On Being a Control Freak and Having Adult Children.

Any other control freaks out there? It took me a long time to realize that I struggled in life because I wanted to control everything. I’ve read that most Type A/Enneagram 1 folk are also huge control freaks. (Raises hand as I am all three.) We don’t just want to have control of situations, projects, events, etc. We want them to run and turn out the way WE want them to. Am I getting any amens out there?

To be honest, would we really want a wedding planner who wasn’t driven to make sure a wedding runs like clockwork as much as possible? Surprisingly enough, a lot of driven people are not detail-oriented. Like me. If you know about Enneagrams, I am a 1/7. I want that control, but I am also scattered and easily distracted by the next best or fun thing, leaving the details and the finishing of the work to my teammates. Or spouse.

I grew up with one super-control freak parent. Mom blew all the “norms” up by being a Type A/1 person who was also all about the details and stood over you to make sure it was done perfectly…her perfectly. There was rarely any margin for error with her. And often, because living like that day-to-day was beyond exhausting, would just do it herself. Reading back over that I realize I am more like her than I care to admit. For the record, she and I often discussed these exact things while she was alive so, please don’t think I am talking about her now that she is gone. She was the first to admit that her standards were rarely reachable by anyone but her.

After having children, I had to give up a lot of my control tendencies because it was just too stressful to maintain them day-to-day with three children. The overwhelm…am I right? Of course, children are easier to have control over but when they become adults and married adults at that…Oy. They stop listening to your suggestions and ideas and have the audacity to even say to you, half-jokingly or not, “no one asked you, Mom.” Which used to hurt my feelings. Now, not so much. I get it. I am who I am and while I can change, and have a lot, control is in my DNA and for the record, all three of our biological children have a piece of the control DNA, and married people who were also born with control DNA. Makes for an interesting time when we even do fun projects together!

Adult children are an interesting thing. You birth them. You raise them. Spend every day of their first 18 years with them and then they become complete strangers for a time as they figure out who they are. Then, if you are lucky, one day you are speaking with them and you realize they are exactly who you knew them to be. Your child is infused with you and your spouse’s unique DNA and quirks and tendencies but also their own uniqueness in every way. Wanting to control their behavior at this point is more of a habit that I’ve learned to let go. They are doing fine without my uninvited input. But can I just say that occasionally when I am keeping my thoughts to myself that it would just be nice for them to recognize how much I’ve changed in that regard? And to hear, now and then after I have given input, “mom…you were right?” That’s all we moms want.

Or, at least, this mom!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s