Control – how much do you think you’ve got?
Personally, as the Adult Child of an Alcoholic/Dysfunctional family I am a control freak by nature. If I could figure out how to do it, I would have ultimate control over everything that happened in my life. Only half-kiddingly have I commented that in an ideal world I’d own a small home atop a hill surrounded by razor wire with armed guards at the gate. Of course, that is an exaggeration, but it does give a glimpse into my need for security.
Security – we crave it. We try to achieved it. We save money that has largely been lost in the Great Recession (which I consider the Great Depression, Part II). We want totally stable martial situations when the majority of marriages now end in divorce. We want our kids healthy, happy, and to grow up to do better than we did – in a time when kids are incredibly adversely impacted by designer drugs, bullying in schools and in cyberspace, and a society that is so high stress, complex, and changing so fast that neither they nor we can keep up with it. These kids don’t even know if they will be able to move out – ever – from the family home because the economy is so bad. And sometimes Mom and Dad are moving home with their little kids to the grandparents home because they are unemployed. Yikes!
When we are little we find two things we have control over: eating and pooping. Kids can refuse to eat, eat only hot dogs, or want to eat everything in sight. They can refuse to use the potty, end up refusing to go at all and develop swollen bellies (yes, folks, it happens) and other various permutations. Why do we think their favorite word is “No” when they are tiny kids. It is an issue of control over a situation in which they have virtually no control.
Personally, I like the ACoA adaption of The Serenity Prayer. “God grant me the Serenity to accept the People I cannot change, the Courage to change the One I can, and the Wisdom to know that One is Me.” I have virtually no control over what others do or do not do. The only control I can exercise is my reaction to those actions. There are times I feel totally helpless, tossed hither and yon by the vagaries of life. And while I am powerless over the actions of others and while my life may be unmanageable as long as I attempt to control those actions of others, I do have the power to manage my own responses.
I’m Hard of Hearing and functionally Deaf in noisy situations. Talk about out of control! I can only do what I can do to make others aware, to position myself so I can hear, to ask for help, to ask for an ASL “terp” or CART in work situations where understanding is critical and to manage my responses as a way to take care of my needs. I can’t make anyone else understand, necessarily, although I can force some compliance in some situations through application of law.
As long as I keep the focus on me instead of them, as long as I take “the next right step” and hit my knees every morning and evening to ask for help from my Higher Power and thank my HP for all the blessings I have – my life, the new day, the home of a friend where I live, her darling dog whom I love so much, my daughter and grandkids, the fact my old car still works, and so on and so forth then I don’t have to control persons, places and things that are out of my control. Rather than worrying about control – or my lack of the ability to control everything – I do my best to develop an Attitude of Gratitude. Some days are better than others. And I’m grateful for every day – every day above ground is a good day.