Wednesday, April 8, 2009


What happens when an alcoholic and a control freak meet?
They marry each other.

This old joke evokes some laughter, but there is a lot of truth in this. I have been a person who had the illusion of being in control for most of my life. I thought that my way of thinking was the right way. I thought that I had the answers if only those people in my life would listen. It was just an illusion and the unmanageability of my thinking.

I think that control can either be used like a sledgehammer to bludgeon another or it can be much more subtle and insidious. I don't use the sledgehammer approach much any more, but I know that I still use more subtle manipulations that I try to disguise as caring and love.

Control is a really selfish character defect. I'm not allowing the other person the dignity to make decisions. For me, controlling behavior stems from fears that I have. I want to manipulate people into situations that calm these fears. And my ego is fully in charge of me when I'm controlling which means that I'm Edging God Out.

When I make plans for others, I'm not living in the present. I'm projecting into the future. Life has a flow and pattern and will flow along for another without my interference. I am an obstruction in the stream, forcing the flow to go around me when I'm in the way. I need to get out of the way and stop interrupting and trying to change life for others.

In complete control, pretending control,
with dignified authority, we are charlatans.
Or maybe just a goat's-hair brush in a painter's hand.
We have no idea what we are.


  1. Very hard to be able to introspect so detachedly and acknowledge all that we see. and hard to accept that one should just let the other flow their own way.

  2. Flow their own way...okay, but can't they flow along my current? Only just now realizing I am a control freak and doing my best to get out of the way!

  3. This is so true, and it runs both ways too, I think that being an alcoholic has definitely allowed me to experience my own brand of controlling people through my own bad examples and resentments.

    Syd as always, your posts are so thought provoking and wonderful, thank you!

  4. Thanks for this, Syd. I have been working through some of the subtler aspects of my own control issues lately, and this hits on many of the things that I find it useful to remind myself.

  5. Syd--your opening lines reminded me of Lewis Carrol's humor...
    "The time has come," the Walrus said,
    "To talk of many things:
    Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
    Of cabbages--and kings--
    And why the sea is boiling hot--
    And whether pigs have wings."

    I don't know why but I've always loved him :-)


  6. I think my control issues stem from a fear of ridicule or embarrassment. Knowing that has helped me in working on it.
    You are on a roll this week, Syd!

  7. I think I'm an alkie AND a control freak. No, I know I am. Thank God for these steps.

  8. and some times that truns into a train wreck waiting to happen.I found out the hard way.

  9. Self-reflection is a powerful tool. So is truth. I applaud you for being able to use both in your life. Keep it up.

  10. Everything would be OK if everyone would just do what I say! I just don't understand why people don't GET that! Jeez...jeNN

  11. OK.
    Let's not get arrested for obstruction.

  12. Hey Syd,
    Your blog got pretty personal. -Grin-

    I saw myself in a lot of what you wrote. Self-awareness is a good thing. Thanks!

    Prayer Girl

  13. man, you're wise... how old did you say you were??? i can be a control freak if i don't watch it. and it's not a good place to be in...

  14. I prefer natural bristle brushes. You can scrub hard with them and they wear down less easily. I thought I was going to be able to marry that to your topic, but I can't.

  15. I guess there's a corollary here:

    What happens when two alcoholics meet? They have a "bunch of fun" together, go back out, come back in, then look for two control freaks to marry.

  16. I definitely see that subtle control because of fears still in my life. I really need to remember to get out of the way. Thanks, jld


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.