Confessions of a control freak

14th April 2019

You know how you’re consciously aware of certain elements of your personality? You might be shy, pessimistic or maybe really confident. Well, I’ve always known that part of me could be considered quite controlling. Now let me be clear, I’m not someone who tries to controls other people – we’re not talking that level of control, don’t worry. It’s more to do with myself on a personal basis. Like the fact that I don’t like being out of control and in my eyes, the only way to get around that is by controlling what I can and when I can.

A couple of weeks ago while we were selling our house, while I was well aware I already had a lot on my plate with recently taking on a new job at work, I quickly turned down my partners offer of him being the one that our estate agents contacted for viewings or anything else they needed from us. I knew that I needed to be the one to oversee everything – not because I don’t trust anyone else but because I feel so much better being the one who is handling everything, seeing for myself that things are getting done. It satisfies me that things are going the right way and admittedly yes, I probably get a bit of a kick out of it too.

That’s not to say that shit doesn’t go wrong because it’s not actually anything to do with thinking I know best or that ‘when I do things, everything is just perfect.’ Nope. Nu-uh. It simply comes down to needing to being aware of the situation, of what’s going on and indeed, that things are going on. And so there are no scary surprises. But obviously, life doesn’t work like that. You can have all the control in the world but still be handed a can of crap to deal with and that’s just the way it goes.

While being controlling (understandably) has negative connotations, there are plenty of things in life that call out for being controlled and the trait actually works out as an advantage. For example, I’m fairly comfortable controlling my emotions. I know when I’m in the type of mood where being in the same room as me won’t end well for either of us so I know to remove myself from that scenario. I also believe I’m good at making decisions and creating an environment for myself in which I can thrive and ultimately, be productive. Yeesh, this has all got a bit egotistical, hasn’t it? Let’s balance things out a bit.

Being controlling quite often leads to me to be severely impatient. I don’t like waiting for anything, potentially because there’s more time for external factors to come to play? I don’t know. At times, I find myself frustrated, purely because there are some things that just can’t be controlled and while I’m well aware that’s you know, life, this personality trait of mine doesn’t quite find it the easiest to deal with. I’m also astutely aware that there’s a darker side to being controlling and it’s somewhere I’m determined to never venture. But I’m pretty confident it’s a place I’ve yet to step into and should I even go near that side of things, I know enough people who will firmly put me in my place (hi, mum!).

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t exhausting always being the one in control. I appreciate there is an irony to this when that’s essentially what you’ve asked for. But when it’s so deeply embedded into your personality and your existence, it almost becomes expected of you. I can feel peoples eyes on me sometimes, waiting for me to speak up in certain situations or to take the lead. And I do, for the most part. Though I’m actually finding that as I grow older (bleuh) and as I naturally have more responsibilities in other aspects of my life and less time, I find myself hoping someone else will take the lead. While previously it’s been instinctual for me to swoop in and take control of a situation, more and more I’m actually resenting it as my priorities have shifted and I’m learning to try to straddle the likes of self-care and delegation. And with that, there simply isn’t room to be responsible for everything.

So I’m in an interesting place right now. While I’m learning to relinquish to control, its pretty obvious to me that it will always be an element of who I am and that’s perfectly fine.  Every kind of personality has good or bad traits and being controlling does not mean you are a bad person. And sure, it took me time to realise this and learn to use it to my advantage. There is a time and a place where it pays to be controlling and knowing when this is, of the utmost importance. For me,  this element of controls needs to remain firmly on myself and never impact others because that’s not right, nor is it who I want to be.

I’m on a mission to carve this trait that seems to be instilled in me, into something that can benefit me and my life. I want to convert this energy into something I can work with to achieve good things, to be a better version of myself.