It’s impossible, you can’t control it, stop worrying about it. I say it to myself many times most days. Yet my subconscious brain refuses to listen. It’s there gnawing away at my conscious brain causing me anxiety and stress. Unnecessary, yet ever-present.
I realised a few years ago that I am a control freak. I’m fine when I can see a solution to a problem and can act on it, but if I can’t see a way forward, or that way forward involves putting my trust in someone I don’t know, then all hell breaks loose in my brain.
I’ve had a tough time of it lately, a barrage of small things that I can’t seem to resolve snowballing up into a massive unstoppable force. It all gets to me and recently I let it get the better of me. I lost sleep over it, I cried over it, I had anxiety attacks over it, and I got ill over it. My poor husband looked on in despair, worrying about me and my health, unable to do anything to help.
This went on for a while, any little thing not going the way I needed instantly took me to overload and over-reaction. Not reacting to that particular thing, but to that boulder-like snowball rolling towards me that had just had a few more snowflakes added to it.
Then I realised I had people around me who I could trust. My husband, my Dad, they were there, they were willing and able to help. I side-stepped the responsibility of some of the things getting to me and allowed those people to do what they wanted to do. I have asked them not to even talk to me about some of the things causing me anxiety because they do not matter enough to make me feel the way I was feeling. I’m adult enough to know that.
Going through this has given me some insight into Youngest. His life is not under his control, but he wants it to be. He is at his happiest when he’s going about his daily life doing what he wants to do, trying not to do anything wrong, whilst also doing his best to help the adults around him with their tasks and chores. He watches what we do, then insists on helping us do it.
Being 3 things aren’t as simple as that though. His instant response to even the meerest suggestion that he shouldn’t do something is that over-reaction which I became all too familiar with myself. It wasn’t that he is upset at that small suggestion, it’s that that little thing he was trying to do shouldn’t have caused a problem in his mind. He was trying his best to do a good thing, but it wasn’t right, he got it wrong. He wants to punish himself for getting it wrong.
He is still learning what is right and what is wrong, he doesn’t always get that right and it is then we have to intervene. Often for his own safety. To him this is an affront to his independence – he wasn’t trying to do something wrong so what’s the problem? He reacts worse when we intervene on something that he didn’t know was dangerous or wrong, than when he knows what he’s doing is a bit mischievous. In fact, he generally just accepts the ‘correction’ when he knows it’s something he shouldn’t be doing.
The constant push back from him on new things is tiring for us, but it must be incredibly frustrating for him. He only wants control over his own life, but he isn’t quite old enough to know when what he is doing isn’t safe. He wants to be independent, but to do so he needs to place his trust in us to teach him what he needs to know to reach that. At the moment a large chunk of his life in uncontrollable for him.
As he strives to control the uncontrollable, we stand in the way stopping his own snowball from flattening him. He probably won’t understand what we’re doing for him, not while he’s living it.
We both need to learn the same lesson, that we can’t control the uncontrollable, especially not alone. We need help to dismantle those things, we need to trust those around us who want to help. Maybe then the giant snowball will melt into something that can just be forgotten about or let go.
Title Image: Yosh Ginsu