Monday, March 14, 2011


In the book Controlling People, it basically says that when a person thinks they know what I feel (without me telling them), that is controlling.When I think I know what someone else is thinking or feeling, or that I can change what they are thinking and feeling, that is controlling.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

A few years ago, after leaving CFC (eating disorder treatment), but still VERY new in this whole healing process, I had to make a decision. I knew what I needed to do to heal my life, but I knew other people would think I was crazy. I kept trying to find another way around it, but finally gave up. "I don't care what people think. I don't care what other people do. Here goes nothing."

For me, what happened next was terrifying. I stopped trying to control myself so that I could control what everyone else thought of me. I cried uncontrollably for hours at a time. I screamed and ran away when I was scared, even though there was a part of me that could have controlled myself, I didn't try. I left the church. I withdrew from my family.

Some people thought I was crazy. Some people thought I was a bitch. Some people thought I was incredibly selfish. I had to give up who I thought I was, and who I thought others wanted me to be, and I had to give up the idea that I could change what other people thought of me.

I was threatened with hospitalization. I was able to say, "I'll go if that is what you need me to do. I understand that this is MY journey, and you are not required to go with me. I trust you to take care of you."

I ended up not going, and I'm glad... But that is not the point. I finally trusted me enough to let go, and I trusted the people in my life enough to let go of them. I didn't know what the end product would look like. There was a lot I didn't know, and it really didn't matter.

I didn't feel the need to control anything. Not me. Not them. Whatever happened, happened.

Fast forward to now.
I got the email from my cousin. Sent me into a kind of crazy place. At the same time, I was getting emails from BJ's kids and ex. They were telling me how I ruined his life. The combination was a little more than I could handle, and I went back to old ways of thinking.

I started to believe I was responsible for his choices. I started to believe I was responsible for their choices. I started to believe I couldn't trust myself or them or him. I forgot to even THINK about what I needed, even though that is the only thing I could know. I was trying to control what everyone else thought, rather than take care of myself.

I was quickly becoming all that I hated.
Luckily, I have some amazing friends. I changed course. I stopped trying to control what others were thinking and instead decided to face the things I could face: the memories and the secrets from my cousin.

I'm not going to say this is easy, it is NOT. I'm hurting. I'm crying. I'm scared. I'm sad. At the same time, I'm trusting the people around me to take care of themselves, and trusting me to do what is best for me, and knowing that whatever happens next is okay.

I cannot control what other people think about me.
Believing that I can, only makes me (and everyone else) incredibly miserable.
Knowing that I can't, frees me to live.

God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
Courage to change the things I can.
And wisdom to know the difference.


  1. You're incredibly strong Jen! And you've come a long way, so be proud of that. It's hard being judged, but you know who you are, so stick with that! I'm glad I know you.

  2. That's a very good way to look at it. I've developed the same kind of attitude. Life is so much less stressful if you stop trying to fix other people and just worry about your decisions and roll with the punches.

  3. Jen,
    When I read your posts, I can practically taste the raw vulnerability of them. There is so much emotion coming through you right now and I am so inspired by your willingness to keep using your voice. I'm grateful our paths are intertwined.
    With love,

  4. I like this idea about not trying to control oneself. I think self-stifling has been the greatest detriment to my own happiness. I was never trying to control myself for my own good, it was always for someone else or because someone or something (church) told me I needed too. I'm much happier when I go with my own instincts and feelings. I needed this reminder right now so thank you for this post. I agree with everyone else here. You are strong and your posts are always inspiring!

  5. Fanny - Thank you! I'm glad I know YOU.
    Dom - :)
    Angie - I cried when I read your comment. I too am very grateful our paths are intertwined!
    Amy - I've never heard the term "self-stifling", but it has always been a detriment to my happiness. I'm like you - never controlled myself for MY good, only for others' good...
    I'm glad I could be give the reminder you needed, and thank you for sharing that with me.