Unmasking Control Issues and Nurturing Our Emotional Freedom
We’ve all had moments of insecurity, feeling like someone or something can happen where the rug is pulled out from under our feet out of nowhere (like an earthquake). Even if we anticipated it, we weren’t fully ready for the moment and it’s a daunting feeling. You suddenly feel ungrounded, and maybe even unsure of what to do next. If you do know what to do next, you can’t help but feel insanely anxious, worried that there might be some aftershocks to follow and if you could handle any more at the moment. Thoughts that start with “if” like, “What if…” “In case…”, and “If only” can’t help but race around in your head.
Maybe you were told to be insecure to stay on your feet better, to never relax, and always be ready. Maybe you were purposely compared a lot to create a deep sense of competition which naturally creates a deep need to be possessive as well. When that transfers to your external relationships, not everyone can handle it. Perhaps your family members, partner, friends, or colleagues just aren’t having it. And to be truthful, neither are you. You feel on guard all the time. You feel unwanted and paranoid that one day you will lose the love of your life, your job, or your place in the world of someone or something that matters to you. It’s exhausting and leads to a cycle of burnout over and over again until you decide to do something significantly more about it.
That feeling of insecurity and possessiveness did not come out of nowhere. They may emerge from a complex interplay of how you experienced things in the past, how society influenced you (indoctrination), and other psychological factors.
These emotions often give rise to control issues. They can stem from fear of losing control or being vulnerable, resulting in negative behaviors and strained connections.
Unraveling the root causes of these emotions and understanding their implications is the way for you to gain emotional freedom and regain healthy connections with others. So how do we do that? I invite you to explore within, reflect with an open heart and non-judgemental mind, look into the feelings of insecurity and possessiveness, question their association with control issues, and discuss strategies to come out of the ordeal, loosening the grip around our need for control.
Exploring Feelings of Insecurity
Feelings of insecurity commonly stem from past experiences of rejection, trauma, or a lack of self-worth. These emotional wounds create self-doubt and an ongoing fear of not being good enough or lovable.
Insecurity can manifest in various ways, such as constant comparison to others, seeking validation from external sources, or harboring an incessant need for control over one’s surroundings. Recognizing and acknowledging these feelings is the first step towards addressing and overcoming them.
Understanding Possessiveness and Control Issues
Possessiveness, closely linked to insecurity, often arises when individuals fear losing someone or something they perceive as vital to their well-being. In romantic relationships, possessiveness may manifest as jealousy, controlling behaviors, or a constant need to monitor their partner’s actions.
Control issues, fueled by fear and feelings of inadequacy, can emerge as a means of compensating for the uncertainty and disempowerment individuals may feel deep within themselves.
It is crucial to recognize that possessiveness and control are fundamentally driven by fear and often judgement rather than love, trust, or genuine care.
Reflecting on the Roots of Control Issues
So what could be causing the control issues that you have? It’s important to look into possible underlying causes, even going back to your childhood.
Childhood experiences, such as a lack of emotional security or witnessing unhealthy relationship dynamics, can shape one’s perception of control and attachment. Being controlling can be a learned behavior: People frequently imitate the domineering actions of members of their own family or neighborhood, which can make them yearn for positions of authority.
Influences from your own culture and society that tell you about gender roles, power imbalances, and unrealistic expectations can also contribute to the development of control issues.
Several mental health conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which induce intrusive or uncontrollable thoughts and cause a person to spiral out of control, can lead to controlling behavior.
Also, people with generalized anxiety disorder may worry excessively and feel the need to exercise control over others as a coping mechanism. By questioning the roots of these behaviors, individuals can gain insight into their motivations and work towards creating healthier patterns.
Being controlling doesn’t make someone “bad,” but rather indicates that they are dealing with issues that have led to them engaging in particular behaviors. However, when dominating or controlling conduct leads to emotional and psychological abuse of the person under control, relationships may suffer.
Cooperation may not be an option for conflict resolution when another person is the target of constant and widespread controlling actions that are intended to denigrate, humiliate, or gaslight them. In fact, this kind of behavior is deemed abusive when it persists for an extended period of time.
Control in relationships may cause ridicule, harassment, coercion, and intimidation. An adult may be treated like a child. An adult, like a husband, may be ordered to stop seeing friends and even family.
There can be yelling, swearing, and other abusive behaviors.
Strategies to Loosen Up and Cultivate Emotional Freedom
As soon as the controlling behaviors start, intervention is required because they have the potential to rapidly worsen and become very harmful. By seeking immediate help, one can stop the situation from getting worse and becoming more dangerous. Nevertheless, seeking assistance for managing behaviors is never too late.
It is possible for people who exhibit controlling behavior to learn new habits. Through conscious efforts, one can effectively learn to recognize the reasons behind their control problems, comprehend the triggers that lead to them, develop healthy coping mechanisms, pick up new behaviors, and improve their communication abilities.
Self-Reflection and Self-Acceptance
First and foremost, engaging in self-reflection allows individuals to explore their emotions, motivations, and insecurities. Accepting oneself unconditionally provides a foundation for personal growth and resilience. Through practices such as journaling, therapy, or meditation, individuals can cultivate self-awareness and develop a compassionate attitude toward themselves.
Honest and open communication is essential in building trust and fostering healthier relationships. Expressing concerns, needs, and fears in a non-confrontational manner encourages understanding, empathy, and a shared sense of responsibility within the relationship.
Working on self-esteem is vital to overcoming insecurity and possessiveness. Engaging in activities that promote self-care, developing new skills, and seeking personal fulfillment outside of relationships can boost self-confidence and reduce reliance on external validation.
For individuals struggling with trust issues, engaging in trust-building exercises can be beneficial. Starting small, such as sharing personal feelings with a trusted friend or engaging in activities that require vulnerability, can gradually rebuild faith in oneself and others.
Consider Professional Help
In some cases, receiving professional help from therapists, counselors, coaches or wellness practitioners specializing in relationship dynamics and personal growth can provide valuable insights and guidance. These professionals can help individuals explore deeply rooted issues, identify triggers, and develop coping mechanisms to disentangle themselves from control issues.
Feelings of insecurity and possessiveness are complex emotions that can ultimately manifest as control issues. Recognizing, addressing, and overcoming these emotions are crucial steps toward cultivating emotional freedom, building healthier relationships, and fostering personal growth. By exploring the roots of insecurity, questioning control issues, and adopting strategies to loosen up, individuals can embark on a path toward self-acceptance, trust, and emotional well-being.