How to Let Go of the Need to Control People and Life

You grew up in an unpredictable/unsafe environment and discovered to manage your environments and other individuals as a means to secure yourself.
Youre a perfectionist and feel anxiety when things arent simply.
Due to the fact that you believe its completely your fault, you beat yourself up when things do not work out as you believe they need to.
You constantly need a plan, and for whatever to be on your schedule, and you feel stressed out when you dont understand whats going to happen when.
You frequently picture worst-case situations and put a great deal of effort and energy into avoiding them.
You have high expectations and requirements, of yourself and others, and easily feel dissatisfied.
You think in the old saying “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” and feel uneasy when entrusting another person to do something thats important to you.
You d rather do things yourself than belong to a group, given that you can just manage your own efforts.
You think that you understand whats best– for you, and perhaps for others also.
You micromanage other individuals and try to make them follow your guidance (typically unsolicited).
You think you need to make things occur or nothing will ever exercise for you.
You have an extremely stiff meaning of what it implies for things to “work out.”
You wish to provide a specific image to the world and cause yourself stress trying to make sure thats how other people see you.
Youre securely wound and have a difficult time unwinding due to the fact that you often search for fires to put out to ensure nothing bad happens.
Other individuals have communicated that they feel suffocated around you, like theyre continuously strolling on eggshells, awaiting criticism or an attack.

“Anything you cant manage is teaching you how to let go.” ~ Jackson Kiddard
Fellow perfectionists, Im guessing you know what its like: the constant need to manage life and other individuals to guarantee everything goes smoothly and everyones all right.
Its a maddening, tiring routine, because the only thing we can manage is ourselves. We do it anyways– because someplace along the line we learned this was the only way to keep ourselves safe.
Maybe you attempt to manage your work and your colleagues, due to the fact that you believe you need to in order to succeed and to guarantee your colleagues do the same quality work, particularly when it impacts you.
Possibly you try to manage your family, due to the fact that you think you know whats best for them and do not trust them to make excellent choices, and actually follow through with them.
Or perhaps you try to manage every aspect of your life, leaving definitely nothing to chance, because if everythings predictable, youll never be caught off guard. Youll never ever have a hard time. Youll never stop working. Youll never verify your own (or somebody elses) belief that youre inexperienced, inadequate, or essentially flawed.
Except thats not in fact how it works. In truth, managing behavior typically backfires. In our efforts to make sure that absolutely nothing uncomfortable happens, we produce a great deal of pain, for ourselves and individuals around us.
And in attempting to develop a specific vision of how things have to be, we restrict the future to only what we can picture– forgetting that some of the best things in life take us totally by surprise. , if were open and willing.
Difficult for you? I get it.
Ive remained in unhealthy relationships since I was attached to the concept of making them work– as if they had to work for me to be delighted.
Ive gotten stuck in ruts of familiarity, doing the same thing day after day due to the fact that it was foreseeable (and for that reason controllable), despite the fact that it was also unfulfilling.
But Ive also opened myself as much as a happy relationship, after ignoring the wrong person for the first time instead of waiting on him to leave me.
And Ive opened myself up to new possibilities– taken acting classes, wrote a movie script with a film mentor, and attempted my hand at a brand-new company I understand definitely nothing about.
I understand what it feels like to tightly manage life, and I know the freedom of letting go. If I do it inconsistently and imperfectly, even. Im an operate in development, and Im guessing you are too.
So, my fellow imperfect perfectionists, who wish to manage less and delight in more, this is for you:
How to Let Go of the Need to Control People and Life
Do a self-inventory to assess your managing practice.
I understand the signs all too well from individual experience. How much of this sounds familiar to you?

Identify the reward of your controlling habits.
We do not do anything unless theres an emotional reward. The greatest one for me is the illusion of safety.
There were numerous times in my past when individuals harm me, and I felt helpless and out of control. Controlling my life is my way of attempting to ensure nobody and nothing can harm me once again.
Managing likewise allows me to feel more comfortable with the unidentified– since its not as frightening if I can make it into what I believe it has to be.
Finally, managing allows me to prevent sensations I dont want to feel.
If I can control my sweethearts feelings, I do not need to feel the pain of handling his feelings, as I typically do as an empath. And I do not need to feel guilty for having caused them, as I often (incorrectly) presume I have.
If I can control other individualss perceptions of me, I do not have to feel the fear of not being excellent enough, or the pain of reliving my youth shame, when I was regularly called a “useless whore.”
If I can manage the outcome of my efforts, I do not need to feel insecure about any imperfections that might have led to failure or clashed about whether I made the “right” option.
Identify the negative consequences of your controlling habits.
On the other side of the benefit, there are negative consequences.
Attempting to manage life and other people can hurt us …
We might feel physical signs of anxiety, like headaches, shortness of breath, and a racing heart, and may feel constant physical stress (tight shoulders, clenched jaw, like our entire body is tightened up into a fist that were trying to smash into the world to force our will on it). We may likewise have difficulty sleeping, as we lie in bed during the night worrying about what we cant control and stressing over all the bad things that might happen.
While controlling can allow us to avoid some emotions, it also causes tension and frustration (as we combat versus truth), frustration, bitterness, and anger (as we attempt to require other individuals to satisfy our will), and perhaps embarassment and self-loathing (as we judge ourselves for failing to manage things that our company believe we must have been able to control).
As we take part in distorted thinking (which Ill enter quickly), we may experience anxiety and eventually sink into anxiety.
As other individuals feel evaluated, manipulated, restricted, or in the worst-case situation, mistreated, they may distance themselves from us for their own peace of mind and freedom.
In attempting to manage individuals we deal with and the outcomes of group efforts, we may alienate ourselves from colleagues, or miss out on opportunities because people dont desire to deal with us.
Recognize the ideas, fears, and beliefs that drive your managing routine.
I utilized to say Im a control freak, as if its just part of my nature, but managing isnt who I am, and I wasnt born that way. Its a learned behavior, and something I turn to in response to specific ideas (cognitive distortions, as pointed out above), fears, and beliefs.
Here are a few of the cognitive distortions that frequently precede my managing behavior, that might sound familiar to you:

