Fear of Lack of Control
Fear of lack of control is perhaps the greatest fear of the ego.
Some might say death is the greatest fear of the ego but even that can be simplified down to fear — fear of lack of control. The ego is constructed as such that it can only feel powerful if it feels like it has complete control. It takes time for the ego to construct itself in childhood and then the remainder of life is spent deconstructing said ego again to return to that innocent, natural state of spirit that we are originally created as. I recall only too well the first time it was put to me by a teacher that fear of lack of control is the underlying fear of all people and particularly of those people who are not coping well. I initially resisted the idea as my own ego did not want to entertain the idea that I might be responsible for my own unhappiness in any way. Over time though, I have seen it in action, in myself and in others.
As an example, I experienced panic attacks for years whenever I tried to drive my car outside of my daily routine. Driving to the shops in my small town was manageable, but not through a certain intersection; driving the six minutes to work each day was manageable, unless there was extra traffic; driving further than ten minutes out of town did not happen for about fifteen years for me until I began to drive for the sake of my children. When my son wanted to start playing football, I knew I had to find the courage to make a change for his sake and so began another leg of a very long journey. It took about five years of freaking out, crying, praying, swearing, shaking, and outright panic to be able to drive for six hours up the freeway to take my kids on a real holiday to see my own father. Once I did that, there was no turning back and, I ended up being able to drive every street of the Greater Sydney area within two years of that. Now I drive all over the place and I often marvel at how I overcame such debilitating terror. The truth of it is that I was so afraid to lose control in any way at all, that the very thought of not being in total control of my world was overwhelming and traumatic for a very long time. Driving was not the only area of my life I feared a lack of control and it took me many years to recognise all of the ingenious ways my ego had assumed control of everything in my life. I was rigidly controlling of myself, especially of my feelings and actions. Nothing about me was acceptable to me so I "switched off" my true self and instead became a replica, or a surrogate, of myself in order to maintain a sense of full control. The sad thing is that the ego is not created to have full control of us, or of anything else and, in my culture I learned that ‘ego’ is a dirty word and meant to be not only annihilated but unacknowledged at all.
This denial of ego can appear to be quite toxic at times but even the toxicity has its benefits and a lot of character-building takes place in the struggles. This is another great way for the ego to convince itself it has full control, it just keeps grabbing and attaching, latching onto the breast of "things" like an innocent newborn, until we step in and parent ourselves through to the next stage of our ego’s development. In hindsight, its a terribly frightening time for the ego and the hospitals and psychiatric units of the world are littered with the debris of the unknowing children who have yet to make it to the next stage. It has taken me so much to get to this point I’m at now where re-parenting myself through this life is my number one job and joy. Taking full responsibility for my own happiness created fear of lack of control for my ego at every step along the way and only mindfulness of that truth and a determination to let go of that fear, and to keep letting go of that need to control, got me to here. It’s not over, that fear is always there, tempting me from deep within the recesses of my own mind and it is gifting me with the most amazing things along the way as I unpack it and hold it up to the light of consciousness. Surrendering the need to control my world is an honour and a necessity and I give thanks for the child inside me who is teaching me how, with love, play, innocence, faith, and joy. In order to "let go," the ego has no concept of what is and isn’t healthy and it lets go of everything — think of a tiny baby with startle reflex — as soon as the ego perceives it has to let to of anything, it jerks and drops all within it’s grasp. That is part of cognitive dissonance and is very normal and natural but not pleasant usually, either. Too big a startle and the ego goes into a full blown death-throe — a tantrum. The less control the ego thinks it has, the bigger the tantrum. The antidote is "parenting," learning and intuition what this "child" inside us needs, and the most effective solution I’ve ever found or seen others find, is to ask that child inside and listen. One of the mechanisms ego engages is creating a facade of adultness so we don’t see, hear, feel, trust, or acknowledge the child inside us who needs us so much and who can help us find the joy we seek from birth. The ego creates all manner of stories, characters, scenarios, tales, whimsies, fabrications, convolutions, myths, and fables in order to retain the control it believes it has over our world and us. The ego is not a "bad" thing. It knows no better, no matter how learned it thinks it is becoming. Once we become aware of it, it begins to lose that all-important control and starts to throw up all of the things it thinks will stop us, throw us off the scent, and get back in our place, ceding full control to the ego again. This testing, and resisting can last an entire lifetime unless we step up and keep stepping up, just as we do with our own children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, wards, charges, little ones we know, and all of the children of the world. Just for today, ask that small, still voice within you — “what do you want?” And then listen for the answer. You might be surprised, and you will be on the way to lovingly taking back control from your ego, lightening your own life permanently.
Picture sourced from: https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-illustration-influence-inner-child-decisions-maturity-can-interfere-experiences-early-childhood-image84298196 17 August 2017 0023 AEST
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