Control is an illusion. When we most believe we are in control of a situation, we are actually out of control.

I believe the driving force of the need to control is fear. An acronym for fear is “False Events Appearing Real”. We fear what will happen if we let go and let life happen. I have found that when I let go of trying to control the world around me, my life is fuller and a lot more peaceful. When I keep the focus on myself, my relationships are better and I am less anxious. It is not an easy thing to do, letting go, especially when the need to control life around us was developed out of necessity to help us survive physically, mentally or emotionally. It’s hard to tell ourselves that part of our lives is over and there is no longer a need for what is sometimes called “white knuckling” (holding on so tight that your knuckles turn white). Like an addiction, letting go has to be done one minute at a time because the need for control touches every area of our lives. Try asking yourself in each situation:

  • “What am I afraid will happen?”
  • “Is my fear really logical?”
  • “What am I running away from?”
  • “What am I hiding from?”
  • “What will happen if I don’t try to control this situation?”
  • “Am I helping or hurting?”
  • Is this my business?

I struggle with control issues. In the past, I could spot them in others but didn’t see them in myself until I realized that I have a need to control what others think of me. When I came to that realization, I began to look at possibilities in other areas of my life. I see it in my writing, the need to give every detail of every situation in order to ensure that the reader perceives what I have written as I believe they should. I cannot control what someone takes away from my writing just as I cannot control what people think of me. Every person is made up of life experiences and they have developed their individual beliefs, interests and opinions. Still it is difficult to let go of the illusion.

I feel that I have to make excuses or give reasons for any thing I say and/or do so that I can control how it is received. I try to make others understand why I am the way I am. It may be acceptable in this venue because we are all striving to learn from and support each other but it doesn’t work in my everyday life. My new goal is to accept myself as I am and stop worrying about what other people think of me because I cannot control their perception of me in any way. We have a saying in Ala-non, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” It took me a while to make sense of this saying but that was because I didn’t get the concept behind it. Yet, when I look at it as meaning as, “I cannot control what others think of me” the meaning is clear.

If you believe in God, the concept of “letting go” is simply “Let God and Let God.” Letting go is learning to trust that things will work as they are meant to. I have a friend who has a sticky note on her mirror that says, “(her name), Thanks but I don’t need your help today, Love, God.” Another tool that some of my friends use is a God Box. When something is worrying you, write it on a piece of paper and put it in your God Box. Once you have placed the problem in his hands, let go of it. This will only work if you let go of the situation. I have a tendency to turn it over then take it back, turn it over, then take it back like a Yo Yo.

God doesn’t expect us to let go of the steering wheel. For example, we can’t say, “I can’t pay my bills God, you take over” and sit back and wait. He expects us to use the knowledge and tools we have to solve problems to the best of our ability. If you are not a believer, the concept of letting go still works. When we try to control a situation, we usually end up making the situation worse, so just let go.

The burden of trying to control everything around us is stressful and exhausting and it’s not our job. What would life be like if we just put that burden down and put that energy into something more positive? Would it feel like freedom?


So You Think You’ve Escaped Alcoholism

2592So you think you’ve escaped alcoholism, not a chance. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to be effected by alcoholism.

Alcoholism affects everyone who comes in contact with an alcoholic. It could be a parent, a sibling, a relative, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, husband, wife, friend, child, or a co-worker. That is why Ala-non, is a support group for families and friends of alcoholics not just families of alcoholics. You may not have the disease but I can say that you have the ism’s  without ever having met you.

It is said that alcoholism is a family disease and I believe it with all my heart. I grew up in an alcoholic home. Why do I call it an alcoholic home? Does that mean that all my family members were alcoholics? No, our home revolved around my alcoholic mother because her actions or in-actions affected every one of us. Our emotional make-up developed around coping with her drinking and the effect it had on us. I like to see my mother as having alcoholism rather than as an alcoholic but it is my habit to use the term alcoholic which is unfortunately a label. She grew up in an alcoholic home just like I did.  I have the utmost love and strive to understand because but for the grace of God, go I. As alcoholism is said to be genetic, I could have followed in her footsteps. I am lucky, I don’t like the taste of alcohol and yet I am unlucky in that I don’t like not having control. Why is that unlucky? Because I have to fight the tendency to control everything around me to ensure that it doesn’t give me that feeling of not having control over my life and to avoid the helpless feelings I had growing up. I also believe it is a learned behavior, we do what we know and alcoholism is what we know.

