When You Feel Out Of Control


Recently, one of my clients had quite an amazing epiphany. She realized that she’d been nagging and complaining to her significant other. When we talked about why she was doing this, she suddenly realized that she felt out of control. She said, “I can’t control myself, so I try to control him.” Needless to say, it’s a recipe for disaster.

She was in a vicious doom loop of unhappiness.

My client felt awful about herself, her relationship, and her behavior. She’s an amazing woman; smart, funny, and extraordinarily kind. This was so unlike her and was actually leading her to feel even less in control. She was in a vicious doom loop of unhappiness, unhealthy behavior, and then more unhappiness.

How many of us fall into this exact behavior? I’ve actually never met anyone who doesn’t do this! We feel anxious about something, so we externalize it and start finding faults with others – often those we love. Honestly, it’s pretty easy to do. I’d rather pick on someone else than look at my own issues. Well at least for awhile.

She took a long hard look at herself.

So what did my client do? She took a long hard look at herself and what was bothering her. It’s an ongoing process for most of us. We need to sit back and ask ourselves what is wrong. What are we worried about? What feels so unsettled and scary to us that we are externalizing our own feelings? It’s hard work. It’s uncomfortable work. But it’s extremely worthwhile work.

One of the big realizations that my client had was that she loses faith in the big picture. She forgets that everything will ultimately work out, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment. That’s the thing. Stuff works out, one way or the other. The key is to recognize that you feel out of control, and although that’s normal, it’s not particularly helpful.

Worrying never changed a thing.

Next time you find yourself nitpicking a loved one, or nagging, or complaining, stop and look inside yourself. Ask yourself with kindness and curiosity, “What’s wrong?” Have faith that everything is going to be okay and that most of what is bothering us isn’t going to be a problem for very long. Worrying never changed a thing, so find a way to let go of it and bring yourself back to a calmer place where you don’t feel the need to control anyone but yourself.

Let me know how you do.



Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC


About Lisa Kaplin Psy.D.

Lisa Kaplin is a psychologist and life coach at Smart Women Inspired Lives. She helps women get happy, get motivated, and get moving in ways they hadn't thought possible. Lisa is a nationally recognized professional speaker on topics such as stress management, parenting, healthy communication, wellness, and women’s leadership. She is also a blogger and has been featured on Yahoo, Thought Catalog, MSN, Lifetime Moms, Your Tango, and Psychology Today. Lisa is a happily married mother of three. You can find her at www.smartwomeninspiredlives.com or Lisa@smartwomeninspiredlives.com