I am constantly amazed at how often an old, experienced, feisty, independent person like me is out-of-control. It’s true. Every day I think, feel, say and do things that I don’t agree with myself about. If I had more self-awareness, more self-control, more connection between my own values and my daily living….if if if…can you relate?
Because I’m old, I am more aware of this than I once was – but even my hyper-vigilance regarding my codependency issues does not cure me of the dis-ease of living more aware of others than myself. It does not automatically reverse the patterns of my attempts to control others in countless ways.
Remember that I previously suggested we aren’t aware of our need for control, so today I am here to help us wrestle with that perspective. Here’s how I do it:
- I try to control other people’s opinions of me by tailoring myself to fit into my perception of their needs and wants. This is why I NEVER discuss my political views EVER to ANYONE. I have friends all over the map politically, there is no way I am stepping into that arena of conversation. This is an example of a person (me) with antennae up and reading the thoughts and feelings of others, dependently caring more about their opinions than my own. However, the truth is that I pay much more attention to the political arena than I am willing to disclose. And for the record, I have some pretty strong opinions.
- I try to control others when I attempt to alter their moods, beliefs, and actions. I try to cheer my children up, for example, when they are sad. I try to tell them why something horrible they experienced might just have a silver lining. Why do I do this? Because I DON’T LIKE HOW I FEEL WHEN MY BABIES ARE HURTING. Ok, every parent does not want their children unhappy. I get that, no emails required. But I am UNHEALTHILY attached to the moods of those I love. And I would rather alter their moods than deal with the reality that people I love get hurt, and there is not a darn thing I am SUPPOSED TO DO OTHER THAN BE PRESENT FOR THEM. Their moods are for them to regulate as are my moods my responsibility.
If you struggle with codependency, it is possible that you think these examples are ridiculous. That is fine. I am remembering today that your thoughts are not my responsibility! But consider the possibility that you might also be attempting to control others as an unhealthy way to protect yourself from taking responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings and choices.