What Am I Afraid Of? Losing Control.

I have spoken for years about looking at fears and have helped others to identify them and utilise their energy to grow.

I have just as many fears as the next person and when I look at my life, I can see that I never ‘get rid’ of fears. I deal with a fear on one level and when I have cleared that issue, I see that the original fear or energy of that fear, transposes itself into another area of my life.

Dandelion seeds waiting to be scattered to the wind

Let’s say I have brought balance into my social life but as compensation, my finances begin to wobble and my mind starts to weave stories again, creating worry and fear.

And the imbalance is always revealing to me where I need to bring my awareness. Where I am not in acceptance of who I am.

In the past few weeks my life reflected clearly to me what was out of balance. Where my thinking was running riot. This time my youngest son took on the role of delivering the lesson.

It was about not being able to control another person.

In earlier years I always believed that I could control other people by my actions. Thinking I could push and push and exert my influence on others to get my way. And thinking that it was a plus for me if I was in control all the time.

But then I came to see that the only person I really had any control over was me. And even then, I couldn’t ‘make’ myself do anything that I didn’t want. My heart always guided that and if I ignored it, my body would react physically.

So what have I learned from my son? That I can’t force him to do things that I want him to do and that includes attending school. Pure force is not the answer. And threats don’t do the trick either. It’s calling for a complete turnaround and an examination of why something is not working any more. After all, it’s insanity to keep doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.

One thing has become crystal clear to me. I do not wish to have family conflict due to us having to enforce something on our child that he is totally unhappy with. That makes no sense whatsoever.  The school requires us as parents to enforce the rules as we are the ones in the long run who can be prosecuted in extreme cases. The hole they have allocated him is round and he has these little edges that won’t allow him to fit in.

So instead of hacking and chipping off bits to make the fit, why not seek the natural fit?

This situation reached its climax when I was faced with not knowing where my child was. No mobile phone connection. No clues. Just no way of reaching him. And it was in those moments that I knew that I had no choice but to surrender. Both two weeks ago and yesterday again.

I had completely lost control over my child. So it made no sense to apply punishments, withdraw treats, do anything that might result in further aggravation of the situation. I decided to relinquish all need to punish and just open my heart to listening. Which I did, without anger, without prying, without any sort of threats of repercussions.

We sat and talked and listened to each other in a calm, still place. What joy!

Today is another day. Yet all is very well. And all will continue to be well when we keep this heart connection open. Nothing else matters.

It’s okay for me to be completely out of control as a mum. And it allows me to be in a space of love.

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30 Responses to What Am I Afraid Of? Losing Control.

  1. Fiona, I so enjoyed reading this post. This is such a wonderful reminder and written so beautifully. My step-son is about to graduate high school (still crossing my fingers, actually) and he has always been one to take the most difficult path possible. And after I give him such good advice, too! Letting go is a struggle for me but I’m coming more to the awareness that it has to be done — both for him and me. His father is still learning this lesson and your post is a good reminder that I probably need to let go there as well. Thank you, Fiona.

    caregiving. family. advocacy.

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      You’re welcome Trish and thanks for stopping to comment. Most of us seem to be in the same boat with all of this and by reminding and supporting each other we can grow and learn from it all. It’s an ongoing thing.

  2. This is a topic that many people know and most artists live in fear of. I just did a post on the subject not too long ago. You may enjoy it. Fear is an option http://networkedblogs.com/h8Mou. I admire you for being so candid. I really enjoyed your post. Everyday is a new day to get it right or at the very least, get closer.

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks a lot Dennis for stopping by and commenting. I read your blog post and really enjoyed it. The Edison story is such an inspiration. And when we all come together and share our stories, we can help each other to get past these obstacles.

