I love hosting parties. I love people filling up my large front room, the delicious smell of food floating through my entire house, and how clean the house gets. Deciding what will be eaten, when it will start and end, and who’s invited is all in my control. There doesn’t seem to be any problem with this right? Well, I wish I could tell you that I didn’t stress out planning the party, preparing for the party, and managing everything during the party, but I do. This is where my control freak goes bonkers. I’m OVER controlling. I want the kitchen spotless, so “don’t eat anything family”. I want the family room toy free, so “don’t play with any toys for a day my almost two year old child”. Seems a little unrealistic to me.
I have learned that expectations play a lot into my frustration of feeling lack of control. When I’m planning a party, I start envisioning what that party is going to be like and how everyone is going to be while they are at my house. So I start to work, forming what I believe I need to do in order to make those expectations become a reality. This leads to overwhelming myself with what I believe I need to do in order to have a successful party; a perfect party.
Cue anxiety. (read more here)
Hi, my name is Rachael and I am a control freak. ("Hi Rachael")
I really think there should be a support group for people like me - control freaks. Some days I feel like I am waging an inner battle. Fighting between wanting to control everything and everyone around me or controlling myself and how I respond to everything or everyone around me. I'll tell you, the first is usually my go-to. I have found this to be quite normal. When I look back on my week, my good days are dependent on whether things went my way or not. If the kids were well behaved, my husband did everything I wanted him to do without asking, my coworkers understood me and valued my opinion, and my clients value my reflection and easily change and find comfort in it. Sounds easy enough right? On the other hand is the bad day. Someone finished the coffee, someone cut me off on the way to work, my coworkers disagreed with everything, my clients were resistant, and my husband and kids were not on the same page with me whatsoever. Sound familiar? It definitely seems that I allow my days and how I feel up to everything around me... doesn't seem very "controlling" to me.
I have been starting to realize that when I feel that I am in more control, I have more confidence in myself. When I feel out of control and overwhelmed, I am lacking in confidence and often get frustrated. Thankfully there is a way to be a control freak without doing it to others. Control yourself by paying more attention to your emotions, thoughts, and actions. Research on locus of control indicates that people with an internal locus of control are psychologically healthier and more successful than people with an external locus of control. Wikipedia states that people who have more of an internal locus of control believe that outcomes of their actions are results of their own abilities, their hard work would lead them to obtain positive outcomes, and every action has its consequence, which makes them accept the fact that things happen and it depends on them if they want to have control over it or not. People with an external locus of control believe that many things that happen in their lives are out of their control, their own actions are a result of external factors that are beyond their control, and they tend to blame others for the outcomes rather than themselves.
I think I will start my journey of becoming a BETTER control freak by asking myself when frustrated in a situation if I'm trying to control others or if I'm trying to control myself. My guess is I'll have to shift my focus and start paying better attention to how I can respond to a situation in order to feel more in control.
Rachael Kool, professional counselor and normal, everyday adult screw up