{} Control & feelings

Excerpts from (and links to) our most popular posts on control and feelings.
My mission?  To protect him.  From?  Everything.
Scary situations.  Painful feelings.  Discomfort of every sort.  Rejection.  Failure.  Disappointment. Frustration.  Conflict.  Sadness.
I did it mainly by searching relentlessly for ways to change things, things both outside and inside him, to somehow move them closer to what he wanted, or needed, or preferred.
~ From Bert’s mission
Steve’s dad was alcoholic, and his mom was depressed.  Together they taught him two important lessons he’s spent his adult life trying to unlearn.
The first lesson was, ”Feelings are at best inconvenient, and at worst dangerous.”  The implication of this lesson?  So you’d damned well better keep them to yourself.
The second lesson was, ”You’re responsible for other people’s feelings.”  The implication: So you damned well better be careful about what you say and do around other people.
These two lessons were the foundation stones of our Plan A.
~ From Bert’s Plan A
 “So you carried that answer out into the world and into every relationship.  And whenever there was a disappointment or conflict or someone treated you badly, you turned back to that old answer to explain what was happening.  ‘See?” you told yourself.  ‘Mom was right.  I am unlovable.’’
“And that’s why you’re like a fuzzy lollipop. Because by now you’ve collected so many of those experiences you’re no longer recognizable as yourself.”
~ From Fuzzy lollipop
We’re talking here about two things, not one. 
One outside, one inside.
Actual control, versus a sense of control.
They’re not the same thing.
~ From Outside, inside (What we mean when we talk about control, Part 1)
Sense of control refers to those moments when we feel only the items in column A — only the feelings we want.  It’s in those moments, when our internal universe seems to be under our command, that we experience what I call a sense of control.
And we hunger for those moments.  We hunger for happiness and safety and confidence and love.  Those experiences are what we live for.
In fact, our whole lives are arranged in an attempt to repeat these experiences as often as possible.
~ From Sense of control (What we mean when we talk about control, Part 2)
Early on they learn to see life as unpredictable and dangerous (Will Dad drink or be sober? Will Mom hug me or hit me? Will everyone get along, or fight until bedtime?) and blame their inner anxiety on events in their immediate environment.  Inevitably, they try to reduce their anxiety by controlling that environment (hide Dad’s beer, clean Mom’s kitchen, keep everyone amused or distracted).
And there it is: particularization.  As kids they equate something they need (feeling safe) with one particular way of getting it (controlling people, places and/or things).
~ From Particularization (What we mean when we talk about control, Part 3)
One reader replied,
Why didn’t the monkeys just break the jar or bottle? I get that it was weighted down, but monkeys use tools. Were there no rocks laying around?
Bert: Shit. Why didn’t I think of that?
Steve: Just the comment I’d expect from a control addict.
Bert: Why? What’s wrong with what I said?
Steve: You misread the problem.
Bert: How?
Steve: You think the jar is what traps the monkey.
~ From The illusion (What we mean when we talk about control, Part 4)
And where does peace of mind come from?
Not fighting.
Peace of mind is rare because our minds are usually at war.
We fight reality itself, we fight ourselves, and we fight each other.
And we do it almost constantly.
~ From Peace (What we mean when we talk about control, Part 5)

2 responses to “{} Control & feelings

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