Control is at the root of most problems in the workaholic or perfectionist’s life. We push ourselves past our breaking point, believing that we have control over our minds and our bodies. We don’t have to deal with unpleasant emotions if we don’t want. We can move on; we’ll be okay! We don’t need anyone, anyway. We are strong. We’re doing it on our own. When our bodies and their need for rest get in the way, we can push past our corporeal needs and keep going. Our health won’t fail if we just get enough sleep, do yoga, eat healthfully, and drink water. Pretending to have it all together while desperately trying to maintain control and the illusion of perfection is exhausting. Our desire to control ourselves and our lives is killing us.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“We women who do too much sure do enjoy our illusion of control. In fact, it is one of our favorite illusions. Whatever it is, we can just ‘guts it through.’ We cannot afford to relax, because we might lose our tenuous hold on the reins.
We try to control everything. We believe that we can trick our bodies into more work and prevent burnout by participating in the appropriate stress management seminars and exercising regularly. We eat the right foods so we can continue to overwork our bodies.We do all the right things to ‘keep our lives under control.’ And then we read the statistics that say death by heart attack is rising for professional women and that the age level is dropping. Surely, if we just do enough we can control . . . our bodies, our lives, and the lives of others.”
We have this idea in our heads that we can somehow escape the consequences of our actions if we just behave like good little girls and follow the right procedures. If we get regular checkups and take preventive measures, eat enough vegetables, sleep the recommended number of hours per night. If we exercise and meditate and practice deep breathing for stress relief. We can’t neglect our minds and souls, yet take care of our bodies, and simply hope it all works out for the best. We can’t be happy or relaxed if we are so obsessed with this idea of control! Trying to control our health is just as damaging as trying to control any other aspect of our lives. Control issues, regardless of whether the intention behind them is good or not, are still just issues when you get down to it.