Letting GO of ACTING Controlling (Part 1)

without arranging everything!

PREVIOUS: Acting Controlling (Part 3)

SITE: Freedom & Control

See Acronyms Page for abbrev.

STOP Controlling
To change this dysfunctional pattern takes Willingness, Perseverance & Courage!  We have to be ready to look at ourselves without intense judgement & S-H, or we’re not going to own the C. behaviors.

Reminder: You are not responsible to try making changes or correct problems which are beyond your competency, power, authority or responsibility – OR that ARE the responsibility of someone else!

The OLD Way: Being C. is to function from the assumption that the only way to feel safe in the world is by arranging everything OUR way, all the time.
But, the very act of Controlling is a betrayal of the True Self, shutting us off from healing our wounds & making loving connections with others, because of the fear & rage we carry from the WIC & PP.

Ironically, being a control freak never seems to include changing oneself! The Negative Introject (PP) keeps trying to deceive us, saying that the only way to proceed is to completely control every tiny detail of how & when things should happen, and/or how others should act.
At the same time the PP continues to tortures us so they won’t lose power over us – by making us believe that no matter how hard we work at it, we’ll never be good enough or do things right.

progress not perfectionBOTTOM LINEs – BEING C. :
• can be called a character defect, but it’s imperative we don’t use that to berate ourself (vs. Being in Control of oneself)
• is NOT the same as having strong opinions. Rather, it’s a way to ‘force solutions’ by imposing our will on others

• is a form of grandiosity, a defense mechanism to defend against re-experiencing early vulnerability, powerlessness & daily neglect AND
our style of controlling is likely a copy of someone in our family
• provides a temporary feeling of being powerful (not at the mercy of anyone!) but like all addictions, has to be constantly repeated, since it doesn’t heal our terror
 As the WIC heals & we strengthen our ‘Unit’, the need for it will diminish in intensity, but may never completely go away. This has to be accepted – with healthy humility & self-respect (opposite of grandiosity)
• Lessening it requires self-esteem, boundaries, making better choices & letting love inwherever it may come from!
• Letting go of being C. can only be done in stages, & never perfectly!

There are many wise things to be said about ‘Letting Go’, but here are 2 main ones for ACoAs. To grow we need to —

1. STOP trying to win our parents’ love. We wouldn’t need to IF they had the capacity in the first place. Stop chasing them (or substitutes) for the nurturing every child needs but was simply not available because of their damage, even if they meant well & said they loved us

2. Relinquish the fantasy / illusion that doing things perfectly will get us that love & approval. All it does is increase our self-hate & fear, since perfection is unattainable AND our family’s mental or emotional health is not – and was never was – in our power to create.
People either can love us or not. We can not earn it!

Freedom from Controlling comes from giving up the internal fight, to stop trying to manage everything, to stop trying to please the PP, & by staying out of whatever is none of our business!

self-fight✶ This does NOT mean being lazy, withholding or paralyzed.
• Rather – it comes from knowing that even in times of discomfort our inner foundation is built on solid ground – a support system made up of our Loving Inner Parent, the Higher Power & respectful / kind people.

• Being comfortable in our skin includes allowing OTHERS to be themselves, & letting many circumstances be – just as they are. There’s a time to act & a time to be still. The Serenity Prayer tells us:
✳️ Change what you can right now, & Accept what you can’t change at all, what’s not yet possible, or is not yet the right time.

NEXT: Letting Go of C. –  Part 2

7 thoughts on “Letting GO of ACTING Controlling (Part 1)

  1. “Practice: Pick one thing you feel a definite need to control, and then DON’T make any effort what-so-ever to exert your will over the situation the next time around. Allow yourself to just watch the external experience unfold completely on its own, without any help from you. As you observe, notice you thoughts & emotions.”

    This made me chuckle in a scared sort of way 😉 I know there are many things I have given up controlling, and that there are still some to go. My response to the above let me know that I am still protecting myself in this area.

    Thank you.


  2. Thanks for the post. This is a good topic.

    I’m struggling mightily with this part of ACA right now. I received a letter from an ex that i didn’t respond to, because I was not sure I should. I’m not sure whether I’m being controlling by not responding or just letting go. Some friends have suggested over the past couple of weeks that I call her, but I’m unsure what thit will bring about.


    • M, Balancing between those 2 opposites is what it’s all about. My questions (to myself) are ‘”What works best for my recovery?” & “How can I best protect my Inner Child in this situation?” Using my gut also helps.

      I was once accused of being passive-aggressive by a soon-to-be-ex-friend because I wouldn’t engage in any further ‘discussions’, I assume because she was feeling abandoned. For me it was about not rehashing old issues & saying things that would hurt her more, but also that I was done with the relationship that had hurt me.


  3. Donna, I’m so glad I found your site! I also write about the harms of excessive control and how to let it go and enjoy the gifts that follow. It is so true, as you say, that being controlling is a betrayal of oneself. When we focus intently on trying to change or control others, the focus is necessarily off ourselves and what we need to do–and change–in order to improve our lives emotionally, spiritually–and even financially. I have found that one of the best ways in which to let go of control is to address and process our fears. When we fear less, we control less. I also agree that it is a gradual process, but one that increases as we experience the benefits of “losing” control.



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