Do you have the desire to control every aspect of your life? If yes, then you are a controller addict. Control addiction is the most destructive type of addiction and no one talks about it.
I’m a recovery control addict.
I have vivid memories from my childhood when I was incredibly anxious and was given the same advice by many teachers – “You have to let go”.
I had no idea what that meant, and it only became clear in the past three years. As I approach my 40th birthday this year, one of my most notable accomplishments has been coding what it really means to give up control addiction.
I’ve gone from a tense and controlling type A to a nimble, calm and accepting type. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still quite a Type A, but I loosened the wound mold tightly.
It has been a journey to get to this point, and there are many days where I fall off the wagon.
If you find yourself feeling bogged down, anxious, and overwhelmed by a perceived lack of control over your days, I encourage you to read on.
Read Confessions of a Control Geek and Why We Should Leave Him
What is your addiction control device?
Personal development expert Tony Robbins identifies six human needs that fundamentally influence how we make choices. Each of us prioritizes our needs differently, and bases our decisions on which needs we put first.
One of these needs is certainty. Robbins defines it as the assurance that you can avoid pain and have pleasure.
It was a control addiction – to create certainty in my life was my routine.
Being a Type A person, I love the structure in my day, and I’m incredibly self-disciplined. My routine gave me the predictability I needed, especially in the chaos of Covid.
It didn’t do well when I efficiently plotted my calendar with the child’s school schedule and extra murals, then suddenly, it was turned upside down when homeschooling became a reality.
My daily motto was “But I have to do this job at this time, and you must do this.” I was so frustrated and angry that my ideal plan had not been carried out, I felt like I had lost control of my world.
As a result, it just happened inside of me dealing with my family and I wasn’t the most pleasant person in existence, if I’m honest. This is how control addiction affects you.
I had to replace must be with acceptance. My new motto became “The situation is what it is and I can’t change it”.
I had to give up thinking that I could complete every task on my success list (I don’t believe in to-do lists) and instead aim for daily doses of progress.
Read 15 art therapy exercises to control your mind and channel your emotions
I had to accept that I can’t get past maybe two or three big priorities in one day, and that was fine. The question that enabled me to make this transformation is:
“How do you want your children and family to remember you during this time?”
It was a punch in the throat and a harsh reality check.
I didn’t want them to remember my discomfort and make them feel like an interruption and a burden to my day. I wanted them to feel supported, calm and loved.
It wasn’t easy to magically make this mental shift, but I had a choice in the matter.