We live in a world of control. Everyone is trying to control their surroundings, their feelings, other people. This desperate need to control is coming from fear. There is so much fear built up from generations of horrific events. That fear is trying to resolve itself by controlling everything. The more scared we are, the more things we control. And the more we inevitably fail to control, the more we are scared. It is a cycle that never ends unless we consciously end it. But most people on this planet are NOT ending it. Fear is a siren song that sucks us in. It says there is no other way. It says we have no choice. And we have fallen for the message. It runs our lives.
But there’s another side to the desperate control. Honestly, if you are particularly subscribed to the fear side of things, you might not even sense it under the surface. But there is a part of you that is desperately trying to be free from control. This is based on some very grounded concepts of who you are supposed to be. You were always meant to be free. You were always meant to represent your most authentic self. But over time, that grounded understanding of freedom was marred in the traumatic responses to the control. It becomes sabotage. It becomes futility and hopelessness. It becomes nothing of its original glory. It becomes a pipe dream.
Most of us are walking around this world in a constant battle between these two places. We control and we rebel. We rebel and we control. It creates debilitating bouts of anxiety and depression as we try to navigate between them and fail. It is only when we bring awareness to this war that we can finally start finding peace and balance in our lives. But this war isn’t trying to be found. It lives in the unconscious and drives all our thoughts, emotions and behavior. It is very hard to see. So how do we see it? We have to actively look for it throughout the day. We need to track it down in our thoughts that might seem rational and logical, but aren’t. We have to find it in our urges to do things that seem right, but aren’t. We have to connect with our patterns and ask why they exist. What are some of the things you can look for?
How are you controlling your world? Look for ways that you try to keep your environment perfect and predictable. Try to find those thoughts that are expecting life-threatening results for any mistakes. Explore how you stop yourself when something isn’t perfect on the first try. And look for how you control others to be perfect too. This is most likely with your closest family members. Watch for how you control them with your limits, or work impossibly hard to make sure their limits are removed. Explore how it escalates when something scares you. Check in with how you panic when you try not to control something.
How are you holding contracts? Explore your thoughts when you consider stepping back from the extended family dynamics to do what you want. Look for how you stop yourself from being as successful as you want. Look for inner comments about your lack of worthiness when it comes to what you want. Explore how you hold inner language about obligation that is holding you back from your best self. How do you tell yourself that you are selfish if you follow your dreams? Where did this language come from? I promise you didn’t make it up on your own.
How do you try to escape? With all this control and contractual obligation, you will feel the need to escape your life. When you don’t allow yourself to do what you are here to do, you will find yourself needing to escape often. Explore how you may dream of living in a completely different place with different people in a different life. Watch for how you want to escape relationships, parenting, your job. Look for how you run from anything that appears to be controlling you in any way. Try to find how these thoughts come with a hopelessness to ever have the life you want. It is critical to listen to this voice. I am not suggesting you need to move to an island somewhere. But understanding what is driving these thoughts will help you understand how you are still abusing yourself with control and contracts.
This is how we continue our abuse long after our abusers have left our homes and sometimes our lives. We don’t take the actions to live the life we want because we are hopeless, we feel selfish or we feel obligated to something that has never served us in any way. But we can find these thoughts and question them. We don’t want to be mean or accusatory toward these thoughts, but we need to question them and consider new possibilities. As we do this, we can break the patterns and stop the “stuck”.
This morning, my inner parts were repetitively playing “One Day I’ll Fly Away” in my mind. They spent so much of childhood trying to escape a horrible life in any way possible. And they spent my adulthood trying to escape the internalized self-abuse coming from my trauma. But now I can let them escape into a real life, a life without contracts, invalidation and labels of selfishness. It’s my job to give that to them. It’s my job to free myself.