Help! The Internet says that I’m a controlling woman.

OK. So yesterday I ran face-first into an ugly truth about myself. Actually, I was guided to the realisation by someone close to me and I thank them for it. I hope. Well. Yes. I thank them for pointing out a huge area of potential growth for me but I am a bit annoyed that it may give them an (undeserved) opportunity to feel smug and righteous. Defensive? Who me?

Anyway, the issue? I am a controlling woman.

This realisation is good because it means that I can now start to work on my part of fixing the negative behaviour patterns in this relationship. Ownership. Tick.

So, let me describe the scene. I was waaay up on my high horse feeling victimised by this person’s behaviour and venting my hurt and frustrations to them. Well, they were not impressed with my carrying on and when I paused for breath, they suggested that I look up info about controlling women on the internet. I was completely indignant and thought that they were way off track and said so. But shortly afterwards I did just that and recognised myself in the descriptions.

I scored pretty much a 12 out of 12 (I say 10, maybe 11 but I could see how they might think 12) against the ’12 Signs of a Controlling Woman’ article I read. (I’m not giving you the link. But, I can see you opening up that other tab and searching. There are a lot of articles to choose from and they’re all bad). I was horrified. I am horrified. I have fallen off my high horse and landed right on my arse and it hurts. A lot.

Reading the descriptions in this list of behaviours is brutal. Some of them are pretty extreme. I may not do exactly what is being described in the article but I can recognise some of my behaviours there. I can also reel off a whole list of justifications of why I do them and how my behaviour is because of something negative THEY are doing or have done. But the bottom line is that none of these behaviours is serving me or helping me in achieving what I want from them, which is ultimately to have a better relationship with this person.

So, my next steps?

Firstly, I’m going to journal on each of the 12 signs and be honest with myself about how my behaviours and attitudes might be interpreted as controlling in each case. I am going to journal about what my underlying fear is with regard to each point. Because, ultimately, I believe that it is fear that is driving my behaviour. Hopefully, getting clear about this will help me pull up these behaviours in the future and be able to address the fear directly instead.

Secondly, I am going to get coached on this. Yep, even coaches get coached. It is very common. Probably because we know and believe in coaching and how it can bring incredible results. In fact, I’ve already booked a preliminary session and 4 follow up sessions with Jess who is an anxiety specialist. I am going to work on how my anxiety is leading me to have controlling behaviours. I am excited to be able to workshop this problem and get some solid action points and follow-ups with a trained coach over the next 4 weeks.

Thirdly, I am going to commit to change. I am going to work through my fears and anxieties and the negative controlling behaviour patterns that exist in this relationship and find a more positive and ultimately more successful way to deal with them.

Hopefully, by changing MY input into the current negative behaviour patterns it’ll open things up for a positive change from all sides. And, that’s what I really want, positive change and a better relationship.

Ultimately my controlling behaviours aren’t working or have never worked in the past so persisting with them is just crazy. Do you know that definition of crazy? Repeating the same actions and expecting different results? Yep. That’s been me for a while now. So, I’m going to chalk them all up to experience and try a different way going forward.

I’m thinking that my fears and worries have a lot to do with my EXPECTATIONS and with my beliefs about what SHOULD be happening. Taking a long hard look at some of those SHOULDS and realise that they are in fact just COULDS and may not ever even be that is a good place for me to start to shift things for myself.

Wish me luck as I limp hopefully into some personal growth and self-improvement AND a better relationship!

Have you ever experienced a hurtful realisation about yourself? How have you grown from it? I’d love to hear in the comments below or email me directly.

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Megan Ruffino
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