Sometimes I look back on my life since the ex left and wonder what the heck I’ve accomplished? And then I realize all that I have done and I feel a little better. There’s been a lot of upheaval in my life over the past few years. Not just my life, but my family’s life, the kids’ lives etc. But there’s also been a lot of good. A lot of learning and exploring and realizing that this is my life and I get to choose how to live it.
I saw a guy on TikTok (yes, I do check it now and again) and he was asking “Who controls you?” and it made me think. He went into greater detail, but the question stuck with me.
Who Controls You?
Think about that question for a bit. Sit with it. Dig in deeply. Because the answer that comes after thinking for awhile may surprise you as it did me.
My first flippant answer was NOBODY, then followed by ME, then followed by my kids’ and sadly realizing that I allow the specter of the failed marriage to control me, haunt me and keep me stuck. Then it’s society’s ‘rules’ and expectations, followed by the ‘rules’ that were ingrained in me since childhood. And as I continued down the rabbit hole and allowed the answers to pop into view, I realized that part of my unhappiness in the past was a direct result of how I viewed who controlled me.
I had very controlling parents. There were strict rules growing up that I didn’t dare to break. As I got older, that good girl syndrome stayed with me with the exception of a year abroad in college where I was a continent away and able to finally figure out who ‘me’ really was. But when I returned back to the states, that singing free bird that had been me was caged once more due to being under my parents’ roof and being held as the responsible one, which is a role I’ve played for over 50 years and continue now as a divorced mom.
But my parents are no more and yet, I hear their rules in my head. My kids are still under my roof and even though I raised them differently than I was raised, they’re still here and I’m still responsible for them. Who am I kidding? I’ll always feel that way with them even though it’s lessened over the years as they’ve gotten older.
So if I take a step back and look at my life with fresh eyes, I can see that I am the only one responsible for me and therefore, I control me. Not society, not the specter of my parents, not my brother, not my kids, not the ex, nor his toxic family. But me. Plain and simple.
Now, I just need to get onboard and figure out how I want to live again. And that’s where I am today.
How about you? What is your answer to the question? Who controls you?