AlignMENt: Are You a Control Freak?

By Patrick Donohue

November 4, 2012

AlignMENt:  Are You a Control Freak?

 

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Do you need to be in control?

Are you a Dad who is a control freak?  Are you easily irritated when someone is a little late, cuts you off in traffic or challenges your opinion in public?  For many men this is a way of life.  Does this controlling behavior hurt your relationship with your kids?  Absolutely. 

So, why do we try to control things if it is not really good for us? This is a complicated question, but I think the short answer has to do with unresolved grief. The grief comes when we have suffered a legitimate loss and have not processed it out with anyone.  The loss could be a death, divorce, job loss or any other significant event that deeply wounds us.  The unresolved grief serves as a weight that many men carry around at all times.  So, if I am always carrying around 50 lbs of unresolved grief, then small irritants like traffic, people who are late or rude behavior can set me off. 

So, my response to avoiding the pain of “going off” is to try to control everything.  If everybody can just be smart and do things my way, then I can handle the 50 lbs of grief and not go off. 

Are you getting my point?  The problem is not the traffic or the late person, it is the 50 lbs of grief.  Men, many of us are so used to carrying around unresolved grief, we think it is normal to have it.  We try to deal with the grief by controlling everything, but that just serves to drive our kids and spouse further away.

Controlling everything is not the answer.  It will never work long term.  The real answer is to process through the grief and then release it.  How do I process grief?  You need to find someone who has a trusted listening ear and share your story.  This could be a professional life a counselor or coach or a trusted friend or mentor. 

Dads, when we try to deal with our grief by controlling everything, we alienate our kids by sending a message of impatience and anger.  Be a bigger man and work through your grief, both you and your kids will appreciate it.

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