Let’s talk about the benefits of being a controlling mom.
Admit it, there are absolutely no benefits to being a controlling mom. Or dad. Or grandma. Or person. If you are a controlling mom, your kids will avoid you. When you are a controlling person, being avoided is a trigger. Realizing that you are being avoided increases the need to know and control. Round and round the wheel of dysfunction keeps on spinning until changes are made in the relationship.
Controlling People Can Make You Feel Stupid
Controlling people believe that they have the solutions to your problems. They think that if others took their advice, every problem would be solved, and bad things would be avoided. Anyone can be controlling, but it puts your relationship in danger when if you are the parent of adult children.
When you have a controlling parent, it often feels like you can’t measure up. They have an answer for every problem, and it can make you feel stupid at times. Often your choices and behaviors seem to be just short of the right solution. A controlling parent makes sure that you know they disagree with you and your choices.
Common Phrases Controlling People Use
Let’s list some of the most common controlling responses:
You probably didn’t know this…
What you didn’t know…
I knew that….
Of course, I knew that a time long ago….
Everybody knows that…
You didn’t know that?
See that pattern here? The word “know” is the centerpiece in this bullshit bouquet. The controlling person will always find a way to make sure you know the THEY KNOW. The best way to effectively shorten a conversation with a controlling person is to start with “I bet you already know this but….” (Freakin’ brilliant, right? You’re welcome!)
Why Are You Such A Control Freak?
What causes people to become controlling? Is it hidden anger? Are they convinced of their own brilliance? Too many energy drinks?
Fear is what motivates controlling people. Please read that again, controlling people are filled with fear.
FEAR. Yup, fear is the origin of control.
People who struggle with feeling fear often respond with control. Control is simply an overreaction to the unknown. That’s it. Basic and simple: Fearful thoughts=Controlling behavior.
Hidden Fear Is The Problem
People will often attempt to control their own lives based on hidden internal fears. We all have the desire to control, it is simply a core human experience. We all think that if something is exactly right, then the results will bring happiness, joy or contentment.
But the reality is control brings anger, shame and anxiety. Nothing healthy can every originate out of fear (unless the fear is physically self-protective).
Read that again: Nothing healthy can have fear at its core.
For controlling moms, the act of inserting themselves into their children’s lives in an attempt to silence the internal voice of fear. Fear for their kids, fear about being judged as a parent, fear over the growing independence of their kids. Fear of #allthingthings.
The Controlling Parent vs Rebellious Teenager Dynamic
I grew up in a home with a mother who controlled out of fear. We had difficult uncontrollable circumstances in the home, and to soothe, she would control her children. As an adult, it makes total sense to me that she would use control to bring some stability into her world. But as a teenager, I made the classic choice to rebel against the rules and expectations in an attempt to wrestle my identity as an individual away from her.
The worst thing for a controlling parent is a rebellious child. Her behavior fueled my behavior until I made some stupid choices. And then, as predicted, some of her worst fears had come true.
Control Can Make A Person Feel Emotionally and Mentally Trapped
I want to be totally clear; I love my mom. We have done a butt-ton of work on our relationship and as a happy result, things have finally shifted into a mostly healthy dynamic. But our family history was one of fear manifesting as control. And as a person who hates to be controlled, I felt like I had no choice but to throw up the middle finger of rebellion while trying to establish my young adult identity
I don’t recommend either behaviors. Control will always result in rebellion, passive, hidden rebellion or overt, active rebellion. At our core, humans were designed to be free. The smothering weight of control will either ignite a rebellious, angry fire, or it will snuff the spark of life out of a maturing soul.
So, are you a controlling person?
I Am A Controlling Person. How Do I Stop?
Start With Controlling Your Fear
You must control your fear (Yoda voice ya’ll). Controlling moms need to work on identifying their fears and then creating methods to contain their negative emotions. When Mom’s operate from a space of fear, the lie we tell ourselves that we are just trying to save our kids from mistakes or pain.
We must remember that mistakes and pain are life’s most effective teachers. I could fill a dump truck with all of my painful, but educational lessons courtesy of my dumb choices along with the B.S. that life hands out on the regs.
Painful, Personal Lessons Are The Best Teacher
Take a minute to think back over your life- I am certain that the most important lessons were often the most painful. I will never forget not being allowed to watch “Mork and Mindy” in 6th grade because I failed my geography test. I skipped studying, lied to my parents, and then failed the test. As a result, I will never forget the feeling of disappointment and anger resulting from those consequences. I have forgotten so many important things from my earlier life, but the pain of missing my weekly TV show remains crystal clear.
Who Do You Think You Are- God?
If we stand in the way of mistakes and pain, then we have become a type of god. In the worst sense, we unconsciously see ourselves as all knowing, all seeing and able to predict the future. Controlling, arranging choices and circumstances to create the life we think our children need. Read that again: the life WE think our children need.
Most controlling moms have the same fears: children experiencing preventable pain, the fear of not being needed, their own life regrets, and the idea that if the children make poor choices, it reflects on their parenting.
When Controlling Moms Feel Judged
Every parent has had the uncomfortable experience of being embarrassed by their child. Tantrums, tiktok vidoes, and tattoos, there is always a new possibility of parental humiliation. But here’s the thing mom, if we don’t allow our kids to stumble and full out fail, we are preventing them from maturing into healthy strong- shit- storm- handling adults.
Controlling Moms Damage Their Children. Yup, They Do.
When we attempt to control our children, we are telling them that they can’t be trusted to make their own decisions. This is such a damaging message, and often as moms we are unaware what we are communicating. Teaching a child that they have what it takes to be successful and resourceful is the foundational message of parenting.
We love when they learn how to use the toilet, but we fear that same independence when they are old enough to choose a college. As a mom of married children, I get it. The diaper days seem way easier than watching your children buy cars, houses and choose a spouse. But we must remember to embrace the natural process of releasing our children to choose their lives.
An Affirmation for Controlling Moms
So, when that feeling of needing to control your child rises up inside of you- try this affirmation. I wrote this for women who struggle with controlling their adult children.
Break the cycle of control in your family. Love, support and encourage your adult children as they explore the freedom they deserve. I offer personalized coaching designed to break free from controlling relationships. I would love to work with you if you need some help in this area of self growth. Send me an email at the icon at the top of this page and let me know how I can help you.
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