Where are you on the control freak scale?
I have a theory – and it is just a Vicky Legge theory about a control freak scale! At one end is the illusion you have no control and the other – the independent, stubborn control freak.
The control freak scale scale
My theory says many single parents sit at the independent stubborn control freak end of the scale. The very act of single parenting creates this in you. Nothing in the house happens without you. You must think through and enact everything. You control everything. Even if the kids do chores, you have set up the schedule, you do the reminding and monitor if they have been done. You answer every question fired at you and help with homework! You are the maid, entertainment coordinator, gardener, taxi driver, budgeter, cook, and the endless list of providing what your family needs. I blame the nature of single parenting for pushing you to the extreme end of the scale.
At the other end of the scale is believing you have no control, not taking any responsibility for your life, expecting everyone else to solve your problems and meet your needs. Again, some single parents are pushed to this end of the scale by their circumstances. Poverty (and many single parents live below the poverty line) can create a cycle of welfare and powerlessness. Combine this with the overwhelming load of coping on your own especially if you are isolated, can make you dependent on others and handouts just to get by. This can be humiliating and devaluing, creating a mindset that you have no control, you are helpless and need others to supply all you need.
Neither of these is healthy.
I sit at the independent control freak end as do many of the single parents I have ministered with. In reflection, I can also see the influence of my family and my childhood contributing to this. I was raised in a family that said, ‘love many, trust a few and always paddle you own canoe,’ and the circumstances of being raised in a single parent home meant I took this on board to a deep level of never receiving help, let alone asking for it.
So now I am in a battle of wills between people trying to help me and me refusing, and I am learning the value of moving to the middle of the control freak scale and how to get there. It comes from relationship.
Pay it back, pay it forward, care for yourself, live your purpose
I refused help because I thought I had to reciprocate. I believed that if someone cooked a meal for us then I had to do the same for them. Three problems with this: a) I can’t cook very well b) I hate cooking and c) I don’t have time to cook for myself let alone the time or money to do it some for someone else.
I have learnt you don’t give the same gift in return. I do have a friend who cooks meals for us regularly, more often when she knows I have deadlines or I am unwell. She says I pay her back by spending time with her as a sounding board.
You can pay it forward where, if you receive a kindness, you do one for someone else. Read about the benefits to you and the community if you do this click here
The help can be a gift to release you to care for yourself or live your purpose both of which helps you, role models to your kids and potentially impacts others. You have value and are worth investing in.
Moving to the middle on the scale
So, the solution is to accept help that is offered from relationship, from people who wish to invest in you, but not as welfare or a project. When friends offer to cook tea one night, look after your kids or weed your garden (are you listening to yourself Vicky!) you can use that time and energy to pursue your purpose or care for yourself.
See the help as an act of kindness that you can payback but it doesn’t have to be in the same way, pay it forward or accept as gift because you are valued and loved.
We are better together.
Putting legs on it
Where do you sit on the control freak scale?
No control___________________________________________________________Control freak
Are you declining help that is given in a loving respectful way? How can you change your attitude to this?
Are you demanding and expecting help without paying it forward? What random act of kindness can you do for someone else?
Are you valued and loved by others? If not, find a community who you can build friendships with. See blogs Increasing your support, How to build a friendship network, YouTube video on Using the circles of support
Pay it forward
Reachout.com: Pay it forward
Photo credit: Holding hands Brook Cagle and Lone kayak Filip Mroz www.unsplash.com