The Battle for Control
During my recovery work, I have gone through several phases of perception about control. When I was a kid, it was obvious that I was not in charge. It was very clear. I wanted to be autonomous more than anything in the world. Even as a kid, I would have traded my life of abuse for a life on my own. But that wasn’t my story. So I was not in charge. And I knew it.
I tried to take control any way I could. I told people about my abuse. I fought back. I lied to my abusers and others who I viewed as dangerous. I tried to meet my abusers’ needs. And in the end, I dissociated, because nobody could hurt me when I was in my own world.
As I grew older, I came to know a different world. When my circle of influence shifted from family to external friends, intimate partners and eventually a spouse, I realized that once again, I was not in charge. I had moved from abuse in the home to abuse outside the home to abuse in the home again. My lack of knowledge in the most basic relational aspects of boundary setting and empathic communication led to an early adulthood of abuse and manipulation.
I tried to take control back from these bullies and abusers. I tried to be who people wanted me to be and lost myself in the process. I tried to meet the needs of others to no avail. And when all else failed, I expressed enough rage to push them away.
From the Physical to the Spiritual
As I began my recovery journey, I quickly came to a new understanding. I was not being controlled by other people. There was another entity in charge. I transferred the responsibility from external people to an external spiritual entity. It was that entity that was in charge. Now, this is not a religious blog post. You may refer to this entity as God, Buddha, spirit, the universe or any other god or goddess. My point is that I started to transfer responsibility to something greater than myself, something outside this physical world.
Unfortunately, at first, the relationship I established with this entity still mirrored my relationships with people. It was punitive, manipulative and a bit abusive. I was still looking to take control on some level. I found myself making deals with this entity, trying to please, wondering why this entity was punishing me for my mistakes and hoping I could meet the needs so that I could be rewarded, finally.
During the past seven years, this relationship has morphed. As I have grown my confidence and self-worth, I have come to understand this entity differently. The world around me looks less punitive and manipulative. My inner temper tantrums lessened as I realized that I was being guided in a new direction with my best interest in mind. And just recently, everything changed.
After a three-week stint of deep depression, it suddenly struck me. “I” am not in charge. But I am in charge. That spiritual entity was not external. It was directly connected to me. That spiritual entity was the god in me, my own higher self. All along, through all the tantrums, through all the anxiety, through all the worrisome nights, I was in charge. My ego self was not in charge because it should never be left in charge. My ego self is supposed to be a servant to my higher self, but my ego self doesn’t want that role, so I have been blinded to my reality. But I caught a glimpse of it. And now, every time I start the whirlpools of anxiety in my head, I can say, “Wait. I am not in charge. My higher self is handling the stuff I can’t control. I just need to do what I can, what I know. The rest will happen when I am ready.”
This is a remarkable change in my perception which has left me somewhat speechless and honestly, with much less to worry about. I am not in charge. I don’t have to worry about what I cannot control because I was never meant to control it. How liberating. How beautiful. How terrifying.
You see. Most of my sense of safety has come from a perception of being in control, of being in charge, when in reality, I never was. And now, I have to admit the truth. I have never controlled any of it.
And I don’t need to. There is no point.
She’s got this.
I mean … I’ve got this.