  3. Fiona,

    Isn’t it amazing how many stories of we-don’t-have-control there are? The lesson you are sharing is one that takes many of us years and years to learn, and in fact the “truth” probably shapes itself quite differently at different stages of our lives. My husband and I have gone through this so many times with his different children, and I, too, with my sister and other family situations. Right now my husband’s 30+ year old son is mired in a life of marijuana and low expectations/low skills. We’ve tried to provide support so he could get his GED, so he could do whatever–but of course we got the same lesson everyone’s talking about. You can give if you choose to give, but you cannot control what the person does with what you offer.

    Your son is lucky to have you so deep into reflection and learning.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    “My cat owns me, my clutter stymies me, my writing frees me. Word maven loves—and learns from—ordinary life.”

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks Judy. Lovely to see you here. And thanks so much for sharing your experiences too. It’s so true – you can lead the horse to the water, but you can’t’ make it drink. Giving and then detaching from what the other person chooses to do with it. This lesson really is one that we all need to come back to every day anew (or at least I do).

  4. !!!!! I am going through the same exact thing with my younger son. I try to step away from unnecessary battles and let him experience the natural consequence of those that ARE necessary but it has been a difficult lesson to learn, indeed. I find that the more I give up control, the easier it is not to blame myself for everything that goes wrong in everyone else’s lives. Thank you for an inspiring post.

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks Joan. I love those synchronicities. Giving up control is the only thing we can do and it’s the most rewarding in the long run.

  5. June Sockol says:

    Hi Fiona ~ Both my kids have some special needs. I find more I try to control them, the less they respond. Once I stopped trying to punish my teenager and made the point to listen to him, many of his behaviors improved. Some days I still want to yank my hair out in frustration but our relationship is much better then it was a few years ago.

    Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs. We do our best to guide our children and hope we’ve lead them on the right path. Some times we just have to watch them try and fail. It doesn’t mean we failed them as parents.

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks so much June for your comments. I so agree with you. Guiding them and loving them and leaving the rest up to them. I’m watching my eldest son take his next steps in Australia this year and being very far away, I can only watch and love. x

  6. Molly Perry says:

    It sounds as though things have been very stressful for your family. I hope that the days to come bring less stress.

    Parenting is so hard. Some kids are harder than others at different points in their lives. It is hard to imagine that we put our parents through such turmoil, isn’t it?? Thing is they will be our kids for many more years to come and the worries will continue. As my mom says, we are a “mom from the womb to the tomb”.
    Take care, Fiona.

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks Molly. It’s so interesting to see things from the other side. Wow, the thought that my parents were feeling the same things when I was establishing my freedom…. I love that saying ‘a mum from the womb to the tomb.’

  7. Laine D says:

    The parallels in our lives really do allow us to connect on a deeper level don’t they! Especially when someone like you is strong enough to take the lead and expose their angst and learning process. Brava! Thanks for being you.

    Laine D

  8. Laine D says:

    What a powerful story Fiona!

    We spend so long nurturing and raising our children, carrying them beneath our hearts even after they are born, it is difficult to know when it is time to step back. Like you I am finding I am learning as many lessons from them as I have attempted to teach.

    At 1 year of age Doctors told me my daughter couldn’t see out of one eye, it seems her neural pathways did not develop properly on one side due to premature delivery. Despite my own health issues (I was in a wheelchair at the time) I traveled all over Europe getting her to clinics and she had multiple surgeries. For years I have worked with her on exercises to maintain her vision but as she got older she was less interested. It seems that she got very good at faking it with me and the ophthalmic surgeons, she knows what is expected of her and lies like a pro! All my effort to no avail until a boy mentioned he wouldn’t date her because one eye looked dead! (glasses and contacts wont help because its not the vision but the connection) We finally had ‘the conversation’ , this is not something I can do for her… time for her to step up and me to let go.

    Letting go, letting them make their own mistakes and forge their own path might be hardest lesson yet for both of us.

    You are always an inspiration with the beauty of your art and your soul.

