When a neurodivergent person seems controlling, they may just feel unsafe

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Saying someone has, “control issues” is often a misnomer.
 
For neurodivergent folks its often an issue with anxiety.
 
Feeling confused in a fast, noisy world demands you find something you can hold onto. Something to help you feel safe.
 
It can be a collection, a routine, a mantra, a person whose word you depend on.
 
My oldest used to get pissed at me when he was 5 or so and I’d estimate travel time wrong.
 
He’d want to know exactly how long it would take to get somewhere. If I was off by a few minutes he’d call me a liar, begin screaming and kicking my seat violently.
 
That’s how anxious and out of control he felt. I understand this now in retrospect. He’d become just as upset with his teacher when she didn’t keep to the schedule she laid out at the beginning of the day.
 
In one sense this behavior looks like OCD or inflexibility. To a degree executive function challenges play a role here.
 
I suspect your neurodivergent nervous system having difficulty adjusting quickly to uncertainty knows it. Which is why you feel so threatened by it.
 
I’ve become better at handling change over the years because my wife handles it so well. She’s an adventurous, go with the flow person.
 
I’m more a, “what’s the plan” kinda guy. I need some degree of certainty so I have something to hold onto. My anxiety is through the roof otherwise.
 
It’s a fact you and I have disorganized, highly sensitive nervous systems. No amount of meditation, medication or intervention can change all that.
 
They help!!! A lot 🙂 But they don’t eliminate the challenges completely.
 
But you must honor the thresholds of what your mind, body and emotions can withstand without causing you to meltdown or shutdown.
 
Take some time to reflect upon your tendencies to want to be in control of things. See if underneath it you actually feel unsafe.
 
We both know having control isn’t really an option. So what else will help you feel safe?
 
➡ Being with someone you trust?
➡ Knowing you’ll be okay whatever happens?
➡ Having the option to stop and leave if it becomes too much?
 
Create a list of options. In some cases, having the list is enough to lower your anxiety because its like having a map to the emergency exits in your pocket.
 
Give it a go and let me know if it helps.

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