WHAT IS CONTROL? Simply put, it's when you try micromanage your and other peoples thoughts, feelings and actions, and that action is often based on fear of something, someone, or everyone and everything. That fear comes from the traumas of sexual abuse, and is often not recognised as a factor, until guys start to talk about, and then acknowledge that they have major control issues, with families, relationships, work, and daily life.
Lose of that control could make you feel less of a man, or feel as it you are losing control of your life, but in reality, its loss of controlling everything around you that scares you, because if you lose control, what else do you have to protect yourself?
When I first meet a male survivor, one of the first issues to arise is the struggle for control that he has worked hard to maintain over the years, and its only when he starts to let go of that control, that his healing process begin, because unless he lets go of the control, he will remain 'in control' and unable to be open and honest, which will enable him to begin to let go of the abuse that happened to him.
When abuse comes to the forefront of your mind, control kicks in, as you don't want to lost control of yourself, and be seen as either weak or maybe stupid when in reality, it's not weak or stupid to express your real feelings, in any way.
Control issues can also cause you to feel extremes of anxiety and stress, and almost every survivor feels this in varying degrees, and once this issue is recognised, every survivor will admit to being 'control freaks' when in reality, all they have done is tried their best to stay safe and not feel abused again.
This manifests in many ways, but one of the biggest areas is one of staying strong, and not allowing yourself to be seen as weak, inferior or unsafe around others.
Recently, a client was faced with a situation that he had no control over, and wasn't going to get any control over, yet he constantly forced the issue, and stressed out, because he was not in control, and it led him to think that he would be better off dead!.
To have reached that stage, he had tried his best to control an issue that was outside of his control, that he would never be able to gain control of it, yet he still tried to force the issue, until he felt so bad.
Thankfully, by talking about it, again and again, he was able to see that from the abuse he suffered, he had lived almost all his life trying to control his life, control others around and at times, felt lost and alone, because he felt others had control over him, reminding him of the abuse and control that was taken from him.
SOME SCENARIOS FACED BY MALE SURVIVORS:
* Not wanting to go out and be seen, either in restaurants, or public places, because they may be 'seen'.
* Shopping trips that go wrong, because you can't control what is happening around you, so you lose it, becoming angry, afraid, or stressed
* Getting angry when things fail to go the way you planned it. Despite knowing that you can't control people, you continue to try to control the situation, and when that fails, you lose your temper, becoming angry.
* You hold a party, or attend an event, and it fails to go the way you want it, or someone tries to change things, or fails to behave or do things right, so you lose control and anger or rage kicks in.
* Ordinary objects, like cupboards or even TV's 'fail' to do as they should, and you lose control again, often resulting in angry feelings or inappropriate anger towards inanimate objects. Quite often, when doing tasks such as DIY work, its easy to lose control and rage out of control.
* If someone expresses a different viewpoint to yours, or you feel as if they are making you look small, often the result is anger, which comes from loss of control.
So how do you let go the self control issues you have, which affect all areas of your life and those around you?
Make a conscious and determined effort to not allow anyone or anything to wind you up, and instead see what is happening as a game that is being played, and decide to be the winner in the game, by not allowing anyone or anything to trigger you.
If that fails to help, read the Triggers page and see if that helps minimise the control aspects.
All material copyright Male Survivors Trust