It’s the fear of not having control (of yourself or relationships)

In our nature as human beings it is found the need to feel that we have our lives under control. This feeling helps us feel secure and promotes psychological well-being.

However, when this need for control becomes an emergency or an essential condition of our peace of mind, it can wreak havoc on our personal relationships, our professional life and our quality of life.

    What do we mean by the need for control?

    To be able to know what a person is feeling afraid of not being in control first we need to know what the need for control is and what are its psychological implications.

    By “need for control” we mean the person’s need to understand their surroundings in order to exert an effect or power over them. As well as the urgency you feel to determine a number of outcomes or consequences before they occur.

    In cases where this feeling of control it is threatened by chance, Because the situation is not up to the person or because it is others who make the decisions, it is possible that the person experiences a series of negative emotions such as frustration and anger, which force him to adopt behaviors of domination, extortion or criticism.

    In these cases, a mechanism known as “control motivation” is triggered. Driven by the motivation for control, the person can react in two different ways: on the one hand, a psychological reactance can appear, through which the person makes even more efforts to try to control an uncontrollable situation; or it can be generated a feeling of helplessness in which attempts at domination disappear.

    Although generally the tendency to plan things or prepare them in advance is seen as positive and really effective in achieving our goals, when this tendency is taken to the extreme and becomes a necessity, it can interfere with our daily life. .

      What is the cause of this fear?

      An excessive need for control is often caused by one’s own fear of not having it. While the exact causes of this fear of not being in control have yet to be determined, there are theories that relate it to the personality or experience of traumatic events in the past.

      One of these theories is the hypothesis which is often under the fear of not controlling the situation an irrational fear of being at the mercy of others. The cause of this panic about depending on others may have its roots in traumatic events in which the person felt helpless or vulnerable.

      Past experiences of abuse, neglect, or neglect can encourage a person to disproportionately seek to regain the feeling that everything in their life is under control.

      However, several factors can play an important role in influencing a person’s need for control, causing the person to become overly stressed. These factors are:

      • Traumatic life experiences or abuse.
      • Lack of confidence.
      • anxiety.
      • Fear of abandonment.
      • Low self-esteem.

      • Beliefs and values ​​of the person.
      • Perfectionism.
      • Fear of failure.
      • Fear of experiencing negative or painful emotions.

      How do people need control?

      Although at first glance, people who are afraid of losing control over their lives, or who simply have a constant urge to feel it, tend to appear strong and confident; the reality is that behind this appearance lies a certain fragility, as well as a great vulnerability to the idea or to the afraid that there are some things that cannot be controlled, Which occur regardless of what one desires.

      People who tend to control everything around them have a great fear of the appearance of sudden and unforeseen events, as their ability to be spontaneous or to improvise is not well developed.

      In addition, another of the defining characteristics of these people is the feeling that the rest depends on their ability to handle day-to-day events. This sense of responsibility can therefore become a powerful stressor.

      What types of controls are there?

      There are countless ways that people can try to take control of their environment and of others. These people exercise a kind of control of their intimate relationships, in the family, professional or social environment.

      1. Need for self-control

      When the person experiences excessive fear of not being in control of your lifeYou can perform the following behaviors:

      • Compulsive exercise.
      • Compulsory cleaning or toilets.
      • Self-harm.
      • Substance abuse.

      2. Need for control over others

      Here are some examples of the behaviors that these people exercise:

      • Controlling the couple’s activities.
      • Review personal items such as someone else’s phone or social media.
      • Stop another person from talking or having relationships with family or friends.
      • Gas lighting.

      • Dishonest conduct with third parties.
      • Overprotective parenting.
      • Physical violence, Sexual or emotional.
      • Bullying or ridiculing behaviors.

      How can psychotherapy help?

      Addressing the control problems of psychotherapy involves finding out in the person that there is a great need for control in them. This point is extremely complicated, as in most cases the patient is not able to perceive this need for domination or power.

      During therapy, the patient and the psychologist work together to address the fear underlying this need. Along with the emotions associated with it, such as anxiety, create a number of coping strategies that are helpful when these arise.

      This process in which the patient’s self-awareness is worked can help the patient to give up the need for control.

      Cognitive psychotherapy can help the person identify the real cause of the need for control: self-protection. Emotional instability and lack of options or autonomy they can cause a person to seek control over other aspects of life. Recognizing and dealing with this source of discomfort will help you develop self-compassion and accept that part of yourself that needs protection.

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