Attachment Diaries: Chapter 6

People trying to control how I feel or behave drive me absolutely bonkers. I am not a puppet or a toy — I have free will and a sense of self, not to mention thoughts and feelings.

To be clear, I don’t appreciate being told what to do very much, but what’s worse is when people try to manipulate me. Worse still is when people just expect me to behave or feel a certain way, then get angry when I fail.

Of course, it is much easier to look at how other people drive me crazy than how I do it to myself. So in the spirit of self-reflection: where do I struggle to surrender control? Certainly in my romantic life, but where else? I think I also deal with control issues in a very limited fashion with everyone else, but it’s proportionate to how close I consider this person to be. This is likely due to the heightened probability of conflict when I’m close to someone — I’m more likely to care enough to argue if I care about the other person beyond the norm.

Conflict is inherently challenging. I think, for many of us, we can’t conceive of a version of reality where neither of us gives our power away to the other. That’s probably the root of control issues in general: trying to control the flow of power between self and other. There is, of course, a way to resolve conflict where neither person gives or takes power away; in fact, I would go so far as to argue that no other outcome is truly a resolution of conflict, and that the power struggle will continue (consciously or unconsciously) until balance is restored to both parties.

So what does all this have to do with my attachment patterns, anyway? Well, I’m very attached to most everyone I experience conflict with; that is, if I care enough to fight, argue, or get hurt, I am very likely attached to that person. I base many of my self-assessments on external validations I receive from those people. And this is where it comes to be about control: I want to control how others treat me or see me as a person.

I’m going to see how this works into my process. I meditate when I get upset (though I should probably be trying to do it every time I think of it), so I could add a mantra of sorts: I accept myself as I am. I accept others as they are. I surrender control of how I am perceived. Perhaps this will shed some light on the shadowy areas of my attachment.

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