The Control Freak in Me

I like for people to think like I think. Okay, I suppose that is a pretty broad statement. I am open minded and accepting of the viewpoint of others. On most things. Sometimes though, I come across something that I believe is black and white and cannot for the life of me understand why someone else would not think the same way I do. Is this an ADHD problem? Am I just sometimes a jerk? Probably the latter.

I wrote a few weeks ago about my mother and her failing health. I have several siblings. Most of them are handling things regarding my mother the same as I am. She is an independent woman. She is an intelligent woman. She doesn’t need people telling her what she “should” do. Leave her be and let her do this her way. If she needs us, then be there, but don’t pester her about what we would LIKE for her to do. (such as visiting doctors, taking tests, ect.) But there are a couple, that well, I think the real issue is that they are not ready to let her go. They want to fuss at her – tell her she should fight whatever illness this is. Tell her she should seek all kinds of medical attention. For some reason this really, really bothers me. It’s like I want to build a bubble around my mother and only let in those who are going to say and do what I have pre-approved. I would love for my mother to see a doctor if she could be made more comfortable, but other than that, what would the point be? If she doesn’t want to start  running around to a doctor appointment every day, then I don’t blame her. My mother has never been one to visit doctors much. She has had health problems over the years that she had to address, has had multiple surgeries, but she has never been one to run to the doctor whenever she was sick. Her mother was a hypochondriac and I believe my mother has always had a deep rooted fear of being like her. So she went the opposite way.

I am not ready to let my mother go. But that is not my choice. When she goes is not up to me. Sheer willpower on my part or anyone else’s will not keep her here when it is her time. I can live with that. I have to. To me, it doesn’t matter how I would proceed if it were me. The only thing that matters is how my mother wishes to live her life, and ultimately how she chooses to live her last days. I have no idea how much more time my mother has on this earth, but it is up to her how she lives them. That is not a question. I don’t want to be the cause of her feeling pressured into seeking treatment that she would otherwise forgo. She is 83 years old, she can decide for herself. So why do some of my siblings feel otherwise? And why do I feel such an overwhelming protectiveness for her? Why do I want to keep them from saying anything that I think could potentially make her feel bad? Maybe it’s me that is in denial. Maybe I just don’t want to talk about her being ill, or not being as strong as she once was. I just feel an overpowering urge to control the situation, and I can’t. I can’t control her health and I can’t control my siblings.

This strong urge to control the situation has taken me by surprise. The only other thing I have ever wanted to control this strongly, or even more so, has been the environment in which A exists. When life was extremely difficult for her, when she believed suicide was the answer, I was desperate, and I wanted more than anything to control her situation. I wanted to control the things that were causing her pain and anguish. I wanted to control the people who hurt her. It was hard even letting her be independent because I was afraid to loosen my grip. I believed with all my heart that I knew what was best for my child, and that was that.

I have that same feeling now. It’s like I feel I know what is best for my mother and no one else’s opinion is right. Part of me is appalled by that idea, and part of me insists I am correct. I know my mother better than a lot of people do. I know her better than some of her other children do. I have spent more time with her over the years. I was a lot younger than my siblings and I grew up pretty much alone in the house with my parents. Maybe we just had more time to talk. She’s told me stories about her life that she never told anyone else. She endured a childhood that I cannot even imagine. I know plenty of stories I wish I could forget. Is this the reason I feel so compelled to protect her now? The reason I feel so certain that this should all be done her way and everyone should just keep quiet – be there and ready if she asks for anything but don’t pester her or tell her what we would like for her to do? She has been through worse times than these. She has earned the right to do as she pleases.

I don’t know the answer to this sudden urge to be controlling. Maybe I want to control certain things because so much of the time I live in chaos. I can’t seem to get a handle on clutter, or house cleaning or laundry…maybe my urge to control ideas and behaviors is to compensate for areas in which I am lacking. I wish this were easier. I wish I could flip a switch and be more laid back. I wish I could stand by and let others do what they do and not be bothered. I feel this is going to be a long struggle.

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