1. When I was younger, I ALWAYS wanted to be in control of the situation when things go awry. And this is coming out of a self-proclaimed champion of sloth. In retrospect, I realized that this isn’t due to a desire for control. Rather, it stemmed from my lack of trust in other people’s competence nor ability to handle the situation any better. Can I really be blamed? I am usually the calmest one of the bunch, so it would only make sense for me to dismiss anyone else as untrustworthy.

    As I got older though, I decided to pick my battles more wisely. I realized that it is a bit more liberating when I renounce that desire for control and place my trust in someone else who have a better idea how to handle the situation. Besides, it reduces stress when I take a chance and place my bets on others and almost lean on them. Now that isn’t to say that I don’t take control at all. It’s just because I have a better sense of when to control or submit, I become much more focused on what I can do rather than worrying about what I cannot. (That can be fixed by diversifying the skills, but that’s a story for another day.)

    • I know that my biggest struggle for this comes at the workplace. I’ve had success in nearly every position or job I’ve had, so when I see people doing the job I once had and doing that job poorly, it’s difficult for me to not want to take control. I’m getting far better about it than I used to be. With that said, it’s still a struggle.

  2. Kate

    I think it’s entirely dependent on the situation. Typically, I like to be in control of a situation when things go awry. However, there are times where the situation is so off-the-damn-wall that you could be in control of it and still lose your shit. You honestly never know how you will react until you’re in a given situation.

    Example – a few years ago, I was in a bar with my sister and some friends. We were shooting pool, having some drinks, celebrating my birthday…nice, relaxed evening. About 90 minutes into said evening, a guy (who had, up until about 15 minutes beforehand had been shooting pool at the table next to ours, trying to make a move on my very uninterested sister) walked into the bar and started shooting the place up. With a legit gun. Thankfully, given that he was high as a kite and drunk as a skunk, he had piss-poor aim and no one was seriously hurt, but still, guy in bar shooting place up. The last thing I CLEARLY remember was that I was walking up to the bar to get another drink and all of the sudden, there is a gun in my face. In my face. After that, nothing. From what I’ve been told, I stood there for a good 2-3 seconds staring at this kid like a deer in the headlights while he’s screaming at me with a gun in my face, until another bar patron pushed me out of the way (and saved me from getting shot in the face). I then got up, ran down a short flight of steps, ran AWAY from the perfectly good exit that everyone else was running out of, tackled my sister to the ground and pulled her under a pool table to hide. We stayed there until Shooter Dude stopped shooting (about 15 shots later) and the police arrived and told us we could come out. Apparently, I spent the entire time under the pool table saying the Lord’s Prayer (which, in all honesty, I can’t tell you all the words to today), holding my sister’s hand, and trying to calm down the people that were hiding under the table next to us and convince them NOT to run into a hail of bullets.

    So, apparently, if I have a gun pointed at me, I gawk at the shooter. If someone is shooting in my direction, I turn into Captain America and tackle innocent civilians singlehandedly. So not what I would have anticipated.

  3. Learning how to cope when I am not in control has been a huge thing that I’ve had to learn, and I’m still not fully there. A lot of it is just reminding myself that there is nothing I can do to change the outcome or affect what is going to happen. I just have to roll with things as they come. Sometimes, I’ve been able to do that pretty well (like when I was possibly facing identity theft), other times, like say when we’re under a tornado warning or watch, I still lose it and can’t find a way to calm myself. I get really anxious when I’m not in control, and I tend to get panic attacks. My whole life, stability has only come when I can control things, so when I can’t, things tend not to go so well.

    • I may have to revisit this post after going on my honeymoon. The anxiety I dealt with while going to lunch every single day makes me feel more strongly that I’m not good at letting others have control of things.

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