Am I Controlling?

Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights                                                           Proverbs 18:15

I was speaking with a client recently about her anxiety, and we talked about her husband’s frustration with her about her need to have him communicate with her. In fact, she needs it a lot. She wanted a great deal of information from him- not because she didn’t trust him, but because she has anxiety. Her need for information, to know as much as she can, is her way of controlling her anxiety. Unfortunately, for her husband, it feels to him like her way of controlling him.

I explained to the client that information is an antidote to anxiety. The more information we have, the less we need to “fill in the blanks” which our mind will readily supply- most of it with negative narratives. Information is a form of control. The more we know, the better prepared we are to deal with whatever may come down the road.

This was a great relief to my client. She does not want to control her husband, yet her behavior looks like that to him. I told her that she is not trying to control him, she is trying to control her anxiety.

With that relief, we brainstormed ways to discuss this with her husband, who truly does want to help her, but he must know how he can do that effectively. After all, they are on the same team, but teammates need to have a consistent set of signals to one another that they can trust- just like an effective football team. Both need some tools to communicate their needs to one another better, and they are working on that.

Partners need to know how they can help one another. Often, things like anxiety make things look different than they really are in reality. We just need to be able to identify those things, and engage our partner to help.

Prayer: Lord, give us the patience to clearly communicate and hear one another, Amen

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