    Laine D.
    “Aspire to Inspire”


    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Laine, I so appreciate your comments and the way you shared your story too. Thank you. I believe that whenever one of us shares, it open the gateways for us all to participate and learn and grow. We’re all so interconnected and it becomes really apparent in such times. I’m glad to have inspired you Laine. x

  9. Hi Fiona,

    thank you so much for sharing! It really takes a lot to write the way you did. Loosing control is the biggest fear I had and still have sometimes. I am always great with advice to others what they should do and what I believe would be great for them. It gives me the feeling of helplessness like a beetle upside down if they don’t do what I believe in. But then, just like Louise said, I never did what my parents told me either. Their thinking wasn’t mind, during teenage time, I was with them but still I was alone and by myself because we didn’t trust each other. After I left at the age of 19 it took years to rebuild trust again. Always loved them but something was missing. So why did I do the same mistakes to others?

    You are great the way you deal with your son, you listen! You got control over yourself back and that’s the best thing you could have done. I am sure your son will find his way and maybe with your help see what is good for HIM. Because what’s good for him is good for you.

    Franziska San Pedro
    The Abstract Impressionist Artress

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks Franziska for commenting and sharing. It’s so important to see both sides of the story. I was really rebellious as a kid and so it’s now time for me to see the other side. It completes the picture. And you’re right, what’s good for him is good for me. We’re all in the flow.

  10. Judy Szabo says:

    You are so wise and so right Fiona, the most important thing is that you could have a heart to heart with your son. I was often called a “bad” mother for letting our children make mistakes to learn from. It was another thing that I was often on the verge of a heart attack lest they get hurt but they learnt much better from touching a hot iron than me telling them a hundred times that it is hot. I said it once or twice and sat back. Pretty soon they understood that there is something in what I tell them. But it’s hard!
    What you did was the hardest to do in this age we live in, when everybody feels the right to talk into your affairs, where every teacher feels she has the right to be your boss and pass judgement on you though they don’t know your child at all.
    I can only congratulate you, and thank you for sharing!
    xxx Judy

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      I really appreciate your response Judy. Thanks for sharing your experiences too. This whole story has brought me to realise that a lot of the conflict was arising due to the school wanting him to be a particular way. I cannot allow that to stand between him and me. And from what I know of you, Judy, you are a very loving and caring mother. Being a mum can be hard and it is a huge opportunity for us to grow and get to know ourselves better. x

  11. Donna McCord says:

    I am so thankful, Fiona, that you and your son had that beautiful connection and opportunity to open up and listen to one another. What a priceless gift! And all because you were able to let go of being in control. I admire you and praise you for that! Control issues have always been huge for me…I don’t like that feeling of being out of control…it is fearful to think about. But I too have learned that I have no control over another human being, and understand that we were not created to have that control, it is not natural. God Himself gave each of us free will — we have the freedom to make choices, even if they are wrong. And hopefully we will learn from our mistakes, be able to ask forgiveness if our mistakes were hurtful, and then move forward with a deeper understanding of ourselves, able to make better choices in the future. I went through a terrible time in my life when I feared losing control over myself and sunk into a deep depression that, only by the grace of God was I able to overcome. During that time I learned so much about myself, including the fact that I have a mild case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder — such a long story for another time! But through it all, I never lost my faith, and now I am so much stronger in so many ways. I still find myself in situations where I want to control what is happening with my daughter or with my husband or with others in my life whom I love and care about and want to see everything be perfect for them…at least now I recognize when that is happening and can pull back and hopefully stop myself! I love how you shared such a deeply personal experience and can see why I feel a connection with you. I am praying for you and your son, and I celebrate your love for one another!

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Donna, thank you for this beautiful heartfelt response. I love my connection with you too. At the end of the day it’s all about love. Nothing more and nothing less. And when we lose that, there is nothing more. I love what you said about recognising when we are wanting to control and breathe throught that to choose a different response. By sharing in this way we all help and teach each other.

