The Need for Control


The Need for Control

finger-280201_640I came to a very real and unexpected truth over the weekend...I am a control freak. This is very new to me. I never had a need for control before. I was talking with my sister-in-law, who happens to be a nurse, about everything I'm dealing with. She kept asking me questions to try to get to the root of what I was feeling and why. So often, my being overwhelmed is my own fault. I could let my husband do more, but I can't seem to give up control. My husband is actually pretty mobile and still able to do a lot, but I feel like I'm not being a good wife if I ask him to do things. And being perfectly honest, if I do ask him to do something, he will probably do it wrong. And then I will get upset because it wasn't done the way I wanted, or would have done it. It's just easier to do things myself so I know they will get done right...

There are several flaws with that way of thinking. The first and biggest is how it makes my poor husband feel. He is already eaten up by guilt for being sick, he feels emasculated not being able to work or take care of me, and then I tell him he is incompetent on top of all that. I don't do it on purpose, but I can see it makes him feel bad when I tell him I don't need his help. Most of that comes from a good place. I don't want him to have to do anything other than rest and try to feel better. I'm his caregiver for a reason, so his needs will be met. If I don't meet those needs, then I'm not longer his caregiver....Or some such twisted logic.

The other big flaw is that I can't do everything on my own all the time. Trust me, I've tried really hard. But sooner or later, I have to rely on someone else to help me out. I hate asking for help, I think it makes me look weak, and like I can't even take care of my own husband. I have spent my whole life trying to prove I'm a responsible adult and asking for help just doesn't fit with that.  You know what doing everything yourself gets you? Exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated, and just down right tired of life.

I need to learn to let go. It is something that is added to my growing list of things that I need to learn to make me a better person.

The amateur psychologist in me thinks my constant need for control is actually because I have zero control over my husband's illness, or how our life will turn out. Everything is so unpredictable and can change in the blink of an eye. I can't control the big stuff, do I control the little things to death. Again, something I need to work on, because I think it will make me a happier person. I'll update if I make any progress.

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Thank you Susan. I guess I am ultimately trying to control the outcome of our lives. Almost everyday I read in my devotional that God wants us to rely on Him, not on ourselves. I try, it just doesn't seem to ever work. I have to find a balance between letting God take care of things, and the mentality that God helps those who help themselves. Sometimes we are required to do things, I just have to figure out when that's appropriate. Easier said than done...


Hi Meghan! I think your post speaks for a lot of us caregivers. I think Cathy nailed it when she said we can control the care our loved one receives, but we can not control the outcome. Being in control gives us a sense of security that nothing bad will happen. When we feel that we are losing that control everything seems uncertain and frightening. Just recognizing what triggers these habits helps you learn about what is going on inside of you. This is actually a wonderful opportunity for growth! Hang in there, we are here to support you!!


Meghan, you commented that you would update if you made \"progress\". WOW, you have made huge progress just by all the big realizations you made last weekend! There are so many unspoken messages in our brains about The Good Wife, The Good Daughter, The Good Mother, at least in my brain. And they say The Good Wife does everything out of love, it is the Love Gift that serves the husband. So it is a challenge and balance to serve and show love, or allow for failure and not have things perfect, or any number of other issues. Thank you for sharing your wrestling with these heavy issues.


Now that I've figured out what my problem is, trying to let go of that control will be hard. But at least I know what needs to be done, even if I have no clue how to go about doing it. This is all still pretty new, about a year and a half since things got really bad. I'm sure it will get easier as time goes on. \nAnd I'm very sorry about the loss of your dad. I hope your mom is doing at least somewhat ok.