My writing of Losing Control, Finding Serenity was primarily within the context of my struggles and personal recovery from the compulsive need to control most things and people in my life– particularly those closest to me—and the resulting adverse consequences. I didn’t give much thought to how pervasive the need to control might be in people in other places, cultures, and traditions, nor in which ways they manifested control.
It was thus unexpected–and deeply rewarding to me–that LCFS has attracted a broad international audience since it was published six years ago. The same has been the case with respect to this blog, which draws daily visitors from the far corners of the globe.
I have thus recently thought about whether the need to control is a “global” issue and I believe it is. Here is why.
Control Takes Diverse Forms
Most people typically think of controllers in such terms or ways as nitpickers, micro-managers, control freaks, perfectionists, home and work despots, Type A personalities, and the like.
However, subtle, even genteel, forms of control can also impact our serenity. For example, when we prod, cajole, or charm, or when we withdraw from loved ones or play the victim or martyr, we are usually trying to control others. When we repeat a suggestion more than once, we are likely being controlling. And when we apply “guilt trips,” we are clearly controlling. Depending on how it is used, silence, too, can be very controlling.
I doubt that these kinds of control are exclusive to us here in the U.S.
The Common Catalyst for Control
Both assertive and subtle forms of control have a common catalyst: FEAR. In LCFS, I refer to fear as “Control’s Best Friend.” That’s because most controllers, particularly control freaks are fear driven. They are afraid of uncertainty, the unknown, and of what the future holds. They thus constantly dwell in the “what ifs” and “what might bes,” and in their core are concerned about their very survival. (Hence, the acronym “Future Events Already Ruined). To shield themselves from the flames of these demons, they grip life tightly in an attempt to build a security wall around their “home field.”
So a pertinent question, then, is whether fear is an oppressor only to us here in the U.S? I’m pretty sure it isn’t, which is to say,
Fear Knows No Borders.
Fear is indigenous to the human species, particularly “emotional” fears. While certain peoples, cultures, and traditions may be less fearful and afraid than others, it’s unlikely that they’re totally immune from fear, and thus still control to some extent. Any differences likely lay in how often, how much, and in which ways they try to control—and not whether they control.
That is why I believe that,
Control Knows No Borders!
I also believe that is why LCFS and my blog have garnered international interest from people seeking personal recovery from these issues. People throughout the world are concerned about the harms of excessive control and want to learn how to be less controlling.
Please Share Your Thoughts
These, of course, are only my beliefs and thoughts on the subject. What are yours? Do you believe that Americans generally control more or less than people from other parts of the world? Are our controlling means and methods different than others? Do you know of any nationalities, cultures, or tribes that control more or less than we do? If so, which ones and why do you think that is?
In the meantime,
Let It Go!—and Accept What Is
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