The Urge To Always Be Perfect
Health and Wellness

How Much Control Is Too Much Control?

I thought that maybe, if I held it all together, everything would be okay.


Ever since I can remember, control made me feel safe. As a young child I could easily pick up on social cues around me and I was smart enough to understand when the conflict had arisen. The constant recognition made me wise beyond my years, but it also deprived me of the childhood I so desperately craved. The twisted feelings in my presence led me to crave a more consistent path. I was desperate for dependence, an experience that many will experience without recognition (trust me when I say oblivion can save you from a lot of pain). I was unable to shield my vulnerability when exposure was high and instead take on the burden of other people. Focusing on them, making their problems mine, attempting to fix it. Always trying to fix it.

Now, I am able to see that this has harmed me for many years.

The more out of control things were around me, the more I felt I had to control them. But, the thing is, you don't have the power to really change anyone, it's not your job and it'll disappoint you. So, as issues spiraled and my need to help grew stronger, I coped with my disappointment in many ways. In other words, I absorbed issues and I dealt with them in my own twisted way, I was hard on myself.

I thought that maybe, just maybe, if I held it together if I did not get in trouble and I did not disappoint, if I appeared perfect and put together, if I did more than everyone else, that it would be transferred into the unpredictable world I inhabited. This did lead to some success, but mentally it was destructive and physically, it took a toll.

I felt that I had to do everything "the best" or not do it at all, an "All or Nothing" personality. There didn't seem to be a point in participating unless I could be extremely proud of what I did. I NEEDED good grades, I NEEDED to clean my room every day, I NEEDED to be the planner and I NEEDED to know my next step. At all times. I needed to be prepared, ready for anything, two steps ahead of the game. This coping mechanism gave me the fake comfort of control.

The consistency with my immediate self prevented me from breaking down, even if the world around me was shattering. This way, I could feel accomplished and at ease. Performing well in nearly every aspect of my life meant I had one thing to hold onto. That obsessive control began to take over and eventually steal my life.

Control kept me going, I began to crave it in order to function or felt I had nothing at all. Some say coping mechanisms are key to sanity, but my coping mechanism only worked until it became prioritized, overtaking my brain and my body. Making my decisions, promoting isolation, moving me further away from the people that only wanted to save me, and later on changing the very physical nature of my being. As time passed by and I got older, it had gotten worse. Me, the control freak. Me, miss perfect. Me, the one with the reputation of "put together" and "overachiever" and "go-getter" had lost control over my own life. The one thing I thought I could always count on.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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