Filtering: only seeing the unfavorable in a scenario, and putting in control to combat it. For instance, you may see only the unfavorable in your task and develop a lot of stress around your task search as an outcome.
Black-and-white/all-or-nothing thinking: thinking it has to be this method, or everything will fall apart.
Overgeneralization: forming an unfavorable conclusion based upon one piece of proof; anticipating something bad to happen over and over once again due to the fact that it occurred when, then controlling as a way to avoid it.
Catrastrophizing: exaggerating the unfavorable in your current scenario, expecting catastrophe to strike, and trying to manage the future to prevent it. This is my specialty! “OH NO! Sales are down. Were gon na lose whatever! I need to turn things around RIGHT NOW!”
Control fallacies (the obvious one): believing we have more control than we do; for instance, thinking were responsible for other individualss pain and joy, and if theyre upset, theres something we did incorrect– something we need to fix or change to manage how they feel.
Shoulds: thinking we know how people must act, including ourselves.
Misconception of change: thinking we d enjoy if other individuals would just alter and pushing them to do so as a result.

Here are some of the worries that typically sustain managing behavior:

If X does not take place, everything will break down, or things will become worse than they are now.
If they dont do what I think they should, theyre going to get hurt (or injured even worse than they are now).
Im going to get injured if I cant make this occur.
Ill be abandoned or declined if things dont happen as I believe they should.
If I cant manage the future, I might not be able to handle it.

And finally, here are a few of the beliefs that typically fuel managing behavior:

Practice self-awareness and challenge your beliefs, fears, and ideas..
The objective is to be able to capture ourselves when were controlling and acknowledge the ideas, fears, and beliefs that are driving us– and how this is negatively affecting us and individuals around us. I know from personal experience how difficult it is to capture ourselves in a moment, recognize our habits, and make a different choice.
For now, as practice, think of a current time when you attempted to control a situation or person and try to determine the thoughts, worries, and beliefs that were driving you.
Heres an example from own recent experience: I am currently waiting to move into a home thats not going to be offered as quickly as I thought it was since the current occupant is staying longer than expected.
I have tried repeatedly to push things to occur quicker than they might have otherwise because I am pregnant; and Im distressed to “nest,” to get my toddler utilized to his new environment prior to his bro comes, and to discover my new medical professional near our future home.
I understand Ive engaged in black-and-white thinking and catastrophizing, informing myself, “We need to act quickly or I might not find the best doctor, or I may go into labor in short-term real estate, or my kids bad sleep might get even worse due to the fact that hes not in his own space yet …”.
I know Im afraid that it will be emotionally draining pipes if we remain in limbo a lot longer (ironic, considering that I have actually emotionally drained myself with worrying and managing!).
And I also know Ive been acting on the incorrect belief that I understand whats finest– that we act ASAP– and absolutely nothing else is acceptable.
As a result of all of this, I am causing myself stress and stress and anxiety, and likewise stressing out my partner, who can only do so much.
Challenging these ideas, beliefs, and worries is the key to letting go. Which appears like this:.
– We do not need to do anything. There are constantly several options offered, and accepting this is the crucial to discovering them.
– Even if we do not move in until after I deliver, everything will be alright, because we will have all our requirements fulfilled, well all have each other, and were strong enough to deal with an unforeseen plot twist and whatever that might require.
– Maybe I dont understand whats finest. Possibly we d take pleasure in the interim strategy we choose. Maybe something remarkable will happen that would just have actually occurred since of this change of strategies. I simply dont know, so its safe to let go.
Since they pop up frequently, the reality is I require to challenge these ideas and beliefs over and over once again. Releasing, for me at least, isnt a one-time choice. Every time I do it, I feel relief. And in that moment, I stop pressing. I stop stressing. I stop worrying the individuals around me. And I produce the possibility of in fact remaining in this moment, where theres a lot more right than incorrect, and a lot to delight in if Im ready to recognize it.
Is there someone or something youre trying to manage now? Whats behind it? What are you believing, what are you scared of, what beliefs are you feeding into? What would you do differently if you thought differently? And what would change around you if you made this modification within you– and acted upon it?
* This is the third post in a five-part series on letting go, echoing the styles in my assisted meditation/EFT tapping package ($ 99 value)– now readily available as a FREE bonus with Tiny Buddhas Mindfulness Kit (which is now on sale for $39). You can find the very first post introducing the series here and the 2nd post on letting go of approval here.
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I understand whats best, for myself and others.
When they enable me to take the wheel or step in, people are much better off.
Other individuals cant be trusted to do the best thing or make great choices for themselves.
I am 100 percent in control of my success or failure.
Things have to go to strategy or bad things will take place.

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Or possibly you attempt to control every element of your life, leaving definitely nothing to chance, due to the fact that if whatevers foreseeable, youll never ever be caught off guard. Managing habits typically backfires. I know what it feels like to tightly manage life, and I understand the flexibility of letting go. Catrastrophizing: overemphasizing the negative in your existing scenario, expecting catastrophe to strike, and attempting to manage the future to prevent it. Is there someone or something youre trying to manage now?

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