My hand reaches for the snooze button on my iPhone. I toss and turn a bit not quite ready to start my day.

I realize as I wake up this morning that something is different in my life. Like I have cut loose the 500 pound boulder that has been dragging behind me. At first I can’t put my finger on it. Then it hits me. The sudden lightness I feel is because I no longer feel controlled.

You think you are escaping a marriage and the control will end. It doesn’t. At least not in some divorces. The control just shifts to a different kind in divorce. It shifts to co-parenting issues, financial, etc.

In some ways, it may sound as though I am talking out of both sides of my mouth. I still feel bullied and controlled in divorce.

I have now just surrendered to it. To all aspects of life falling apart. I can’t take the stress or unhappiness of it all anymore. The only way to not be controlled is to not care. The only way to stop control is to decide you don’t care. To decide that no matter what that person does you will self-protect and be responsible for yourself.

It is something my marriage counselor spoke to me often about. I just couldn’t let go.

He would say, “Colleen you are overly responsible for others and under responsible for yourself.”

I expended so much of my energy rescuing that I had little left for myself. Here’s the thing. A person who values you will never expect you to sacrifice so much of yourself for their needs that your needs are not met. A person who values you will not control you.

The problem is the person being controlled believes they are doing good. They believe they are rescuing someone who truly needs it rather than realizing selfless, mature adults would not make someone else over responsible for them repeatedly. They believe that giving in to what the other person wants is admirable. It means your not difficult, not a nag and that you are keeping the peace.

When someone controls you it eventually wears you down, stresses you and robs you of your happiness. Why? Other than the obvious reasons, it uses you up to the point where your whole life is so centered around this person that you are living their life and not your own.

Do not let someone control you. Here are 5 reasons not to.

1. Do not let their moods control you into thinking you need to fix something for them or attend to their needs. Grown adults are mature enough to walk into a room behaving well and ask for help if they need it.

2. Don’t let their problems and chaos continually make you the rescuer. Grown adults need to be rescued only occasionally in life. A person who continues to make impulsive, bad decisions and then expect others to repeatedly rescue them needs to grow up. They need to become self-responsible rather than make others overly responsible for them.

3. Don’t let them make you live life according strictly to their philosophies as though your own don’t matter. Every individual deserves to also be respected and live life according to the values and philosophies that are important to them, too. Mature, unspoiled adults realize that the world does not revolve simply around their own point of view.

4. Don’t let them ruin special days or things that are important to you. Grown adults understand how childish and spoiled this is and would not be selfish enough to do so.

5. Don’t let them continually shift responsibilities your way. Grown adults are responsible. They know how to take on the responsibility of finances, grocery store, errands, parenting, etc. If you are splitting responsibilities it should be a choice not because an individual overburdens.

I honestly do not know what I was thinking?

It’s so clear to me now.

Controlling behavior is immature, spoiled, selfish and childish. It’s amazing we ever allow others to control our lives to begin with.
Follow me on Facebook @Colleen Orme National Columnist
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