How do you manage the excessive need to control?


I’ve found that a very unhealthy coping mechanism I’ve developed is feeling like I need to control EVERYTHING. My boyfriend’s addiction has felt so out of control at times that I feel like I can solve it by controlling every other part of our relationship and within my life. It’s so exhausting and tiring for myself AND for him. I’d really like to learn how to manage this and teach myself to let go sometimes and just allow myself to be happy.


Hi @dori welcome to The Community! There’s a quote I love that represents what you’ve shared:

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At this moment it is possible to find yourself doubting how far you can go, but try and keep in mind how far you’ve come, how much you’ve endured, and that progress has been made despite setbacks. You are strong and can handle this, you’ve shown resilience in so many ways. But when it seems like things are so out of your control and there’s nothing you can do it’s important to try and think of potential things you can do. One activity you could do is make a list of all the things you can control in your life, and what you cannot control. Putting it on paper may help to not react in the moment to things you can’t control, and will shed a light on all the things you can control!


Totally. We become the ‘parent’. I always say that loving my husband through addiction was the first time I realized how much I could love and it became at times like a motherly love.

Look, it’s tough. Society doesn’t look after people struggling with substance use well. And the reality is I think that’s total bogus and we need a shake up. These humans’ brains are hijacked. And we should just leave them to get really really low to finally hit bottom to the point they NEED help. I think that’s just not good enough (society’s fault not yours!)

But still we have to work within it…till we can over turn it :wink:

What I’m trying to say is ‘control’ makes sense. You’re trying to stop someone you love from harming themselves. And they’re acting crazy, and so we act crazy.

I think 1. know this is not a crazy response :slight_smile:
2. know that it takes heaps of time to heal from addiction, and taking steps towards positive change are huge wins

Focus on the long not the short game. That’s how we win and stay sane.

Harder said than done. But maybe worth a try - what do you think?



Thank you for that beautiful quote, and for reminding me to be proud of how far I’ve come within all of this. It can be hard and feel like I am losing myself when all the focus is on my boyfriend and his sobriety. But I am proud of what we have both endured and how we are working together!


Focusing more on the long game rather than the short game is a great idea. I lose sight of this at times. Also I lose sight of how hard it can be for my boyfriend, because addiction is NOT a choice. You are so right.


@dori :slight_smile: totally - it’s only natural because recovery takes so bloody long - can’t they hurry it up? :wink: x


oof. I relate so much to this. It’s definitely my go to automatic response when things get hard or scary. I’ve managed to take up meditating and it helps sometimes but certainly not always in terms of being able to respond mindfully instead of trying to control on instinct.