wings and things


on October 17, 2012

I latched onto a couple of quotes from two articles that I found on Monday and, when I read them to Ming yesterday, he was blown away. The first comes from this source:

“How does a person become controlling? It is basically a method of coping with the anxiety they feel beginning very early in life.  Some had parents who couldn’t quite fulfill their role as strong caregivers and seemed to be weak or incapable.

A child in this situation, as early as age 3, may begin to prop up their parents and become a little adult very early on.  If the stress continues, fear increases and the use of attempts to control what they can, becomes compulsive and unconscious. It is more likely to happen with children who are helpers, and/or leaders by nature, often first born boys or girls feel proud of themselves for helping and it is encouraged or reinforced by parents and other influential adults. They may also have a tendency toward anxiety, worry and perfectionism which will only make it worse.”

The second quote comes from this source:

“Controllers are often perfectionists. They may feel, ‘If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.’ …. Controllers are also controlling with themselves. They may fanatically count carbs, become clean freaks or workaholics. Conventional psychiatry classifies extreme cases as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder–people are rigidly preoccupied with details, rules, lists, and dominating others at the expense of flexibility and openness.


  • Does this person keep claiming to know what’s best for you?
  • Do you typically have to do things his way?
  • Is he or she so domineering you feel suffocated?
  • Do you feel like you’re held prisoner to this person’s rigid sense of order?
  • Is this relationship no fun because it lacks spontaneity?

If you answer “yes” to 1-2 questions, it’s likely you’re dealing with a controller. Responding “yes” to 3 or more questions suggests that a controller is violating our emotional freedom.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read these quoted excerpts to Ming so it was rather lovely when he listened without angst and it was very interesting to see his jaw drop in recognition of himself and me. I guess you could call it an epiphany.

It was during our first session with the counsellor last week that she suggested  we might have control issues, so it was the word ‘control’ that stuck in my head and is why, after things went haywire on Sunday, I googled ‘control issues’ and found the above two articles. What would we do without google – ha!

“So I’m a control freak,” Ming said with a certain amount of relief and a tinge of pride.


“And it’s because I couldn’t control Dad’s sickness and your misery, and my back and all the shit?”


“So what do we do now?” Ming asked.

“Well, we’ve already taken the first step, kid.”

“What do you mean?”

“I am the one in control now so you can just freak off!”

His pealing laughter filled the house and my heart had a lovely little nap.

Sometimes I just want to go back in time!

47 responses to “Control

  1. James Melbin says:


  2. That photo is absolutely beautiful. You should have it as your avatar so you can remind yourself every day who’s the boss 🙂

  3. Bec Butcher says:

    Sounds like my partner ! He had a horrible childhood though he hates me telling anyone that and he has been worrying about how his mum would pay the electric bill since he was 9 years old. He has his ways and rituals but being best friends for 15 years before we got together we sort of ironed these out over time.

  4. bulldogsturf says:

    How lovely to see a photo with little Ming… and I enjoyed your Google findings… I have sent the link to your post to a friend that is definitely in such a relationship… wonderful post and share thank you…

  5. I love the photo Julie. And I love the conversation you and Ming had…

    • jmgoyder says:

      He has now been a good boy for nearly 3 days – the power is going to my head haha!

      • taking care of business during difficult times starts to lighten the load, doesn’t it? When one can’t control everything, one manages the things they can and lets the other things take care of themselves…I’m proud of you Julie, you’re a strong woman!

      • jmgoyder says:

        Thanks Diana – I’m so glad we have figured out the fundamentals of the problem. I’m not silly enough to think it will all be okay from now on, but at least we have begun – phew!

  6. victoriaaphotography says:

    Gorgeous photo, Julie, (and the lipstick is just right with your dark hair).

    If Ming can be a ‘good boy’ for 14 days, you’ve got a winner. (14 days doing something mindfully means the 15th day, it is done automatically, without thinking about it).

    • jmgoyder says:

      So I have 11 more days? Arghhhhhhh!
      On a more serious note, I am amazed at how this latest drama has improved things so much with me now in control. My energy has come back!

  7. viveka says:

    When reading your post – I’m glad that I’m living alone …. I think I’m a bit or was … a control freak at least at work. Today I don’t care .. and as Ming – I’m only the freak those days. Well said and you haven’t lost your sense of humor in all this. Go for it, girlfriend.

