Present Tense

For Control Freaks Only!!!!

I find myself in an extremely uncomfortable place.  Maybe you’ve visited this place and you find it as confining and anxiety-producing as I do. Maybe you’re one of those fully evolved folks who thrive in the place known as “transition”.

I long for it, but when I’m in the middle of it, I hate it.  It’s not that I don’t like change; it’s more about  how I loathe and despise uncertainty.  I’m all for change and transition, as long as it happens quickly and on my (very fast) time frame.

We all know that life doesn’t work like that does it?  Time and events tend to take their sweet time to unfold, except when they don’t.

For instance, anyone who has lost a job has felt that moment when the floor seems to drop out from under you.  I’ve certainly been fired enough to have imprinted that feeling of sheer panic when you realize that you’re floating in space with no paycheck.  Once the shock wears off, you sometimes realize that maybe it’s for the best; you really weren’t thriving in that position anyway.  Here’s the problem: people who might want to hire you are on a whole different time table than you are. You need a job NOW and they rarely offer one that quickly, if at all.  That feeling sucks, doesn’t it?

My husband is very good at only thinking about the present.  He doesn’t really give a whole lot of time and attention to what’s around the corner.  He figures he’ll deal with it when it happens. Because he is healthy and normal and methodical, whereas I am tied in knots about ‘what ifs’.  It’s my need and compulsion to control every situation.  If I think it all through and plan every detail, nothing can go ‘wrong’, right?

Experience has shown me that time after time after time, this is complete bullshit; that the old axiom “the best laid plans…often go awry” is the real golden rule.  The minute you think you’ve covered every base, buttoned every button, crossed every t and dotted every i, the world blows up.

Yet, I still slog forward; worrying, planning, analyzing, pushing, living 20 minutes in the future.  It’s exhausting, isn’t it fellow control freaks?

I thought I had this under control for a year or so, but old habits die hard and being the planner and analyzer-in-chief, I have decided that my meditation practice must be re-started.  I need to leave the cell phone on the counter and spend a little more time enjoying the present.  I need to savor my current life, rather than jumping ahead, mentally and emotionally to my future life.

So, here is my ‘plan’ for today:  a long walk to savor the beauty of autumn in the mountains; bluebird skies, golden aspens, crisp morning air and nothing else.  No thinking ahead, no ‘what ifs’; only now.  Think I can do it?  You try…..

September 30, 2012 - Posted by | Musings


  1. So right, Jane…yes, I will do this as well…not try…DO!! ❤

    Comment by Marcia Bischof | September 30, 2012 | Reply

  2. I think there are a variety of definitions for control freaks. I have no need to control others I don’t care and don’t have the energy; it takes all I have to keep up with myself. Although I will admit, I often don’t understand why others can’t and don’t just do it my way. After all, it works for me, shouldn’t it for you as well? I just need to have total and complete control over what’s gong on in my life. I lost my job in June and I have been a fish out of water ever since, because what was before my controlled and orderly life, is out of control. And I do not flounder well. Actually totally the opposite. If I can’t be in control and create the control that I need to live in, there is no control. My challenge now is how do I get that necessary control back when it is out of my control, as in your example of waiting on others and their timelines. I feel I am at the mercy of others and their inability to move as quickly and definitively as I do. Huge source of frustration for me. I have no patience when I know what I want, I just do it. Simple as that. This “attitude”, or assumption that others should move at the same pace has cause problems in relationships. I have often be told, “just because YOU would have already done it doesn’t mean we all function that way!” Well why not, it’s just that simple in my way of thinking. My problem with this is compounded because I am an all-or-nothing person. There is complete control or there is no control. I must add, that it not to be interpreted literally as it applies to everything in my life. I lost my husband to cancer 17 years ago, and he was my grounding force. He was so much in the moment, much as PC is. I need someone to help me find that balance again. For me, it’s all about finding a balance and I don’t seem to be able to accomplish that on my own. So, when I take that walk today, as you are suggesting, how do I keep from coming back home and “double-timing it” because of losing so much control while I was out walking? It’s not that I am a freak about accomplishing things, it’s that I need to have complete control of my surroundings at all times. Help!

    Comment by Terri | September 30, 2012 | Reply

    • I think some therapy is in order. BREATH! I used to work with someone like you. I wanted to shoot myself. Not an hour went by that I didn’t want to shake her and tell her, “Look! It doesn’t effing matter how I do it, just as long as it gets done. CHILL!” She got so rip-roaring angry when people didn’t do what she thought they should be doing, when they didn’t behave how she wanted them do. It eventually cost her her job. You can’t control what other people do or don’t do. You can only control your own reaction. In the long run, it’s unproductive and unhealthy to be so controlling and anxiety ridden. Type A personalities suffer the most heart attacks and strokes.

      Comment by Roxanne Rieske | September 30, 2012 | Reply

    • I have to agree with Roxanne. If you’re relying on someone else to ‘ground you’, you might need to talk to a good therapist and I say this as someone who found therapy invaluable in my own quest for calm. Even though I just wrote a blog about my continued tendency maintain control, I no longer drink myself silly to alleviate the anxiety this causes. That is a major breakthrough, brought about by therapy.
      I have also found meditation to be quite effective and I’m embarrassed to admit that I have let my practice lapse. Teri, we are ALL at the mercy of others; it’s life. Stop raging against it and find some strategies to accept it. Time’s running out, I’m afraid…for all of us:)

      Comment by janelondon | September 30, 2012 | Reply

  3. I’m a “planalyzer”…..for sure!!

    Comment by Mireille | October 1, 2012 | Reply

  4. I read the blog today because I heard it being discussed on the show this morning. Piqued my interest because I am also a control freak in recovery. I have a 19 y/o daughter that has put me through the ringer, I can’t control her which I have to remind myself almost daily. I too lost my job last October, WOW, did the floor every drop out from beneath me. I am a single person, single income, with my kids living with me (19 & 21). Everyone works and contributes, but not to the extent that they could support the household. What was I going to do now? I spent 4 days foundering, crying, in a hyper state of anxiety. What a test of patience and being forced to let go of control. I’m fortunate in that I work in a small industry and I found out that I had a ‘brand’, who knew? I was offered a job within a week. Jane, I also feel like I am slogging, worrying, planning, analyzing everything… I’m so tired. So I will try to take that walk and let it all go for the moment, enjoy today. I’m worrying my life away. My great grandmother used to say “i went to bed young and woke up old” , today I know what she meant.
    Thank you for sharing and the opportunity to add my thoughts.

    Comment by Bernadette | October 3, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comments. Find some strategies that work for you, that are productive. Best of luck!

      Comment by janelondon | October 3, 2012 | Reply

  5. I have an older sister who trys to control every aspect of her life, from my perpesctive, her life has become very small.

    Comment by Lori | October 3, 2012 | Reply

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