Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Control - I am always right

I was watching Parenthood last night and there was a scene where a couple was loading the dishwasher and he suggested putting the bowls on the top shelf instead of the bottom. She quickly dismissed his suggestion and moved the bowls back to the bottom. I felt a twinge in my gut and thought about how many times I have done this to people I loved in the past.

I couldn't see it. I totally couldn't see what I was doing. Just like the actor last night it was like breathing. It is not personal but for me it came after years of taking care of everything and everybody. With all those responsibilities I had to become super efficient to make it all work. I learned early you can't count on anyone doing what they are suppose to do and if you want it done right you do it yourself.

When I married a man that never finished anything I honed those skills to perfection. It was my way or the highway. He was passive agressive and eventually resisted my controlling his every move. Once the drinking escalated he just ignored me and stayed away from home as much as possible. This reinforced that I was on my own and I became resentful and depressed.

Al-Anon ended my reign of terror along with the departure of my husband. When I started waking up little by little, all was revealed. I was shocked to find out that I was capable of being so controlling and mean. I couldn't believe I that I had done anything wrong. I have thought if I had had a program that maybe things would have been different at least I would have understood what was happening.

My partner at work reminds of myself all those years ago. The pressure to do everything and to take care of things that are the responsibilities of others. She thinks I am slow to act but that is because I have learned to think something through before volunteering. I have found that when people know your like that they tend to gravitate in your direction if they need help.

It is hard to watch others struggle without jumping in and helping. But how can I deny someone the benefit of learning and achieving something themselves. It is really not my business unless asked and even then I don't help unless I can do it without resentment.

Feeling grateful tonight for the ability to change and grow. Seeing that I am not the person portrayed in the show last night. Everyone has the same rights as I do and their opinion has the same weight. Even if I can something better. Who cares if no one ask then I can mind my own business. I no longer do for others what they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves.

I have forgiven myself for being so controlling. I was in a relationship affected by alcoholism and it was out of control most of the time. I was just trying to survive with the tools I had and I didn't know any better. I was trying the control the uncontrollable. Cunning baffling and powerful.


  1. i love this post. thank god for change and growth :)

  2. Me too!!! I used to fight with myself not to rearrange the dishes every time my step daughter loaded the dishwasher. Sometimes I couldn't help just "adjusting" a few little things here and there, when she wasn't looking. Of course, for me the dishwasher was just one tiny part of a much larger control issue, as you so beautifully wrote here. I can laugh about it today.

    Thanks for this wonderful post. I absolutely love it.

  3. Great post Grace. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Oh the relief of recovery. I understand your post today all too well. Thank you for writing about control and the ill effects we have on ourselves and others.

  5. Go ahead, be honest....this was about me huh?? How did you know?? Yeah, I could relate to this post and I also watched Parenthood that night and had that same twinge...ack, is that what I come across like? Thank God for my program....I am learning new ways to live. Loved your term....reign of terror. Sadly its very accurate.

  6. Life is different now and I am grateful.