  8. pixilated2 says:

    I see daylight… nay, sunshine!

  9. you two are adorable — and smart to be taking care of business the way you are and finding help

  10. btw–I am a bit of a control freak too–but I keep it mostly under wraps

  11. see, see, how I am trying to control the comments–just can’t stop myself

  12. mimijk says:

    You are on your way!! And so is Ming!! And the love you feel for each other is palpable..;-)

  13. Rhonda says:

    Oh so wonderful to recognize ourselves in the mirror. Good for Ming and Yeehaw for you. Spot On and Fabulous. And that photo is beautiful Julie!

  14. dcwisdom says:

    Julie, thanks for posting this. I’m proud of you and Ming for making good efforts to help each other through this tough time. Step by step, inch by inch… Lovely picture.
    Recently, my step-granddaughter, who’s 7, had a similar problem. Her mom and dad divorced early in her little life, and her personality is very gregarious but always extremely bossy. Now, she’s had a problem in the classroom with her teacher sending notes home to her mom about situations with her little friends.
    I copied a portion from your post and sent it to my son and dau-in-law. I hope they will see the need to get prof help for her.
    Psalm 34:14: …seek peace, and pursue it.
    Sending BIG ole Texas love your way…XO

  15. terry1954 says:

    you are so beautiful in your photo. i loved the descriptions you gave, and the joke you made at the end to make life lighter!!!! glad there was some laughter in your house

  16. FringeGirl says:

    Gorgeous photo!

    My husband laughs at me when I diagnose via Google, but, sometimes Google is right. I love how you can find humor even in difficulty. I also love how your son recognized himself as a controller. Sometimes it’s so hard to see ourselves clearly.

  17. eof737 says:

    You look terrific Julie, I second Tilly’s suggestion! 🙂

  18. I love that you are taking a stand! This is great!

  19. bluebee says:

    You are so lucky to have each other – at least you can talk things through and have a laugh at yourselves.

  20. Robyn Lee says:

    Wow Julie ~ I sort of was the “adult” child too… wonder if I’m a control freak at heart… really can’t be in my situation though — just wouldn’t work. I am glad you and Ming seem to be making some progress already in exploring the psychological aspects of this entire challenge… i a have to say – you were the most beautiful new mommy ~ gorgeous photo!!!xxoo Love u!

  21. I think most of us have times when we wish we could go back in time and just have our little bundles of joy…………..I love the quotes they are awesome and I can relate to the first quote as the first born I think I am a little controlling at times……….ok maybe a lot controlling most of the time…………

  22. tersiaburger says:

    Lovely post thank you. I have researched the effect of an ill parent on chi ldren and came across the term “parentified” children. Vic’s boys fall into that category. I blogged on it. ( I wish I knew how to break that cycle. It breaks my heart that the boys have lost out on their childhood. It is great that you are still in control!! Love the picture and the lipstick is perfect!! Good luck!

    • jmgoyder says:

      I will read the link later because I have to go out – thank you so much. Yes, Vic’s boys have certainly been through hell in this sense. I have never heard that term ‘parentified children’ – thank you.

  23. FacetsofLucy says:

    I haven’t been around for awhile for a myriad of reasons (none medical- hurrah) so I haven’t followed everything going on. First of all, that photograph of you is just beautiful and he looks so sweet. I read the whole post thinking you were the one who discovered you had control issues and finding we had that in common. The joke was on me to discover it was your son but thats understandable, too. I’ve come to understand my need to control over the years and recognize when its affecting others. When it is, like if my kids want to do anything that, to me, is risky but I recognize it may be “just me”, I send them to their dad instead. If he says yes, I may worry like crazy but I can recognize it as my problem.

    Anyway, all in all, you seem to be making progress all over the place. I’m so glad.

  24. Judith Post says:

    What a lovely way to handle the issue. It probably takes a lot of pressure off Ming, because some things are just out of our control…and some pressure off you, because life might be happier.

  25. janechese says:

    Like the notes on control oh yea. Progress, not perfection is my motto now. Love your photo.

  26. Good for you going through this session together and making things change. Lovely picture of you with baby Ming!

  27. elizabeth says:

    Ah-ha so that’s what’s going on with me! I’m a controller. 🙂

    Love the beautiful photograph. You are both gorgeous.

  28. Fergiemoto says:

    Precious photo, Julie!

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