Need for control !

A few days ago I heard an interview with Dana Gould, an American stand-up comedian, who was talking about struggling with low self-esteem and a general sense of social inferiority. A friend was visiting Dana for the first time and noticed the extreme orderliness of his house. 'Oh, little Dana has a space he can control!', the friend noted with a laugh.  

I know exactly what he meant! Earlier on I often wondered why I am so obsessed with orderliness in our house. Clothes being thrown on the floor in our living room makes me anxious and annoyed and the growth of the grass is a direct indication of my stress level. The longer the grass, the more worried I get... Basically, I need to be able to control my environment! And the reason? If there is an ongoing over-production of chaos, stress and anxiety on the inside that apparently cannot be controlled, the only counter-action is to create as much order on the outside. Because that can be controlled. Or so I think. In periods with increased anxiety and chaos - such as right now - there is clearly an extra need for orderliness. Life needs to be predictable, things need to remain in the right places and people have to continue doing what is expected of them. Which - of course! -  means that they should express unequivocal love and care. For me. It is probably a massive generalisation but I actually do think that people who are struggling with low self-esteem evaluate social interactions with others based on a scale of disappointments: 'I didn't live up to their expectations of me but how serious is it actually? Can I still get them to love me?' It is probably not the healthiest way of getting through everyday interactions but it sure does take one's mind away from the more boring issues. Such as enjoying life...          

Today, I was at  work for the first time since I decided never to drink alcohol again. And I was spending huge amounts of energy scanning the environment: Is everything ok? Do people think I was too drunk at the party last week? And if not, what can I do to fix it? Cleaning up; controlling the environment. As the day went on, it seemed that everything was actually ok. And as so many times before, with the sense of ease comes the doubt about my decision not to drink: "Well, maybe it was a bit exaggerated. Maybe it isn't as bad as I make it up to be". I actually thought that it would have been so much easier if I hadn't been drunk last week because then I wouldn't have had to stop drinking. Weird circular argument. But it IS the right decision! I am probably just experiencing a post-sobriety hangover...

Preparation is crucial

When the words come out wrong