That is why even though you think you have escaped the parent or ex, you are wrong. You were affected and I can prove it.

Do you have problems with authority figures?e75f70e61261afa370d84fcbf1da6be7

Do you have problems getting along with others?

Do you have control issues?

Is your relationship picker broken?

Are you hyper-vigilant?

Do you fight depression?

Do you lack confidence?

Are you an under or over achiever?

Are you a people-pleaser?

Are you a care taker?

Are you a fixer?

There are many other symptoms but I’m sure you get it and you know which one of these have developed in you.

In my work as a Crisis Call Counselor, I could pretty much bet that regardless of the crisis, the conversation would eventually reveal that the caller had been affected by alcoholism, either theirs or someone in their past or present life. I consider alcoholism an “emotional” disease because it can bring about anger, sadness, depression, resentment, etc. in the alcoholic or those affected by a person’s drinking. The reason persons affected by another person’s drinking are considered to be co-dependent is that while the alcoholic is addicted to alcohol, the affected person is addicted to the alcoholic. I have had so many friends, boyfriends and a husband who were addicted to alcohol and in the beginning of the relationship, I didn’t know there was a problem. It’s like a magnet! I have friends in Ala-non who say it is because alcoholics are charismatic and exciting. Perhaps we see something in their personalities that we wish we had.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I’m not with him/her any more, so I don’t need Ala-non.” I have thought that myself but I always end up going back because my ism’s become overwhelming. This post is not meant to advertise or push Ala-non or Adult Children of Alcoholics, yet it is what I know so I do highly recommend them. Just like the person with alcoholism, only you can decide that you need help and what support is best for you. I have been told, “When it hurts bad enough, you will get help.”

“Co-dependent No More” by Melody Beattie is a really good book for understanding the effects of alcoholism. I read this book like a person dying of thirst drinks water. It told me that I was not crazy and there was hope.

People addicted to alcohol and/or drugs will to try to convince others that it is your fault, don’t take it on. Think 3 C’s – You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it. Seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of, alcoholism in you or someone else is not your fault but it is your responsibility. If you are afraid of the alcoholic becoming angry because you are seeking help, 12 step support groups are anonymous as is therapy. If you go to a meeting or see a therapist and you are not comfortable with the environment or personalities, try another meeting or therapist. There are many meetings and therapists available. If you are in a remote area, I understand that there are meetings online. Just do an Internet search of Ala-non or Adult Children of Alcoholics. There are two daily readers, One Day at a Time in Ala-non and Courage to Change that are utilized by Ala-Non. I find ODAT (nickname) useful when you are in a relationship with an alcoholic and Courage to Change is a good all-around book. I mostly use Courage to Change and it seems to be a favorite among recovering Ala-Non’s. Before using these books, it would be helpful to do some research on alcoholism. People active in Ala-Non attend open AA meetings to learn what the person with alcoholism experiences.

I have tortured my mother all my life by trying to get answers or justifications.

Whatever you decide to do, know that you are not alone. Everything you have experienced, someone else has experienced. It helps to talk with other people who are experiencing the same thing or who have been there and survived.

There is always hope.




     I have been putting off doing this post but it being National Domestic Violence Month, now is the time.

     It is so easy to proclaim “I would never get into a domestic violence situation!” or “I would never stay in a domestic violence situation!” or ” Just leave!”. Never say “never” because you don’t know what you would or could do in a domestic violence situation. It seems so simple for someone to end the relationship and move on when you have never been in their shoes, but once you are there you see that it just isn’t that simple. Nothing about it is simple! However, it is possible to get out, stay out and flourish.  In this post I am not offering advice, I am offering my strength, hope and experience and not as a professional but as a domestic violence survivor. Take what you like and leave the rest.

