Control Freak – Do I Resemble That?

I feel like I’m getting a huge lesson in control or, better said, surrendering control. My attempts to be in control seem to cause me nothing but pain. For those of you that have heard this phrase from me before… control is simply another direct ticket to hell, on the Speed Train this time. One of my teachers shared with me years ago that expectation and attachment are tickets to suffering, to “hell” so to speak.  In this fresh look at how I control, I see clearly that control results from my tight attachment to my expectations. The result: pain.

Here’s the thing… no matter how much you try to control, you never hit an expectation exactly.  Some pieces will always be out of sync – physically, emotionally, mentally, or  spiritually – something won’t happen exactly as you imagined.  It can’t land perfectly. It’s the nature of the mind, it doesn’t understand perfect.  The mind thrives on finding something wrong. It is not just thrives, but it survives by finding what’s “wrong” or “broken” so it can protect you. As Brandon Bays says, “The mind is only about fear, doubt and judgment,” the elements of human survival.

Yet we’ve evolved consciousness beyond just surviving.  Surviving isn’t enough anymore.  Consciousness has evolved to the point of thriving in peace, love, and joy. This is what our deepest self – our True Self – longs for.  Unfortunately, the mind hasn’t bought in to this evolution and it tries to go into competition with our deeper desires.  And it fights to win.

Truth be told, the higher Self never has to compete.  It always is.  It never changes. It never comes. It never goes. It just is. It always is peace, love, and joy.

That only appears to change when the mind jumps in and gives meaning to what’s happening in our lives.  Once the ”results” or experiences of our lives have meaning, then the mind can add fear, doubt, and judgment to the mix, so it can then tell us what we ”should” do… or in other words what we need to control, so we never have to experience pain. Unfortunately, that brings us right back full circle to the beginning.  Control doesn’t work.  Pain is inherent – it’s a given – when we try to control.

When was the last time you felt like everything happened exactly as you planned… especially including how you felt about what happened? Even if the physical tangible results looked spot on, were you as happy, excited, or satisfied as you expected to be or thought you should be? Were the others involved feeling exactly what you thought they would feel? Did you see a way in hindsight that you could have done even better?

We’re really not wired, at least not by default, for satisfaction. We’re programmed for analysis, for judgment.  That’s painful… and it doesn’t have to be that way.

When we can see the programming at the root of our actions, then it can be changed. A baby primarily lives in peace, love, and joy. It’s why were so drawn to infants. When they get upset they move through the upset and return mostly to peace, joy, and love.  Yet with every upset that isn’t fully resolved quickly in the moment, babies and adults alike, take on protective wiring that gives the mind it’s initial call-to-action.  This is when we start giving meaning to what we experience and the mind starts trying to protect.

So what does all this have to do with control?  Control is the result of the mind.  For some of us, like me, our need and desire for control is more obvious and outward. We directly try to control things around us, including the people in our lives. Were often referred to, not so lovingly, as the ”control freaks.”  Yet, if you look… even if you would never do anything to outwardly control another… look to see how you control yourself so that you indirectly control another. Have you ever not shared what you felt because you thought the other person might get hurt, upset, or, worse yet, leave? You controlled yourself so that you could control them, what they did, because it protected you from the pain of their potential reaction.

Have you ever not shared a thought or idea because you thought you might get it wrong and someone would judge you for it? Again, you took control because you wanted to control the outcome. You wanted to make sure you weren’t embarrassed or judged or criticized or worse yet, abandoned and ostracized from the “family.”

You see it’s not just the control freaks controlling, it’s all of us… all the time.  We all try to control until… until we make peace with the possibility of any outcome. In other words when we have no expectations or attachments to “what happens.”  While there is a result we don’t want to experience, or while there is potential outcome we want to protect ourselves from, we will always be controlled by that which we don’t want to experience.

More specifically, we are controlled by that which we don’t want to feel, and even by what we do want to feel. For example, if you want to feel happy so that you don’t have to feel the sadness or emptiness you’re currently feeling… the quest for happiness is an attempt to control the sadness. If we want to feel abundant or successful so that we don’t have to feel the lack, uncertainty, or scarcity we feel right now… it’s the same game of control.

Depression is another form of control. We repress – another internal form of control – so that we don’t have to feel.  We believe… “It will hurt too much to feel…” or “I’ll never get anything done if I feel…”  “People won’t like me…”  “I’ll be embarrassed, weak, judged, etc. if I feel.”  We might believe, ”I’ll stop functioning, be abandoned, and inevitably die because I felt emotion.”  So we don’t want to feel, we repress. Do any of those beliefs sound familiar?

I feel depressed (because I “depressed” my emotions) then I might want to crawl in a hole cover my head, and hide.   Then I’m spending so much energy keeping it all down that I’m too tired to do anything… and everything feels bad… And I have no energy or inspiration to do anything.

I’m realizing… there’s no greater gift we could give ourselves than to feel what we are feeling. Then we can see possibility… then we can feel inspiration… then we can allow love in.

I know it’s not fun to hear. I do know. I’m in this with you. We’re all control freaks. It’s simply that we may be more overt about it because were trying to control what’s “out there” directly.  Or alternatively, were just try to control ourselves (and hence our life) because we don’t trust anyone or anything “out there” anyway.  Or last, but not least, we’re the indirect (even passive) “controller” who controls “what’s out there” by directly controlling “what’s in here”.  Sometimes, I know from personal experience, we do all three.


The only way out, the only way to peace… the only way to true love…the only way to joy… is to stop running…to stop avoiding… to stop protecting ourselves from what could happen.


More specifically, and more importantly, stop protecting ourselves from what we might feel – our emotions.


When we are willing to feel and experience anything… Then we will know true peace. Then we will know what the Enlightened Masters call freedom.


Freedom and control are mutually exclusive.  Give up control – all forms of it – so you can have what you’ve been looking for.


When resistance and protection cease, you will be free.  You will rest in love. You will know the peace that ”passes all understanding.” Joy will never leave.


In love, light and ecstasy,

Joanna Shakti

*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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  1. win hampton on April 2, 2015 at 5:17 am

    Awesome writing on control! One of the "Great books"- Spiritual Warrior by John Roger, the first chapter is -Surrendering Control, he says "At the root of our emotional addictions is our belief structure, which continually undermines us by telling us two things: 1) that we will be alone or abandoned and 2) that we will lose control of reality." and "The fear of losing control is the strongest human motivator. Control is the master addiction…" Did you know the first law of Spirit is Acceptance? no judgement, no resistance. I know I struggle daily with control, does seem to be human nature. The practice of acceptance and observation are huge keys for me. Thank you!

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