I had migraines. I had insomnia. I had high blood pressure. I behaved hyper-actively. I was controlled by fear. But I was not at that time recognizing that those were symptoms of a far deeper, yet unidentified problem.
Part of the solution for me was was to orchestrate order into my life. Of course, there were other human beings that were part of my life, so, in order for me to have my peace, and calm and tranquility, they had to be compliant with my plan. And so began the "training" process. My fear drove me. I was stressed, and often acted out harshly against those closest to me, namely my children. My standards were high, and I demanded the best people were capable, rarely settling for less.
I did not want to be in control! But I desperately needed things to be in control. And if they were not, and no one else was stepping up to the plate, then I would. It was for my own security, my own peace of mind, and the betterment of others ... so I told myself.
But really, how did this benefit me? The other participants balked, and fought against me and complained, and still went about their own path, causing me even more chaos, and distress, and anxiety, and discord. The more I was willing to take control, the less the others had to.
I felt powerless. I felt trapped by the irresponsibility of another. I felt hopeless. I was in despair, and depression.
Until I realized that I had to release that other person, totally. I had to stop being responsible for that person. I did not have to provide a platform for that person to cause me grief, and hardship, and additional effort. I could honestly, and freeingly, release that person to make their own choices, and path, and figure out how to make it work for them. It did not have to be on my shoulders, or my dime, or my time, any more.
I was liberated, empowered. I could see a clearer, healthier path, at that point in my heart and mind, though not yet in my physical life. I could see the path to being a free spirit again ... the cage door had been opened so that I could fly when I was strong enough. That was not instantaneous, it was, and in some ways, still is, a growth process.
And still the growth process is happening for me, and I am faced everyday with new challenges in opening my heart, and building my courage, and sharing my story.
My hope is that through my sharing, I continue to be empowered myself, and you are encouraged to be so, as well!