Trying to Stay Positive…When You’re a Control Freak

Last week I touched on one side effect of my poor-ish upbringing. Thinking about that made me realize that my “realist” outlook wasn’t the only side effect, not by a long shot, and there is in fact something else that constantly invades my thoughts, something that seems almost counterintuitive, yet really goes hand in hand.

And I’m stalling because it kills me to admit it. It so goes against everything I believe about the world, but it’s time to own up and face what I already know about myself…

I’m kind of a control freak.

Usually it’s social. You might not see it at first because I try to act like I’m chill, down to earth, unruffled, but there are certain things that drive me absolutely batshit crazy in human behavior.

Let’s say you’re in a group with people who can’t make a plan for the evening. Ideas fly but no commitment is made, plans change several times and they remain tentative. Exasperated, I find myself stepping in, doing research, organizing an activity. I think to myself, “If I don’t do it, who will?” Then I stress the whole time about whether or not people are having fun. What was supposed to be a carefree night on the town (or whatever) ends up feeling like a chore and it makes me miserable.

Yet, there remains an innate, unrelenting, unquenchable need for control. I crave security. I want my relationships to be neat, reliable and defined because I want my life to be neat, reliable and defined. But you can’t control people any more than you can control what life throws at you. Some people will always be disorganized and five minutes late to everything. You can’t force someone to think and act the way you want.

That said, I’ve learned the hard way that you have to recognize when it’s time to bow out. If you feel a constant imbalance in a relationship, that you’re putting in more than you’re receiving, then you may want to reconsider the value of giving that person a space in your life. However, if you do feel that the relationship is worth the work, try not to let the minor grievances get to you.

Just because someone isn’t as much of a control freak as you doesn’t mean they’re not worth your time or energy. Some of my most fulfilling relationships have been with people who really are chill, down to earth, unruffled. They balance me out with their calm energy, make me more willing to take social risks. Oftentimes, they end up being the people who push me to learn more about myself.

I’m learning to stifle that urge to control social situations, to take a backseat once in a while and give myself a break. Sometimes you have to let other people take the reins and just enjoy the ride.

Image credit: File folders via Flickr

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