A Freudian slip is when you say one thing and mean your mother…..

I hope that made you smile. I was just wondering about the nature of “control”, as a matter of fact, and trying to think of something funny to say about it, and came up with that one instead (it’s the way my uncontrollable mind works: darn fractally thing that it is).

Here’s another. Walk into a crowded room, shout, “Hey, you! Paranoid!” and see who turns round.

But enough jokery-pokery. Control (behave, Imp!). Control (and breathe…..).

So, why am I on this subject today (when the sun is shining and I am killing time before I can run without getting a brunch-related injury)? Well, I am feeling a little stressed out [thanks, Stu, for your recent comment about meteorites landing while I’m on stage: I’m not sure if that add to or lessens the angst..;-)  ] and I would like to feel less stressed. And as we are all prone to do in such circs, the Imp has been trying to find little solaces, consolations, to provide relief.

And then it hit me.

I’m all a-fizz and a-bother because…I don’t feel in control!

And then it hit me again (well, not the same thing; I’m not a goldfish): I don’t want to be the sort of person who wants to be in control! I want to be the sort of person about whom other people say, “wow – that Imp is just so relZZZZxed” *

And then when I’d finished beating myself with a slide rule (oh, the angles, the precision!), I got to calculating just why we feel uncomfortable when we sense we don’t have enough control as we would like over our lives.

Many psychological studies show that if we don’t feel in control, we’re more likely to become stressed – or, rather, to react less well to stressful factors (like having too much to do, being tired, a lack of consistency, having uncertain rules of the “game”). Well, it’s hardly brain-science. Oh. Yes, it is, actually. Sorry.

Anyway, the opposite of a sense of control is, of course, a feeling of powerlessness. It’s wholly understandable that the more powerless we feel, the more we will attempt to control our world, to enforce an order on it, so that it conforms with what makes us feel comfortable again.  And the thing is, that enforced order can seem exaggerated, OTT, to others.  For example, everything might have to be “just so” (moving into the extreme of OCD territory), or we might need to know all the details of how something works before we accept it, asking a million-and-one questions; we might bully or nag; we might develop little superstitions, rituals, routines from which we won’t budge. All that hassle, just to feel comfortable again!  So you can imagine, it can’t be feeling good inside someone who’s introducing these kinds of (false, temporary) consolations into their lives.

Now, you might have noticed I have talked about a feeling or sense of being in control – ie, we don’t actually have to BE in control, but we need the security of feeling that the situation is UNDER control. And that means that other people can provide that security if we let them. We can trust parents, friends, bosses, doctors, whoever, to be managing the situation – we don’t HAVE to take responsibility for it ourselves.  But if we let ourselves trust, we can feel more secure – we don’t have to carry the world all by ourselves.

So, in the Impish case, I know I have (as mentioned in an earlier post) identified the facts (I’ve done my homework; done my best) in order to demolish the feary phantoms, and to regain a sense of control, I can have faith in others around me – we’re all in this together and we’re all doing the best we can. I just need to remind myself that the boxes are ticked (a great list-maker, me, at times like this) and I’m happy. Not so anal, after all….

I will leave you with a smile – the real definition of a control freak: someone who swears they wouldn’t correct you about your breathing if you weren’t “doing it all wrong.”

* See? See? I make a typo and don’t need to correct it, ‘cos it’s just, like,  so cool? See? Uhh, like, how totally chilled is that, yes? You do agree, dontcha?