QUOTE: “A tongue has no bones but is strong enough to break a heart. Be careful with your words.”~ Anon
1. OBJECTIVE Control
What is measurable, & psychologically or practically achievable – given the person’s age, genetics, native abilities & leaned skills.
However, the perception of control (whether accurate or not) influences people’s behaviors and emotions more strongly than actual control.
a. INTERNAL Locus of Control – what we believe causes the outcome of situations : Outcomes are within our control, determined by our attributes, decisions & hard work. Believing in the ability to control outcomes is required to be successful
in life, as long as it’s based in reality.
Overall, these people are happier & more successful. They come from families who emphasize effort, education, responsibility & thinking, where parents are warm, supportive, encouraging, give their children
the rewards they promised & are consistent in self-discipline. (Quiz at MindTools )
People generally attribute one of the following broad causes / reasons for being able to arrive at a goals or receive rewards:
– Internal Stable : self-determined by our own ability & personal mastery “It’s due to me” (MORE…. re. ‘Locus of Control’)
– Internal Unstable : rewards are based on how much effort we put out, & for how long
• ‘Internals’ know they have general control in their life, & specific control over areas such as health, intellectual functioning, memory & relationships.
They tend to be highly motivated to achieve, are not very outer-directed, & believe they’re able to successfully take actions that are needed to achieve their goals
2. PERCEIVED Control: the ‘generalized expectancy for internal, rather than external, control of reinforcements’.
This is our sense of how effective rewards or benefits are provided by our environment. This is based on who’s sitting at the control panel of our life, which has a great impact on our physical & mental health.
The value will depend on —
• Contingency: deciding if a particular outcome is controllable or not
• Competence: thinking that we’re capable of creating a desired outcome OR if we can avoid / suppress an undesirable result or not
b. EXTERNAL Locus of Control
Outcomes are outside of our control, determined by ‘fate’ & independent of our decisions & hard work (belief of most ACoAs). Western culture is so focused on DO-ing that we think of any topic only in those terms
‘Externals” beliefs about reaching a goal or receive rewards:
– External Stable : from objective task characteristics & the level of difficulty, OR outcome created by powerful others “It’s due to them”
– External Unstable: based on chance, fate, karma “It’s just luck”
Such people tend to be more stressed & prone to clinical depression. FoO sources: Social limitations increase the expectancy of being out-of-control. Most often these people are from a lower socio-economic level, may come from large single parent family headed by a woman, &/or parents are themselves ‘externals’
REVIEW : Many unhealed people have the Illusion of Control, assuming power over people, places & things – which they do no tactually have. This attitude is a type of fantasy & narcissistic grandiosity, used as a band-aid to cover S-H & powerlessness. It drives symbiotic, co-dependent ACoAs to believe they can do the impossible, anything to avoid working on their damage!
EXP: Using Over-self-control to Delay Gratification –
Researcher David C. Funder observed that those who keep putting off getting a reward for their efforts (like too many ACoAs) are not actually better at self-control. For them it’s more about self-deprivation, being compulsively disciplined, unable to be any other way! (MORE ….. )
➼ Ironically, this way of functioning is definitely a loss of control – ie. NO choice!
✶ With Recovery, ACoAs come to understand, accept & implement our Internal locus – #1a. While no one has 100% control – over everything – contrary to some Teachings, AA’s Step 1 reminds us: “We admitted we were powerless over____”. To believe otherwise is arrogance!
See 3 Cs’ of Al-Anon and the Serenity Prayer.
NEXT: What is S-C #3