Churned

I had trouble meditating this morning. I got myself all situated on a cushion on the floor, my legs folded, my iPhone’s Zen Timer app set for 20 minutes. I hit start, close my eyes and. . . all I could hear was Mr. Darcy’s snoring. I tried focusing on the mantra but the more I forced myself to ignore the snoring, I only heard it louder. The more I fought against it, the more angry I became.

Hmm, I don’t think anger is the desired emotion during a meditation.

I got up and closed the bedroom door. I sat back down but I still could hear it. Now I was just fixating and reason had clearly left the building. I found my iPod, uploaded Ocean Sounds, shoved the ear buds in and resituated myself. I breathed deeply. I tried to think about the ocean which always calms me. I tried visualizing me at the ocean. And you know what image came into my  mind? A beach after a storm- the debris from the churning sea tossed up and scattered across the expanse of sand- huge tree logs, trash, piles of seaweed, dead sea life, barrels, and rocks. And I thought, woah, what a metaphor for my internal state of being.

I’ve been struggling to let go. Living with Mr. Darcy, being in a committed relationship, making a life with someone, it’s all churned up a lot of buried stuff within me. I feel like if someone peered inside of me they’d see a similar view of the beach after a storm. I’m trying to clear it, to navigate it, to decide what can stay and naturally fade away with time and what needs heavy equipment to haul off. I feel overwhelmed a lot, like I am not fixing myself fast enough, that I am not patient enough with the process (I am not), that I am too rigid and all this processing, therapy, self-evaluation is an exercise in futility. I know it is NOT that but sometimes the fear of failure, of not being enough, of being bad/wrong whispers that untruth to me. And in my weakness, I listen.

I am constantly faced with the fact that I have serious control issues. On a daily basis I witness myself doing things that scream CONTROL FREAK. Poor Mr. Darcy is forced to deal with me and my controlling ways. It’s harder than we both ever thought this whole being a healthy couple business. I hate hate hate my controlling nature but I know why I am like this. After years of therapy and self-examination, I can see that growing up in a house that had so much instability- the fighting, the deafening silence, my father’s drunkenness, rehab, relapse, the deception, the sorrow, the anger, a dad living with us then not living with us, a dad alive then dead, the 3 of us (my mom, sister and I) trying to make sense of it all in the aftermath. Very little was within my control in that environment and I grew up desperate for a sense of emotional safety. It is what drives me still to this day and what I allow to distance me from other people. I crave it and fear it simultaneously. So much of my identity is wrapped up in this twistedness and attempting to dismantle it scares me. It’s a part of my foundation and if I don’t put something else in its place I feel like it will all collapse. That I will collapse.

But being rigid, inflexible, stubborn and controlling aren’t working for me. They are no longer keeping me safe. Maybe they never did, only kept me isolated and in my own fears. I started the year out with the intention of focusing on letting go and obviously the Universe listened because I am being bombarded with opportunities to practice it.

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18 thoughts on “Churned

  1. you are so inspiringly self-aware. you may feel scared to tackle these issues, but honestly i think the bravery in FACING them and identifying them is far greater.

  2. Only practice will make things better, right?
    Hang in there. I think you’re on a good path.

    P.S. Mr Darcy needs his snoring checked out. Just sayin’.

  3. “the intention of focusing on letting go”

    this will heal you. so deeply.
    i *so* know it is not easy. it has taken years and therapy and the help of E (who makes sure to remind me to -let go-)

    the relief will be palpable. truly.

    xoxo
    j

  4. That moment when you realize how intensely you’ve been trying to control something that can’t be controlled is kind of shocking, isn’t it? Even if it happens to me repeatedly, which it does, I still can’t get over the shock of it. But you’re right, it’s the practice of acknowledging and managing it that we have to focus on. Which does get a teeny bit easier.

  5. I think using a metaphor in your meditation will be really helpful. You should seek out meditating ON an actual beach and let go of some of the control.
    *
    “You have the right to transcend broken patterns and to become complete again. We think that the answers are out there, but really they are inside of us. The journey back (from the difficulties of life) is inwards.” Arun Deva

  6. I agree with Alice and Angella. You’re doing an excellent job of recognizing and being aware and trying to work on it instead of run away. Although I can completely relate to the snoring and the not being able to sleep or think about anything else when it’s going on. I envy those people who can tune it out.

  7. I completely understand this. I am having a difficult time right now too. I think change is really what is the hardest for me because I don’t know what to expect. It isn’t that I like things the way they are, but at least I know what to expect and can plan for it. I was talking to a friend about this and she told me to just close my eyes and jump because maybe I’m jumping off a cliff, but maybe, just maybe, I am jumping into a pool of awesome and I’ll never know until I just let go and jump instead of worrying about what “could be”.

    I know you are in a different situation, but I think the emotions and fears and things we are thinking about are probably very similar because I don’t think it’s about the thing at all, it is about us not believing we deserve the good, or worrying about it or whatever. It’s funny because I struggle so hard to try and control everything so I know what to expect but then I doubt that I know what I am doing and worry I am not good enough. You would think I would just let go and let things happen since I don’t even believe I am doing it “right” anyway, but sadly the opposite happens whenever I get in this fearful state. Change is hard for some people, no matter if it is good change or not so good change. I am one of those people for sure!

