Answer: So much to control, so little time.
Control addicts constantly compare the reality they have with the reality they want, then try to bring the two closer together.
‘Tis the season for that.
And how do we do it?
Usually in too many ways to count.
~ We imagine ideal holidays and try to manufacture them.
~ We remember traumatic holidays and try to compensate for them.
~ We notice relationship problems and try to disguise them.
~ We notice feelings that don’t match the holiday mood (resentment, jealousy, anxiety, rage) and judge ourselves for feeling them.
~ We associate with people we don’t really like, then suppress or deny our inevitable discomfort.
~ We use the holidays as a benchmark to measure our progress through life, then try to conceal our sense of disappointment or inadequacy.
~ We mask our awareness of all the above by eating or drinking or drugging or spending too much, then wonder why we end up feeling empty, lonely and mad at ourselves.
What to do instead?
(1) Pay closer attention. Notice what you already do. Don’t judge your behavior, just observe it. Can’t change what you’re unconscious of.
(2) Focus your awareness with the three questions: What am I trying to control? Have I had any luck controlling this in the past? If not, what can I do instead? The answer to question 3 should be some form of surrender, responsiblity and/or intimacy. But don’t beat yourself up if you’re not sure how to do any of that yet.
(3) Use the year before the next round of hellidays to get better at answering that third question.