  12. Fiona – I have been in your shoes oh so many times and it has taken me eight years to A short story for you – my daughter has had braces for three years. She is on the home stretch, they come off in Sept if she wears her rubber bands, which is consistently refuses to do. Well, you know what, it is her mouth, not mine, it is her smile, not mine, her teeth, not mine. If she choses to not follow the program, they will stay on even longer. Natural consequences is what it is all about. I do not know the nature of your son’s truancy and I do not mean to belittle it w/this example, but in the end, only your son can control what he does. You, as the parent, at some point – maybe you are there already have to relinquish the control, which absolutely is so freeing (at least I feel that way). I hope things get better and if you need advice about the school district or just want to chat, know I am here for you.

    Laurie Hurley
    Be An Educator & Advocate; Not An Enabler

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Hi Laurie, thanks a lot for your comments and support. Yes, giving up control and fear of any outcomes, is beautifully freeing. You just reminded me that I, too, had to wear braces as a kid and absolutely hated it but did what I was told. Years later when all 4 wisdom teeth came through, my teeth went completely out of alignment again and we were right back to square one. And you’re right – your daughter either does it or she doesn’t do it, either way, it’s all good.
      It’s all been one big rollercoaster since he was born but we’re all growing and stretching every step of the way. Thanks again Laurie.

  13. Fiona, the more of you that is revealed through your sharing, the more I feel connected to you. What you have described here is not mainstream parenting and many would not understand, but for me, as for you, it is the only way. Other paths not only don’t work, but led to more estrangement and resentment. I honor you for taking this path which is utterly dependent on trusting yourself, your son’s path and the Spirit to bring understanding that cannot come any other way.
    I thought Louise’s sharing above was beautifully supportive–coming from a mother who was once the child in this situation.
    In a different way, I am being called to do a similar thing with my younger son who is in his mid-thirties. For the last 20 years we have been spiritually and emotionally very close, but he is now going through a time of deeply processing our family dynamics and their effect on his relationships. As a result our relationship is very different with little contact and far less sharing. I am so grateful that while I miss how it was, I am able to trust this passage for both of us and able to be fully present to him when we do meet…for which he is very grateful. I share this because it gets back to the core of what you were talking about: having no control over another, only ourselves, and getting to the place where we have no desire to control.
    My gratitude for such a deep and revealing sharing.

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks so much for your comments Maridel and I , too, feel a lovely connection with you. Spiritual teachings urge us to give complete freedom to another when we feel the need to control. Releasing the need to be a smothering mother allows me to stand back and see my son for who he is. Perfect just the way he is regardless how things may look. It’s lovely to hear that you are trusting this process with your son too.

  14. Beautifully written Fiona. I guess this reflects what I told you about me when I truanted – there was NOTHING my parents could do about it. I almost didn’t fully understand why I did it and threats, punishments etc had no effect. They could not control me. It’s a constant lesson I try to learn also and I think it’s doubly (or more) difficult as a parent. We feel our childrens’ safety and well being is our responsibility and it’s REALLY hard not to turn that into a control issue. I think you have coped admirably with this and I hope the school is open to your suggestion that we talked about yesterday.
    Louise Edington
    Fearless For Freedom

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks Louise and I very much appreciate you sharing about your truancy in younger years. It shows the other side of the coin and brings the balance. The school also has a chance to respond in a favourable way now. By really feeling how it is to not have any control and not be able to do anything, it has thrown some switches. And it definitely is freeing.

  15. Fiona, it seems that you are handling a difficult situation with grace, love and forgiveness… what a wonderful gift that is to both you & your son!

    It takes awhile (at least it did for me!) to really grasp that the only thing I can control is my reaction to others & circumstances. I can never change the behavior of someone else or an external situation, but I can determine my response.

    A great lesson Fiona!

    Heidi (& Atticus)
    “commentary to give you paws…”

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks Heidi. This really is something that affects each and every one of us in different areas of our lives. Choosing a different response is key. And not always easy.

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