  8. one of the hardest things to do is just be. Thats the journey of enlightenment. Its not a destination, its just realizing you are there. Not tomorrow not last week, right now, today.

    Take it from a reformed control freak…there is life when you let go. A very fabulous one, where things roll off your back and you don’t try to catch them! Where people can describe you 10 years later as “laid back” huh? me??????

    Keep with it and you’ll be rewarded!

    My biggest savior….was “change your thoughts, change your life” by wayne dyer, and subsequently all his books thereafter. Learning that everything tormenting me was caused by my own thoughts, and trusting that I could change them, was life changing.

  9. And your life will be so much better for it! It took me decades to let go, but since I still have to maintain strict control for my work life, it still haunts me even today.

  10. If it’s any consolation, I’m a control freak also. My husband loves me despite it ;) He just knows it’s part of my nature and that I try not to let it consume me too often ;)

  11. Darling Sizzle – you break and make my heart. The journey you are on is really difficult and you are really brave. It is difficult to be in an intimate committed co-habitating relationship. Keep trying because you are doing a really good job.

    Ok, here’s what I really want to say. Get Mr. Darcy to a doctor for his snoring. It is making you angry and that alone is a good reason. But also, it isn’t healthy for him either. He might have sleep apnea or something like it and he needs good rest too. I’m dragging my Mr. Darcy in by his short hairs because I want him to live until he is 80 so that we can celebrate our ruby anniversary.

    See I’m all about bossing people around. :-)

  12. This: “But being rigid, inflexible, stubborn and controlling aren’t working for me. They are no longer keeping me safe. Maybe they never did, only kept me isolated and in my own fears.” Is beautiful and heartbreaking. And something I need to learn.
    Good luck on your journey, lady. Thanks for sharing it with us. xo

  13. i’m right there with you. almost one year into therapy and at least i know now where my control-freakishness comes from. still doesn’t mean it’s easy to let go of it. it’s a journey but a good one. even on the bad days. be patient with yourself *hugs*

  14. What if the next time the voice in your head screams “I’m rigid, inflexible, stubborn and controlling!” you say to yourself, “I hear my mind telling me I’m rigid, inflexible, stubborn and controlling. Thanks, mind, for keeping me on alert and trying to protect me, but at this moment, I am none of those things. At this moment, I just am. It’s okay, mind, if you keep talking, but in this moment, I just am.”

    Have you bought “The Happiness Trap” yet? Do I have to send it to you, friend?! I promise its approach (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) can make a difference in our negative mental narratives. It is helping me and I regularly tell myself how terrible I am. But I am learning to hear my mind-roll, acknowledge it for what it is — simply a patterned, fleeting series of thoughts — and move on.

    One final thought — do you really want to be controlling because of your past? I sense you want to release it. This notion of who you are based on your past is simply that — a notion you’re clinging to. It’s not who you are at any given moment if you choose for it not to be. Do you acknowledge the moments you are not that way (through conscious decisions to act accordingly), or do you let the patterned, negative voice beat yourself up no matter what?

    Honey, I’ve been there. I am there, fighting it everyday, telling myself a different set of negative stories. Last night I finally asked myself (with Mr. Mom’s help) “Why am I choosing to BELIEVE these patterned thoughts? They are not the truth. Why do I wish to believe I’m boring and stodgy and no fun. Some moments I am, but that is not me and I don’t have to believe that story anymore.”

    Don’t believe your old stories. Nothing in you life (that I see anyway) validates them. You can’t stop listening (you can’t make the thoughts go away if you try, right?) but you CAN stop believing. It’s called “diffusion” (unfusing our perception of truth from our mental narrative) and it works.

    Much love,
    the Magpie

  15. You know I’m a control freak too. Hello Aries, cut-from-the-same-cloth… Anyway, it helps me sometimes to remember a time when I let go of control – and survived. It happened to be on a tandem bicycle which opens up all sorts of cliches and jokes. But I remember talking about it in therapy and my counselor encouraging me to put myself into more situations like that so that I could get more comfortable with giving up control sometimes. Are there little things you could do to practice giving up control?

  16. Hi Sizzle….I love your blog and know we’d be buds. Have you ever gone to Ala-Non? It has changed my life. I also grew up in an alcoholic home. I carried so much into my adulthood/marraige etc. Please give it a try. It will teach you how powerless you truly are. There is liberation and serenity on the other side. You deserve it!

    xokh

  17. I’ve been living with my boyfriend and now fiance for hmm, I dunno, 5 or 6 years now, and I too am a control freak, I like things put in their place, Jason doesn’t put anything away (except when he’s trying to tidy up before I get home from work), and I think one of the things that has saved us has been spending 2/3rds or more of our time apart.

    Anyway, I’ve learnt to let go of some things, other things I continue to complain about, but it’s never gonna be perfect. You guys have only just moved in together, it’s not going to get easier very quickly. But try not to feel guilty about getting annoyed. It’s your god given right to be annoyed by things!

    Jason also snores a lot and real loud. Sometimes I sleep through it, sometimes I wake up and try to hold myself back from killing him. One thing that sometimes works for me is to tell him to stop snoring. Sometimes it takes a few gos. If he’s been drinking, forget it, it’s going to be loud and it won’t stop. He can snore sleeping in any position, but sometimes making him shift helps stop it.

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