SERIES TITLE: CONTROL FREAKARTICLE TWO: I want to change... I think.
This little boy changed me forever...
A lot of my security up unto the point of his birth had come from what I could control. One of the glaring & obvious places this manifested itself was in my ability to maintain the look and order of my household- how it looked and how it ran. It was like I was ready for Vogue Living to come over and have a photo shoot in my living room. Or maybe I was auditioning for Martha Stewart to use my house in her magazine. I've had nightmares of Martha walking into my house with white gloves on... okay, not really.
It was September 2012, a couple of weeks before Samuel was born and I remember sitting at the counter top in our Brooklyn apartment with my brother Parker, my mom and dad, and husband Paul talking about the impending birth of our 4th child Samuel. I specifically remember saying:
"I wonder if having a 4th child will push me over the edge to actually deal with my control issues?"
(My issues were glaringly obvious to everyone and we all joked around about my undiagnosed OCD at times.)
My brother Parker just laughed at me in the usual huge outburst of laughter he is known for with a cheeky twinkle in his eye and said.
Everyone else uncomfortably laughed, secretly hoping it would. And I laughed nervously truly feeling like my life was about to spiral out of control. I was mentally making a checklist of how I could stop this runaway train, but was coming up short.
I'm not a mind reader, although at times I pride myself on thinking I am, but I could only imagine that my husband Paul was hoping it really would change everything. For years he had been the brunt of my control issues because he is the closest person to me on this earth. It had caused pain and hurt in our marriage and I really did want it to stop.
I can't remember when it all began but somewhere around the beginning of our marriage I became obsessively controlling especially in the area of keeping a clean house. I am pretty sure it had something to do with the fact that my life didn't turn out how I had imagined it. It was amazing, just not what I thought.
I grew up in Spokane, Washington and thought I was going to marry an 'All American' Boy and live somewhere in the U.S. But I found myself married at 23, living in Australia, married to a man that I deeply loved but really couldn't be more polar opposite to in personality and I just didn't know what to do. So I cleaned... and I yelled at Paul and tried to get him to clean just like me, and if he didn't I would give him the silent treatment. Weird, I know... But I was temporarily controlling my atmosphere whilst ruining it all at the same time.
When the kids were born, I started to realize how bad it was getting. I remember one time when Zeke dumped out the legos on my pristine floor and I lost it on him. He was 3 1/2 years old and I lost it on him for playing with his toys. Yes, playing with his toys! My husband literally told me to go up to our room, and when I came back down stairs all cool, calm and collected, and apologized to Zeke, he was frantically cleaning up the legos saying, "See, mummy, see... I cleaned it all up."
My heart was broken. My issues were beginning to cause my son to tiptoe around me and please me no matter the cost. I held him in my arms and apologized and wanted to change, but I just didn't know how. I felt helpless. I had given birth to 3 kids all under the age of 3 in rapid succession and was personally dealing with issues in my life that God was bringing to the surface at the same time. Order made me feel safe, and hurt everyone else around me.
Fast forward to September 2012. I was finally to a place of desperation... I needed to change. I wanted to stop damaging everyone around me. I wanted this little treasure I was carrying in my womb to be the tipping point so I would stop arranging the rug in its perfect symmetrical place. I would line up all the pillows on the couch and wouldn't let my children touch them in case they got dirty. The relentless vacuuming, dusting, bathroom scrubbing, mopping and sweeping of the floors, the cleaning of the kitchen that had to be done in a certain way and in a certain order. The beds that needed to be fixed in military fashion or someone was going to pay. The toys that had their specific shelf and place that all needed to be lined up in a certain way. If I heard my kids actually playing with their toys, I nearly had a panic attack. The sound of legos being dumped on the floor was still a trigger for me.
In my control, my life was actually spiraling out of control. It was time for change.
Thank God for our Samuel... our family's tipping point. His name means "asked of God". God delivered him into our arms... and so much more.
- Why do I need to control things in my life?
- What am I protecting myself from and why does the control make me feel safe?
- Am I ready to change?