Every day I hear from many people that are engaging in the futile act of trying to control the uncontrollable. Much like when you mention “using” to people, if you try to associate yourself with “control”, it’ll likely make you feel very uncomfortable and you may have every argument in the book as to why what you’re doing isn’t control – it’s loving, giving, generosity, fixing, healing, helping or whatever else you want to bag it and tag it as.

Control is about having the power to influence or direct people’s behaviour. You may seek to limit or ‘manage’ someone/or something. When you’re ‘controlling’ it’s trying to determine the behaviour of someone or even supervise them while seeking to maintain your influence and authority over them.

In relationship terms, especially in ‘fallback’ terms where you allow yourself to be an option for someone to enjoy the fringe benefits of a relationship without the commitment, struggle with feeling that you’re not good enough, try to convince people of your value, play Florence Nightingale, or try to reach the tipping point of loving and giving, it looks something like this:

You have some fundamental beliefs about love, relationships, and yourself where aside from believing that you’re not good enough, you also believe that love is about having the power to change someone either with your love, the very presence of you in their lives, or even your expectations of a relationship.

When you experience issues, you think that it’s linked to something that you said/did, or something about your intrinsic value that’s seeping out of your pores screaming something like “Treat me bad!”, “Don’t be interested” or “Be unavailable.”

You wonder what you need to do to change yourself or what you can do to influence their behaviour and get the relationship that you want. You keep loving, giving, doing, hoping, expecting, changing, adapting, morphing, accommodating because you hope that all of these things will influence their behaviour and give you the power to direct them, which is to give you the love and the relationship you think you want. By avoiding being in control of yourself or commandeering change in your own life, you instead seek to control the uncontrollable leaving yourself at the absolute mercy of external and often wholly irrelevant factors.

If you imagine you and your ideas about change and why people do and don’t do what you want, it’s like you and your worth are linked to the Am I Good Enough Today? Index which is wholly and solely based on how you perceive yourself in the context of Other People’s Behaviour. They validate you, you climb a few percentage points. They’ll leave their wife/husband/partner, index rising sharply. Promises to give up drink/drugs/gambling/sex addiction, index off the charts. Make you the exception to their rule of behaviour, off the charts. Have a good day with someone that you actually refer to privately or even openly as a narcissist or an assclown, index off the charts.

Won’t upgrade you from a booty call to relationship, index sliding rapidly. Disappearing, not calling, ‘playing hard to get’, index jittering all over the place. Tells you again that even though they’re happy to enjoy the fringe benefits, the offer on the table is still a casual relationship and they don’t want to commit, index plummets. Boundaries crossed, index slides and you wonder what’s wrong with you. Didn’t hear from some random you met on a dating site or someone that asked for your number that you’d banked your hopes on, index sliding. Hear that your ex has moved on, emergency siren starts ringing out. Convince yourself that they may have spontaneously combusted into a better person in a better relationship without you, it’s evacuation time.

You get the idea.

Other indexes you might be linked to:

How Much Change Can This Person Accomplish On My Beat Index. This is where your worth is directly linked to the net amount of change you can extract from someone. Of course if you’re taking two steps forward, one, two, three or more steps back, it’s a pretty damn precarious index.

Is It Something I Said/Did? Index. Someone does something because it’s their inclination and they have their own agenda and you wonder what you did to ‘provoke’ or ‘influence’ their behaviour, even if they’re the most self-obsessed person in the universe and were going to do what they’re going to do anyway. Often you’ll make yourself the focus point of things that have shag all to do with you or your value.

The Next Up Index. Keeping tabs on your ex via Facebook, text, email, third party sources including friends and dating sites, poking through their email, having to witness them with their new partner because they’ve hooked up with your friend or they’re waving it in your face at work, or even by keeping in touch with them, and then using nuggets of info to determine your worth. You hear they’re happy, index plummets. You hear they’re behaving differently, a crash team needs to be sent in. You stalk their Facebook and see photos of them or happy statuses, the index collapses.You hear from them, index rises. They sniff around you for sex or an ego stroke, index rises. They tell you they miss you or they may have made a mistake while still screwing the new person, index off the charts. You hear they’re still a dipstick, index rises. You hear they broke up, you have a spring in your step and the index is off the charts.

When you seek to control the uncontrollable, you want to have the power to influence or direct another person to love you and give you the relationship that you say you want. You also want to have the power to influence and direct how everyone else in your social sphere interacts with and creates feelings within you.  

By catering to your beliefs which in turn caters to a self-fulfilling prophecy that confirms your quiet or maybe even open beliefs that you’re not good enough, you’re actually using external factors that are out of your control to control your experiences and to of course continue influencing your perception of yourself. Staying in the uncomfortable comfort zone limits your risk and ensures you don’t fail fail in a relationship with someone who you think would be even more unpredictable and uncontrollable than someone that fits your ‘type’ – this is like ‘safe’ failure where you risk, but not as much as if you put yourself out there in an available relationship.

You also render yourself powerless because it’s a fundamentally futile act so by linking yourself to ‘everyone else and the universe’ and your various indexes, you’re at the mercy of everything other than you to determine your worth and validate you. That’s a pretty damn exhausting and precarious life, especially because none of us are capable of Jedi mind tricks and it’s only abusers who manage to control others and you don’t want to go down that path.

The only index you need to be linked to is the You Index. You’re 100% in control of it and it’s reliant on you treating yourself with love, care trust, and respect, knowing your own line so you can communicate the line and being authentic so you can live a more positive life and foster mutually fulfilling relationships. Nobody else should be directing or influencing your worth or your life other than you. This is the same for everyone else, so you need to get on with assuming responsibility for yourself and leave everyone else to do theirs.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebooks the No Contact Rule and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl and more in my bookshop.

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