Saturday, August 8, 2009

Control Freak

I never really thought of myself as a control freak until recently, when I started reading The Search for Significance. God has started showing me very clearly that I totally am one. Dangit! I wanted to portray myself as this laid back, easy going person. I mean, if I was perfectionist wouldn't my house be perfectly cleaned at all times? Wouldn't my flowers be perfectly weeded and pruned? Wouldn't the laundry be folded and put away instead of sitting in the baskets for three days? The truth is, like a lot of people I have this all or nothing attitude. If I can't clean my house exactly the way I want to, what's the point? If I don't have three hours to spend organizing the stuff on my desk, what's the point of tidying it up? If I can't spend the money on all the things I want to make my garden look nicer, then who cares? As for the laundry..well...that's just plain laziness!

The problem with being a perfectionist is that it doesn't just affect you. I am finding that it could eventually ruin my relationships if I don't change. It turns you into a total control freak, and to people that don't understand why you are the way you are, you come across as, well (I'm just going to say it) a total bitch. Let's take yesterday for example:

I was having a tough time with Ainsley. If she misses naps, she just gets miserable. The 20 minute catnaps just weren't cutting it for her and she was screaming. I was out with my mom and I still needed to buy some stuff for a goodbye party for Brandon and Rach (subject of another sad). My mom graciously offered to go to the store for me so I could get Ainsley back to her house and calmed down a little. With all the screaming in the background, I quickly told my mom what I needed and we parted ways. She came home with a few sacks of food and other things. Instead of being grateful about what she got, I immediately started criticizing this and that (shameful, I know) because it wasn't exactly what I would have bought. If the tables were turned and I had gone shopping for her and she had reacted that way, I probably would have walked out of the house, uttering a few cusswords about ungrateful people, but my mom is a much better person than I am. She calmly explained why she bought what she did. As the afternoon progressed, things didn't get much better. My cookies didn't turn out that great. Turns out I used baking powder instead of baking soda (oops) and started to panic that no one would want to eat them. When my mom said "Marie it's not like you're entering them in the state fair!" I realized it really didn't matter either way. It also didn't matter if people didn't like the exact flavors of pop she chose.

Later on, as is common with me, I realized the error of my way and called my mom to apologize. She forgave me. People did eat the cookies (except for the 10 or so burnt ones on the bottom, which I left at Andrea's house...hee hee!) and drank almost all the pop.

My control freakness does leech out into other areas as well. God forbid Devin put Ainsley to sleep in her swing because "the book" says that's bad to do! And our roof could possibly cave in if he gives her some formula instead of the frozen breastmilk (which in his defense, is a pain to thaw). Oh, and it also could signify Armageddon if Addison's outfits don't match.

The point is I want to change! No one likes to be around people like this. They are just flat out annoying and take the fun out of everything by worrying about stupid details that don't even matter! Thankfully I'm married to a guy who doesn't put up with my crap, and I'm saved by a God who will change me if I ask for help. Any other perfectionists out there want to go on this journey with me?


Keri said...

I love you Marie:) For what it's worth, I have never thought of you as a control freak. After reading this, I still don't think your a control freak...your just like most women I know. We like to do things a certain way and we like to have it "all together", and it's hard to accept different ways sometimes. Thanks for posting this, I totally needed to hear it!

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about "all or nothing" I take this approach with EVERYTHING.

"Well, if I can't scrub the floors..then I might as well do nothing."

"Well, if I can't lose weight by dieting for one whole day, I may as well eat my weight in Snickers bars"

And, it seems as we have VERY similar Mother Moments :-)

I really need to learn moderation, or something, this has always been something I've wanted to change!

Mary-Anne said...

I am the same way.....:) Thank you for writing what was in your heart...I just need to chill out sometimes!

Brenda Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda Blake said...

You wrote: The truth is, like a lot of people I have this all or nothing attitude. If I can't clean my house exactly the way I want to, what's the point? If I don't have three hours to spend organizing the stuff on my desk, what's the point of tidying it up? If I can't spend the money on all the things I want to make my garden look nicer, then who cares? As for the laundry..well...that's just plain laziness!

As I was reading this, I was blown away. I'm stunned to know how much we think alike! Here I was thinking that I was the only one, I guess I've never put it onto work but, here you just did! I can't believe it! Everyday I wake up thinking that I need to change my attitude. I've been thinking that because we're on a tight budget, it's not worth fixing our apartment the way I want, well lately I've been thinking that I just need to put in a little effort and use what means I have and this place would look a lot better, Your place looks great by the way. And I was thinking about how fun it would be to have friends over to help me paint a room, you know, that quality time stuff! :) But who would want to come over and help me paint? LOL :D Maybe you would, and the kids could run around giggling... :D

nat said...

Oh, Marie! I am totally in the same boat with the controlling tendencies. If you read any of the birth order literature, you'll find that it's pretty common for a first born as well. It's so hard to let go of those tendencies and allow life to happen without the death-grip on it! I also have those critical moments, especially with my Mom. I use the lame excuse that she was hyper critical of me, so now I'm doing it to her unintentionally. In reality, it hurts her and makes me seem like a monster!

Amanda said...

Well, I'd just like to say that I think you are simply fantastic! I know how it is when you are doing something for company and want things to be a certain way. I think everyone, at times, has certain situations they wish they could control. I struggle with that when it comes to housekeeping. John (in an attempt to be nice) will help do something but (in my mind) I see all the things I would have done differently instead of just being thankful for the help! Arg! Praise God for our patient husbands and His power to help us when we ask. I appreciate you sharing your heart!

P.S. There are so many positive traits you possess that I love about's ridiculous!

H.E.A. said...

You know what I find to one of the most amazing things about you? You are so completely self aware. I know you probably don't think so, but you are. You realize exactly who you are, why you are what you are, and how you want or need to change to make your life better.

You are so humble and honest and open. I LOVE that about you.

Good luck with the control freak thing...I've been fighting it for years and am just now starting to make a small amount of progress. I can barely even ride in the passenger seat of a car...I almost always have to drive...that's how bad it is :)

ANYway, you are an amazing and loving person and I think you're gonna be just fine!

jenifriend said...

this is your fellow control freak also SCREAMING out for help!! i was on my way to work today and just started bawling and praying out loud to God because this very thing is consuming me. I managed to get some really thorough cleaning done last night; it wasn't perfect but I got quite a bit accomplished. Then this morning I woke up angry and anxiety-stricken because I was conjuring up in my mind all of the unperfect things and people in my life right now. Can we just call me a hypocrite?! It's been sooo exhausting Marie, and I would love to talk with you more about this!!