What's Control Got To Do With it?
So often I hear people say that they have control issues. But what does this mean and how is it affecting not only our relationships and sexual experiences, but our overall happiness, as well?
Control is a funny one. We’ve been taught since childhood to control in order to become socialized. Control our emotions. Control the urge to hit the kid who is trying to take our toy. Control the urge to fidget and get up out of your seat while the teacher is teaching. Controlling ourselves in this sense is a valuable quality; however, somewhere between childhood and where we are now, control has become something we feel we MUST have in order to feel good and as a result have become over-controlled. We have to be certain how events are going to play out, we are unable to relax, we have to know what our part is and how we are supposed to interact in it. As a result we have conditioned ourselves to hold tightly to who we’ve created and keep ourselves in check.
Have you ever caught your mind thinking: “I’m barely holding on”?
Well, what are you holding on to so tightly? And what really will happen if you lose that?
Paradoxically, people who report higher levels of happiness describe states of being in surrender to the moment, being totally present to what is happening that nothing else seems to matter. This state has often been described as being in “flow state”. As a result, the more you let go of your experience, the greater joy and power you can feel.
The problem is that many of us struggle w/ letting go of control. We believe that to let go of control is synonymous to losing our shit or losing this person or life we’ve created. We lack a level of trust that we will be ok in this world if we let up on the energy and effort we can put forth into making the life we expect. But at the same time, we find that we have difficulty in being able to relax or we can’t understand the concept of feeling energized while simultaneously being in a relaxed state. We find ourselves overworked, over-stressed, and sometimes like the world just isn’t helping us out.
When we are over-controlled, it affects our relationships. We see ourselves expecting or demanding our partner’s process to look a certain way, when it’s not. We see ourselves holding back on communicating what’s really going on for us internally or what we need because we feel we need to do whatever we can to keep the relationship. We control the arguments by standing on our opinion and not letting the other partner have influence on us. We don’t trust that our partner wants the best for us and instead believe that they do want to hurt us. We withhold affection. We avoid difficult conversations. We repeatedly message our partner to make sure they are not doing something outside our expectations.
When we are over-controlled, it affects our sex life, too. Have you ever withheld sex from your partner because you were either resentful or angry at them? Or positioned yourself a certain way while having sex so that you appeared thinner? How about constantly being in the role of giver and not allowing yourself to receive? Do you find that you struggle with orgasm?
In both sex and relationships if we don’t loosen our control, then we are not trusting that these will occur in the way that is positive for us. We aren’t giving space for allowance, and as a result may be gripping tightly to something that is naturally supposed to pass on in our lives. But we wouldn’t see this because the stories we’ve created about our potential future, our fantasies, are keeping us from letting go.
And then sometimes we end up self-sabotaging and making our fears into reality unconsciously.
“I don’t want him to think I’m ‘that needy girl’. He might think I’m too high maintenance and leave me, so I will just take care of these things myself.” As a result, we create a relationship in which we are doing everything to ensure the relationship stays intact and we see our partner as uncaring and selfish. And when we finally ask for help? Our partner is flabbergasted and unsure how to step up, or knows that you will take care of it yourself if he/she doesn’t. Because we’ve never shown them that we are humans with needs. We’ve created and controlled this image of ourselves and now we are asking the world and our partners to see someone different.
And how’s your sex life? Is it electric? Or do you find yourself not enjoying it? Of course there are many reasons this can be happening, but in this case look at what you might be trying to control. Orgasms are a release of the body after contractions. And we can’t have that release if we don’t let go, if we don’t relax, if we don’t trust. When you are tense, your body is much less sensitive than when you are relaxed. So think about what you are gripping tightly to. Is it a specific body image? Is it a certain performance or partner pleasure? Is it time pressure? Is it that you feel you don’t deserve? Maybe it’s time to update some of those inner stories, because they are getting in the way of you having the sex life you desire.
Now I’m not saying to release all control. Again, some level of control is a positive quality as it helps us get shit done and hold space for others in social settings. To completely allow 100% may create that we don’t get anywhere with our goals and we sit on the couch. “The universe will provide!” (Not if you don’t do anything).
What I am saying is look at what ideals you are trying so hard to hold tightly to. Check in with your level of trust in yourself, the world, and others. See where you can loosen your grip and practice even a little bit of allowance. Maybe start with your day. Can you allow this day to unfold without planning? Can you allow yourself to say what you feel and trust that it your truth is creating the world you want to live in? (YES, even if that truth means that the relationship ends, because that would be letting move on something that wasn’t really in our highest of interest anyway).
Trust that you will be ok. And as a result, your growth will come.