I’d Like an Order of Control with a Side of Over-responsibility


This one goes out to my fellow control fanatics (hey, don’t call us freaks!). Sometimes, not having control in a situation makes me a little looney. I finally unraveled why.

Here’s a perfect example: Ten years ago I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner by a member of my extended family. We drank wine. We laughed. I looked fetching in an outfit I assembled from my sister’s closet. Until the turkey was being carved.

Days before I read a detailed article on “How to Properly Carve a Turkey.”

As the knife was being wielded by a close relative of mine, a little bead of sweat formed on my brow. I bit my tongue and forced my hands into the pockets of my skirt. HE WAS DOING IT ALL WRONG!

Being 10 years less evolved than I am now (ahem), I could not hold back my commentary. A surge of adrenaline and cortisol raced through me. The urge to push him out of the way and do it myself was real.

I don’t really remember what happened next. But I am sure that I got weird and bossy. And for that, I am sorry.

How many mini panic attacks have I had like this over my lifetime? Millions, I’m sure. How many people have been on the receiving end of my weirdness? Don’t answer that.

So, what’s my big discovery? Last night in the midst of a heated discussion where I said out loud “I just feel like I have no control in this situation (not turkey carving) and I can’t stand it,” a light bulb smacked me on the side of the head. I figured out why I am so uncomfortable when I’m not in control.

I feel 100% responsible for every single thing that happens around me, that happens to the people that I love. Every. Single. Thing. If something goes awry, then it’s my responsibility – and my fault.

So, yes, I felt responsible for that turkey being carved to perfection, and everyone getting maximum enjoyment from this perfectly carved bird – even though it wasn’t my house, my party, my anything. I was a GUEST. No wonder I wanted to grab the knife!

But I haven’t been a guest, I guess. Not anywhere. I have been acting like I am 100% responsible. And with great responsibility comes great anxiety WHEN YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL.

So, as far as I can see, I have two choices to get me on the path of peace:

1 – Assume responsibility for everything AND be in control of everything

2 – Assume responsibility for only those things within my control – learn to let it go, sit back and be a guest and not give two poops of how the turkey is carved

For 45 years I’ve tried to grab hold of Option 1.

It’s time for Option 2.

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