Every day, I hear from many people engaging in the futile act of trying to control the uncontrollable. Much like when you mention ‘using’ to people, if you attempt to associate yourself with ‘control’, it’ll likely make you feel very uncomfortable. You may have every argument in the book about why what you’re doing isn’t control. To you, 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 attempt to reach the tipping point of loving and giving, control looks something like this:

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

When you experience issues, you think it’s linked to something you said/did. Or you believe something about your intrinsic value is 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 you wonder what you can do to influence their behaviour and get the relationship you want. So you keep loving, giving, doing, hoping, expecting, changing, adapting, morphing, accommodating. You hope that all of these things will influence their behaviour and give you the power to direct them, giving you the love and 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. Unfortunately this leaves you at the absolute mercy of external and often wholly irrelevant factors.

Imagine yourself and your ideas about change and why people do and don’t do what you want.

Well, it’s like you and your worth are linked to the Am I Good Enough Today? Index 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, and the index will rise 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 you refer to privately or even openly as a narcissist or an assclown, index off the charts.

They won’t upgrade you from a booty call to a relationship; the index slides rapidly. Disappearing, not calling, ‘playing hard to get’, index jittering all over the place. They tell you again that even though they’re happy to enjoy the fringe benefits, the offer on the table is still a casual relationship; 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 who asked for your number that you’d banked your hopes on, index slides. 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 linked directly to the net 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 precarious index.

The Is It Something I Said/Did? Index.

Someone does something because it’s their inclination and their own agenda. You wonder what you did to ‘provoke’ or ‘influence’ their behaviour, even if they’re the most self-obsessed person in the universe who does what they want anyway. You’ll often make yourself the focal 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, and 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. Maybe you’re 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.

The index collapses when you stalk their socials and see photos of them or happy statuses. You hear from them, index rises. They sniff around you for sex or an ego stroke, the index rises. Your ex says they miss you or that maybe they’ve 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 the power to influence or direct another person to love you and give you the relationship 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. Incidentally, this is people pleasing.

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 using external factors that are out of your control to control your experiences and, of course, continue influencing your perception of yourself. Staying in the uncomfortable comfort zone limits your risk. You ensure 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’. It’s ‘safe’ failure; you risk, but not as much as if you put yourself out there in an available relationship.

Controlling the uncontrollable renders you powerless because it’s a fundamentally futile act.

By linking yourself to everyone else, the universe, and your various indexes, you’re at the mercy of everything other than you to determine your worth and validate yourself. That’s a pretty damn exhausting and precarious life, especially because none of us are capable of Jedi mind tricks. 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 link to is the You Index. You’re 100% in control of it. Your index relies on you treating yourself with love, care, trust, and respect, knowing and communicating your 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. You need to get on with assuming responsibility for yourself and leave everyone else to do theirs.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebook Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl as well as The No Contact Rule, and more, in my bookshop.

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