The Worst Holiday Guest 🧌

The Worst Holiday Guest 🧌

The Control Troll

Halloween might be over, but there is a new monster in town. This one barges in a lot around the holidays. As if Mind Monster and Comparison Creature aren’t bad enough. No. I get a new squatter, arguably the most frustrating of all the vermin living inside my head,  the Control Troll.

As soon as the calendar flips to November 1st, I hear every tick of the clock moving us towards the holidays. Who’s traveling where? What am I cooking? Is the house clean? Are the sheets washed in the guest room? Do I even have sheets for the guest room, or did I throw them out last year? Can I afford the food I want to make?  Oh, shit — gifts! My daily task list gets longer. I work harder to make everything come together. Or at least I think that is what I’m doing. What I’m actually doing is getting into a really bad mood. Trying to be perfect will do that. Because it’s unattainable.

Control issues are from the part of the brain that reacts to pleasures and rewards. It’s the “if I do this, then that will make me happy.” In a healthy, well-balanced mind of peace, that is true. “If I clean the house and make a whole bunch of delicious food everyone enjoys, I will be happy.”  The problem is no one is responsible for other people’s happiness. We are only responsible for our own. If I make food and clean the house and it makes me happy, then I share my happiness with friends and family. That makes for a joyous atmosphere. In an unbalanced, unpeaceful mind, these same actions take on an air of victim-hood. Those same actions foster an “I did this for you, and you don’t appreciate it” mood instead of the celebratory atmosphere I’m looking for.

To stop it, I need to know what causes a Control Troll mindset. Many things: childhood issues with a controlling parent, having to take care of yourself too early in life, having anxiety and low self-esteem and fearing judgment, being terrified to make a mistake, needing to be perfect, having been abused for minor mistakes in the past. The list is endless. For me, my mother cared way too much about what other people thought, and my sister and I got punished for minor infractions before company arrived. And I seem to have turned into my mother. The epiphany came when I realized it was my behavior that was making the holidays tense. More importantly, my behavior was taught, and I wanted it to change.

Regardless of why your Control Troll developed, there are some ways to manage this beast.

Acknowledge the feeling. Before you can fix it, you must see it. If your anxiety amps up, stop whatever you are doing. Take a moment and take a deep breath. Can you delegate what you were doing to someone else? Keep a journal to write down what happened and look at it later when you are calmer. It will be important to get to the root of why you were triggered. You will want to remember the earliest memory of having this feeling so you can deal with the root matter.

Swap out the negative self-talk with good stuff. This might be the hardest one because it’s about taking responsibility for your thoughts. If you’ve done #1, and considered what you’re feeling, next it’s time to manage what we are thinking. Remind yourself the world will not stop if you don’t have the pumpkin pie, or the rolls are burned. No one will die if they can’t have cranberry sauce for one meal. Laugh about it. Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Missing food will not ruin the meal, our bad mood will. Remember, your friends and family came to see you. The meal you share is a bonus. Relax and have fun.

Get help. Delegating tasks is sometimes hard for the Control Troll. It hates asking for help and expects to be disappointed when it does ask. Ask for the help anyway. Don’t micromanage and be grateful for the extra hands.

If you still can’t let go and struggle with any of these areas, it may be time to speak to someone who can help you evict your Control Troll and never invite him back again.

Here is a link to find FREE mental health services that could be right for you. To work with me, you can find my rates and schedule an appointment here.

Wishing all you gorgeous creatures a wonderful start to the holidays!

NEXT MONTH: Change is coming/ (Tarot) Deck the halls

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