     I have examined my childhood for clues as to why I would stay in a violent relationship. While I was rarely spanked or whipped, there were two instances that I would have to say had an impact on me. Once was when my dad was angry with my mother and took it out on me. I didn’t get the answer I wanted from him so I called my mother at work and she gave me the answer I wanted. He was angry with her because it appeared that she was cheating on him and she was. He whipped me but I shut down emotionally and wouldn’t, couldn’t cry. He kept whipping me insisting that I cry but I didn’t, couldn’t. Finally, my mother demanded that he stop but by then my thighs were bruised. Another time, he slapped me in the face while I was driving for making fun of his driving  and apologized later saying that he was shocked himself that he slapped me. There were a couple of instances where he hit my mother though I didn’t witness it and do not know the details. Her explanation for why she just let it go is that “he was such a good person”. Our next door neighbor beat my mother once in the parking lot of a hotel supposedly because she was cheating on my father. It was explained away to me as alcohol being responsible. So what did I learn? I learned to justify and make excuses for abuse.

     My ex-husband, Richard, is intelligent, skilled and charming and he was and alcoholic, cunning, cruel, and evil. He gave with one hand and took with the other. Underneath it all, he was vulnerable and he hated that vulnerability so badly that he did everything he could to cover it up. His father was an alcoholic and abused his mother who would hide under Richard’s bed until her husband left the house because she said she couldn’t leave her children. Richard would bring her food while she hid under his bed, setting up a basis for a lifetime of unhealthy dependence for both of them. Their relationship became more and more volatile as he grew up and tried to build a life for himself. She was a constant interference in his relationships and a love/hatred grew between the two of them. He always had his hand out to her for money even though he had an exceptionally well paying career as a petrochemical engineer. Her providing him with money whether a gift or a loan became another thing to tie him to her and something she could hold over his head. She was extremely manipulative and would twist the truth to get him to go into “uber protection mode” causing him to turn on me or any who came before me. We would get along great and have fun together until Richard came into the picture and then she would tell some tale of how I had embarrassed her or put her health at risk in some way. She behaved toward him more like he was her husband rather than her son. If he became angry with her, he would take it out on me physically, verbally and emotionally. He once told me that it was a look on my face that caused him to turn on me and we both knew it was a look of disapproval that he had seen on his mother’s face. He hated that he loved her and would say that he hoped her plane would crash when she traveled.  Their relationship was a breeding ground for textbook Misogyny. Misogyny is when one hates women and/or girls.

5514273-ciclo-de-la-violencia-dom-stica     My first clue of what was coming occurred early in our dating relationship when he would stop speaking to me and act as if I was not present. This would be the result of my of my saying or doing anything that he didn’t like. That was the beginning of my learning to beg because I couldn’t accept reality. The abuse escalated to verbal insults like: “You are an imbecile.” “You fucking idiot…” “You are so stupid that you couldn’t survive without me!” and the humiliation of his scattering things on the ground and telling me to pick them up, kicking me out of my own car and making me walk, throwing all of the plastic ware out into the yard, dumping all the food from the refrigerator in the trash and kicking me out. Then the physical abuse started with shoving and graduated to choking, pulling me around on the ground by my hair, and kicking me in the ribs and stomach. The emotional abuse in the beginning was telling me he could never love me or anyone, telling me things I couldn’t even get along with his mother and she didn’t anger easily, embarrassing me in front of friends, family and co-workers and in public. Even harder to take than the physical abuse was the humiliation so I continually tried to normalize our relationship to the outside world.

     Richard loved to frighten me by driving recklessly, yelling to wake me up, shooting a gun at the ceiling or acting irresponsibly with a gun in bed, and surprising me with verbal or physical attacks. To this date, I startle easily when someone walks into a room or up behind me. He was vindictive to the neighbors. He would throw their children’s bicycle in a ravine because they left their garage door open and he felt it affected the security of our house. He cut one neighbor’s cable wires because he complained about Richard’s bobcat being a safety concern. He would commit the vandalism at night while I was asleep or when I wasn’t home and tell me about it later.

Richard was also very controlling and as a result I will spend hours wandering through stores when I run errands because when I was with Richard, that was the only freedom I had. We built a successful business so we were together 24/7 and he made excuses as to why I couldn’t spend time with my family or friends. The only time I had to myself was when I would run errands and even then, I had an explicit list to go by. I loved those lists because they meant that I wouldn’t do anything to anger him. Even though he could be charming, his anger and arrogance showed through so that my family, friends and acquaintances only put up with him for my sake.

Continued Part Two