HomeBlogLife GuidanceChronicles of a (recovering) Control Freak: The Toxic Independence Era

Chronicles of a (recovering) Control Freak: The Toxic Independence Era

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I remember a few years ago when I started diving back into my spirituality more seriously, I would do tarot readings for guidance on where to focus unf**king my life. I swear every one of those readings I would get strong messages about letting go of control. The funny thing is- I was SO bad about control that I would get MAD at the cards because I THOUGHT that I had improved and literally could NOT even begin to conceive of how I was still controlling things.

To be fair, at this point, it was 2020, I was recovering from hip surgery and pretty limited when it came to being able to move around. I was forced to use crutches and not put any weight on my hip or leg. Did that stop me from getting my own coffee though? NOPE.

Instead of asking for help, I would crutch myself over to the rolling computer chair and row myself with my crutch to the kitchen, then stand with the crutches supporting me to make my coffee, then sit down and carefully row myself back to the living room. As you can imagine, it was a sight to see. At the time, I sure thought I was doing better though. I can only laugh at myself at how ridiculous that was now, considering I was staying with my parents post-surgery so there was always at LEAST one person there with me that I could have asked to help me.

It’s taken me longer than I’d like to admit to fully grasp the concept of control and how it has shaped my life (or taken it over, I suppose). I’ve come to coin that era of my life as the toxically independent era. Initially, I thought control was mostly external- like micromanaging people at work and constantly telling them how to do things, following up non-stop, and getting into the details way too much with how they did their jobs (sorry, y’all!). Little did I know, it’s also internal too, hence the toxic independence. ????

Toxic Independence is when we are so dead set on doing it ourselves (because deep down- we have trust issues, even though we tell ourselves that it’s because we want it done right or it’s easier to just do it ourselves…) that we don’t let others help if they offer, nor do we ask for help or support. If you’re toxically independent, chances are others consider you strong, reliable, a go-getter, and are quick to ask YOU for help- which usually you are quick to agree to, even though you won’t let others help you. Over time you’ll find yourself feeling resentful, used, unappreciated, and isolated.

Here’s what I learned through this journey:

Control is an attempt to force or coerce others, the universe, or yourself into doing something – usually a certain way or to get a VERY specific outcome.

When I talk about control with my clients, I like to use a visual metaphor of you attempting to navigate a flowing river. Surrendering control is like letting yourself relax so that you can float on top of the water, but if you try to control yourself floating— you start to dip and sink. Sure, you could swim, but that takes a TON of effort— and if you are like me back then— you are probably trying to swim in the OPPOSITE direction of the current. ????

With a lot of time, inner reflection, and some cold, hard honesty, I finally started moving with the flow of life instead of trying to force the river to flow in a different direction. I learned how to work in cooperation with others in a nonjudgmental way, letting others help and contribute in whatever capacity that they wished to, without making them feel obligated to do things a certain way. When I did, things were EASIER, way less stressful, and my relationships became more balanced and prosperous.

Are you burned out from your toxic independence Era? How would your life look if you started coming from a place of cooperation instead of control? Does the idea of letting go of control freak you out? What if all of that anxiety and stress was created from that need to control everything? In a lot of my clients, it is. So, at what point are you willing to accept help? How bad does it have to get?

If you’re done with this Toxic Independence Era and ready to accept some support in learning how to exist without constantly trying to force and control things, set up a call with me, and let’s chat! Take it from a (recovering) control freak- life is easier when you have the right support systems in place and are willing to let others assist you. You’ve already proved you can do it yourself- now let’s prove that you can do it with the cooperation of others and ENJOY it.

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