How Trauma Made Me A Micromanager
I've always been someone who liked to be in control or in charge. I mean, I'm a Type 8/ENJF. It's literally built into me.
But I've never really considered myself a micromanager before. As long as I got to have the final say or dictate the direction of things...that's all I cared about.
Now it's a different story. I've now become the wife and mom who needs to plan out, execute, and follow through on everything to make sure that there isn't anything that is out of my hands. Wow - how ridiculous does that last sentence sound? What an unrealistic expectation to put on myself and those around me?
Here are 3 ways that micromanaging has infiltrated my life:
SELF-CARE/ALONE TIME. Those two things don't really exist anymore. Not because I can never have them. But because in order to get to them, I exhaust myself with trying to make sure every little possible detail is covered for the time that I'm away. For example, if I'm going on an over night trip with a girlfriend, I will spend the days leading up making sure the house is clean, all the laundry is done, fridge is stocked, snacks and meals prepped, and activities planned. Not because I don't trust the people I'm leaving my kids with (usually my husband or a grandparent). Because in my mind, I have done everything in my power to make sure the time goes exactly as planned with no hiccups...and by that I really mean, nothing that will be a surprise to me.
PLANNING OUT FREE TIME. Pre-pandemic, I would have our weekends planned. (I wouldn't usually include my husband in the plans but I would always let him know the option was there). Planning out weekends and activities meant that I could (in my twisted theory) avoid any triggers or bad days. It also meant that I didn't have to sit in the awkwardness that I feel when the kids and I are home but my husband needs some solitude; it can be weird feeling unwanted in your own home. (Side note: no one was making me feel that way except my own thoughts.)
SOCIAL GATHERINGS. Post-traumatic stress disorder can make you not love so many things you used to love about your previous life. Loud, boisterous gatherings with family, meeting new people, or even a games night with some friends. Before it would be a "ya let's do that!". Now, before I even mention an invitation to my husband, I try to have AS MANY details as possible. Who is going to be there? What time does it start? What time does it end? What activities are happening? How are we getting there? What do we need to bring? Like the other two points, what I basically want to do is ensure that there will be ZERO unknowns and that nothing will be a surprise. But even when we get to said gathering, my anxiety is on high alert because I am always on the lookout for anything that could be a trigger. (God I hate that word!)
All of that being said, I realize how ridiculous it sounds because it is so very unrealistic! I'm trying to take little baby steps to let go of this need to control. I know part of this comes from having zero control over "that day" and never wanting to feel like that again. But that's life, isn't it? Having enough faith to know that you can't know what each day will bring. And allow that faith to push aside the fear.
Take care and be kind to one another,