Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Self-awareness And Healing Controlling Behaviors

Page 216, The Invisible Force: 365 Ways to Apply the Power of Intention to Your Life, written by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer:

"Be aware that learning to identify ways in which you're creating your own obstacles can be tremendously enlightening."

I have been blessed to use books like this one at different stages in my healing to give me more self-awareness. Only though self-awareness does healing have a chance of happening.

I used the 12-Step programs of Adult Children of Alcoholics and Al-Anon to give me self-awareness too. Those meetings taught me about self-worth, dysfunctional behaviors and the dysfunctional family system that resists all change. 

Those meetings introduced me to the books Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency both written by Pia Melody. I learned about abandonment and my own controlling behavior. I was able to identify a behavior that was causing me major unhappiness in my life---controlling.

Trying to control everything and everyone in my life in order to feel safe only created more obstacles for me to overcome during my healing process. The stress that I was creating for myself with my own behavior was unbelievable. The perfectionism and responsibilities that I put on myself were too much, but I didn't know how to live without them. In the dysfunctional family system of my childhood, I was the family hero and taught that I had to be perfect or I wasn't good enough and I was always at fault. I was also given the responsibility to make everyone else happy, often at my own expense. All of those set me up to become a controller as an adult. Add on that I thought if I could control everything that I would be safe from abuse.

The 12-Step slogan "Let Go And Let God" helped me tremendously. I made lots of mistakes and lots of apologies as I changed my controlling behaviors. I used affirmations like the one above to help me see and change my behavior. I did lots of writing and talking to friends and in 12-Step groups as I figured things out and got new self-awareness. I looked at the lies of my abusers and at the lies that I told myself. While learning to love myself, I looked at what was my responsibility and what was not. I read every book I could find about incest, alcoholic family systems and codependency. 

For 3 years, I used a God Box to teach me the principle of "Let Go And Let God". If you don't like the idea of God, use the Universe or your own Higher Self. Call the box whatever you want or don't call it anything. Do what is necessary to let go of the stuff that is not yours to handle. I will leave a link at the bottom of the page explaining how the idea of a God Box works.

You don't need the stress of trying to control the world. The world is much too big for one little person to manage. You are doing yourself and those around you a disservice by trying. Healing doesn't have time to happen when you are too busy trying to control everything else. 

All controlling does is take you away from what you are feeling and is a distraction from what is going on inside of you. Controlling behaviors keep you focused on others, not on yourself. Healing needs you to focus on you, not on your abuser's current behavior, not on what your spouse might be doing today, not on your friend that goes from drama to drama. They will all survive without your help/interference. Without your attention/advice, they might even start to look at their own lives with a sense of self-awareness. Become an example of what healing looks like by focusing on and healing your own stuff. 

Let go of the fears of childhood that keep you trying to control everything. Look at those fears, one at a time. Become friends with your fear. See fear for what it is---mostly unrealistic and from your past. Help your inner child to see that you don't have to live in that fear today and she/he doesn't either. 

Know that you can't control another person, unless they let you and that isn't healthy for you or for them. You aren't meant to control others. You can offer better guidance by the example of how you live your own life. Others never have to follow your example or your words. Don't resent them when they don't. Giving advice sets you up for resentment when people don't do what you tell them to. You need to acknowledge to yourself that you really don't know what is better for another person. That person may need those experiences to grow, to see their own value, to learn a major lesson, or to learn what love really is. They may miss those lessons if you step in and try to fix everything for them.

Years ago, a very wise lady told me that when I try to fix things for others, I am, in effect, telling them they are too stupid to do it for themselves. I didn't like what she said. I never wanted anyone to feel stupid because of my words or actions. My parents did that to me as a child. I did it to others, until I learned not to.

Look at where your controlling behavior comes from and the fears that cause it. Then you can free yourself of those fears. You can stop controlling what isn't yours to control. You can't control other people no matter how much you may want to.

What can you control?
Your fears
Your words
Your thoughts
Your attitude
Your reactions

Look at your world through the eyes of gratitude instead of negativity. Use affirmations. Learn to meditate and find peace within your center. Learn to love yourself. Forgive yourself for the mistakes of the past and for the mistakes you will make as you learn to let go of controlling.

Changing any behavior takes time, persistence, focus and self-awareness. Give yourself all of those. Practice kindness and patience with yourself. You deserve both.

What changes are you afraid of? Why? What would happen if you make those changes? I assure you, you won't die. Keep telling your inner child that she/he is safe. Today you can keep her/him safe. You are strong, courageous, and wise when you listen to your own inner voice. Learn to love yourself. Loving yourself creates true safety.
I am Patricia.

Related articles:

ASCA Anonymous @

The Secret---Affirmations Change Your Life @

Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics Played Major Roles In My Recovery From Incest @

Surrender---Using A God Box @

Dialogues With Dignity And 22 Ways To Love Yourself @

Fear Is My Fear @

Resources For An Incest Survivor And Adult Children Of Dysfunctional Families @


Debbie said...

Wonderful article Pat!

Patricia Singleton said...

Thank you Deb. It is a favorite of mine. It is one of those that just felt right when the words flowed.

IAMicried said...

Fabulous article, Patricia. I struggle with control. I've heard phrase "Let go, Let God" and I am religious believing in God. That is what has gotten me this far. Struggling with allowing my daughter to make her own mistakes & letting her grow up. It's tough. But with God's help, our relationship will survive and be stronger. Thanks for this post. God bless!

Patricia Singleton said...

IAMicried, Thank you for your comment. I am sorry it took me so long to answer. I wasn't notified that a comment had been left here. Letting our children grow up and make their own mistakes is hard. I know I still struggle with it and my children are grown and in their late 30's. Prayer and my connection to God does help. (((Hugs))) my friend. You are very welcome. Blessings to you too.