Lesson Five: Control
Welcome to Lesson Five from Distressed to Darling!
(If you missed Lesson Four, read it here! Also, do not miss your 18 page workbook! Just sign up and it will be sent to your email.)
Control is priceless to you after a relationship where it felt like you had none. That control is like your safety net. Giving up control or compromising on any aspect of your life can feel like you are setting yourself up for trauma again. It is anxiety inducing and you want to avoid it at all costs. However, healthy relationships are all about balance of control and compromising.
Without giving up some control to your new partner, you will not be able to continue to advance in your relationship. It is unfair and unreasonable to expect your partner to accept that it is the way you want it to be all the time. Even though you may not always agree with your partner’s choices, you have to give them the respect of sharing control of your choices as a couple. Refusing to share control tells your partner you value yourself more than you value your relationship. This is likely not the message you want to send.
Start with small compromises then go bigger.
You can start letting go of control by letting your partner make a few little decisions. Once you see that the little decisions wind up being just fine, then you can move into letting them make bigger decisions. At the very least, it is important to let your partner feel that you value them and their opinions. Even if you are not comfortable giving full control, ask for their input. And actually listen and thoughtfully consider that input! Below are a few suggestions.
Some small things you can start with:
- Where to go on date night
- Let them be in control of paying some bills
- Let them be in charge of a home improvement project
- Planning a vacation
- Or let them take charge of an issue that arises
When you refuse to let go of some control there are serious concerns that can arise. The person who is not being allowed to make decisions may begin to have some negative feelings toward the person taking all the control. Negative thoughts turn into negative behaviors and outcomes.
Problems that spur from not sharing control:
- Hiding information – they do what you want and don’t tell you so you cannot say no.
- Resentment – resent being treated as a subordinate.
- Withdrawing from the relationship – partner may begin to slowly pull out of a relationship where they do not feel valued or respected as an equal.
Given the problems that can occur, is the outcome of compromising worse? What is the worst thing that can happen by slowly giving up a portion of the control? If you honestly cannot rely on your partner enough to give them some control, then you have outside concerns besides your past trauma affecting your relationship.
When you did not feel like you were respected and included in making decisions, how did you start feeling toward your past partner? Do not do to someone else what you hated having done to you. I know that may sound harsh, but when you think of it that way it may put it a little more in perspective.
This wraps up all the lessons from Distressed to Darling: 5 Steps to Letting Love in after a Damaging Past.
I am always here and would love to hear your feedback on what you learned about yourself and how you can apply it to your relationship, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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