My last post ended with stating that I felt like I am entering a season of learning and that has certainly been the case!
As it turns out, when you go to counseling, you hear some things that you might not want to hear. Things like, “you are not perfect.” Maybe those exact words were not said, but it felt like it. Tony and I went to see a counselor that has a heart for grief and blended families. He has lived a similar story as ours, but is much further down the road.
Here is a little tidbit I picked up along the way (I won’t even charge you for this second hand counseling session). When something traumatic happens or there is a lot of pain with life not going how “it is supposed to,” we can start leaning towards the following four categories. 1) Don’t Trust 2) Don’t Feel 3) Don’t Talk 4) Control and Manipulate to get Our Needs Met. If conflicts arise in relationships, then probably, the conflict is falling under one of these four biggies. (It’s like I’ve never adopted a kid from trauma and this is new news or something???)
It was pretty easy to cross off two of the categories. I do plenty of feeling and talking. I can dip into the distrust area, but generally speaking, I’m a truster. That only leaves “control and manipulation.” Now, I have never been accused of being controlling. I have never thought of myself as needing control. Ever! But I have never lived post back surgery, post husband’s death, post difficult adoption or mid blending families. So, when the counselor said, that there is a control battle ensuing, my first thought was, “YES! Finally, someone is going to tell Tony to quit trying to control me.” However, the counselor went on to say that when there is a control battle, both are equalling needing control. The only problem with that, I thought, was that I simply don’t have that problem, but I KNOW SOMEONE WHO DOES!
I mean, I never try to tell Tony what to do. Just don’t tell me what to do, and I’ll be good. And I mean, not a whisper about how I should try to pick up my clothes off the floor. Not an inference about how my car should be kept cleaner. Not a word about what our schedule should look like. Not an opinion about what paint colors to use in our new house and for the love of all that is pure and holy, not a single, solitary peep about how I should discipline MY kids!!! Basically, not a word about anything that I want control over and we’re good to go here! It’s not that hard.
I think that coming out of all of the stuff I have gone through the past four years, I have lived into the lie that I am only better for it. I have a stronger faith, more compassion, more purpose, more layers. (It’s like I’m a contestant on The Bachelor that think’s more of my good points, rather than just the truth of who I am. I won’t name any names from this season, but you probably know who I mean if you are watching). It never really occurred to me that I also grew to need more control, in this world that was so out of control for me for a few years.
I’m not trying to talk myself down here, at all. I just want to see my strengths and weaknesses in the light of truth and know that I am loved anyway.
So, as with anything . . . it is a process. I can’t just decide to not need so much control. There has to be a different attack here. Which I will most likely talk about in my next post, or this one would get too long. I can tell you, that I am excited about how life is changing and becoming lighter. And when it gets heavy, it is because I’m attacking this beast with the wrong (yet most comfortable and easy to use) weapons.
Megan’s Take: Oh, sweet friend. I LOVE your process of elimination on “issues after trauma.” Certainly not these things, probably not that one, I guess MAYBE?? this one? Ah, kindred spirits we are. Unfortunately, I think some of those issues manifest in lots of us even if we haven’t experienced deep trauma. Not me, of course, but other people. The ones I nudge in church b/c the sermon I’m hearing is precisely FOR THEM! (In fact, I hope they’re taking notes, but if not, I’ll be happy to take care of that for them.) I am very proud of you guys for doing the hard work of seeing a counselor and “attacking” some of these things and for the transparency in sharing them with the rest of us so we don’t feel so alone. PS — I hope I wasn’t too controlling the other day when I very honestly shared my opinion about paint colors and how to ‘properly’ hang pictures. Tony, you know I was joking. Kind of. (Wink.)
I wonder if Tony has a little grin on his face after reading this post. We all know that it takes two to tango, but I do love how you have exposed yourself as the one who wasn’t willing to admit your control issues. It is something I need to emulate, for sure!
Malachi 2 talks about the Refiner’s fire that produces silver and gold. I think that’s what marriage can be BUT IT IS SO DIFFICULT! And the fire is HOT! And I’m JUST FINE the way I am! AARGH!
Nope – clearly I found little to relate to in this post…..but I’m sure you’re helping lots of control freaks out there. 😬