Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSSEpisode 15 of the Highly Sensitive Person Podcast is about control. It wasn’t until I started writing about all my HSP stuff that I realized so many of the things that bothered me were about a lack of control. From working in a cubicle, to a fear of flying, to drop-in tennis, I outline the sneaky ways needing control is in my life.
Mentioned on this episode: What would Aristotle do? The fear of losing control
Further reading on this blog:
- Deadlines, Schedules, and Commitment Stress Me Out
- Working at Night = Complete Control
- Bad news: we can’t change the world to fit our needs
- Airplane Turbulence Scares Me So Much
- All the Battles I Fought When I Worked in a Cubicle
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Podcast music attribution: By the Coast (2004) (Antony Raijekov) / CC BY-NC 2.5
I found this website just now, as I stumbled through the internet hoping for some answers, after a particularly irritating conversation with a co-worker.
This episode could not have rang more true. Even acknowledging that one has an issue with control will help ease some of the controlling behaviour, I believe.
I’ll never forget the criticism I’ve receive over the years, and immediately upon seeing the name of this episode ‘Control’, I heard my friend Shauna ask me in grade 12, ‘Why are you so controlling?”. At the time, and for years afterwards I told myself that she was simply being a mean girl, asking someone an unanswerable question.
I now realize she may have been onto something.
Thanks for your help.
I hope to dig deeper and learn more, so I’m sure you’ll hear from me again.
Hi Laura, I’m so glad the episode meant something to you. I felt a bit unsure of it when I was recording! I think you’re right–simply understanding that you need control can help. 🙂
I loved listening to this episode! The past few years have been a huge practice in releasing control and trusting in my environment, family, and friends. In planning my wedding this past year, I had an almost daily internal conversation with myself that I would not be able to control every aspect of our wedding day and I would need to trust the vendors we chose.
My desire for control can border on perfectionism, wanting everything to be right, to be perfect, and for everything to go according to plan. Simply being able to recognize that I feel that way in many situations and get very stressed when I feel out if control has helped my overcome the need to be in control. I can understand at least WHY I feel the way I feel and let go.
This episode was very relatable for me and helpful to hear. Thank you!
I’ve had control issues for a long time and only recently connected them to my high sensitivity. I know that I over-analyze and over-plan things in an effort to minimize any chance that I’ll be overstimulated or overwhelmed by sights/sounds/smells/temperatures. And when you said that you feel uncomfortable when you know you have plans, it made me realize that I experience the exact same thing. If I have plans later in the day, whether it’s to meet a friend or go to a doctor’s appointment, I find myself distracted and fidgety all day leading up to it. I couldn’t figure out why until now. It’s another control issue! So thank you for that.
I just found your site after it popped up in my Google Alert for high sensitivity the other day. (I also write about this topic on my blog.) I look forward to poking around here more and listening to more of your podcasts. Thanks!
Hi Kim, thanks for your comment. I just read a blog on your post and it was very nice…it made an impact on me. Thanks for reading!
Just listed to this, and wanted to say thanks so much!
omg working in an office was THE WORST! I never contributed the control issues as an HSP traits, so its great to know that I’m not alone with this. I also didn’t think of decision making as a control issue, but it makes sense. I think making a choice is the worst for me, I’m always scared that I’ll make the wrong one. I can’t control that it will always work out or be the best choice, so I get serve anxiety in making the decision.
Trying to figure out a good way to word this, as its not a topic I’ve seen you touch on- but do you experience any control issues with sexual relationships? I have a hard time desire/engaging/enjoying sexual experiences with my husband, because I don’t feel 100% in control of my own body. I have abuse issues from a past relationship, so that may be the contributing factor, but would love to hear if this is something other HSPs experience.
I’m wondering, now that I’ve been aware ( by several sources over the past yr or so) that I have control issues and the fear of not having that control drives me towards anxiety attacks, what must I do to not be this way. Meditations?
How much must we adapt and how much must we accept we’ll only ever want to work in environments that give us control?
I get way too anxious to work for anyone else where the job severely doesn’t match my values (like most offices and retail environments) and leaves me with little or seemingly no control.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be happy unless I’m working for myself and/or as well for a good cause.
I’ve spent two yrs thinking about whether I should study naturopathy because I don’t want to make a mistake again and study a course I won’t use.
I’ve struggled to not hate jobs ever since I was 18, I’m 29 now.
Hi! Just found this blog and I’m already identifying with this a lot! Thank you.
I just wanted to let you know that the “further reading” links at the bottom of this post don’t work – they appear to be links to edit those posts. For example:
But removing ‘&action=edit’ from the end solves the problem!
Thanks again for writing this blog. 🙂
Edit: oops, I was wrong, action=edit doesn’t fix it. I will be able to find the post I was looking for by using search.
oh my gosh! Thanks for letting me know. I am fixing it now!
I was just listening this and light bulb! I worked in a call center for about 8 years – I was constantly stressed about every second of the day being timed. Even when I moved into a position there that was not on the phone, I was very scared to take a moment not being productive. I remember being in my car near hysterics because I was going to be a few minutes late (I had to take my kids to school/daycare). In my job now, there is almost no metrics or tracking which also stresses me out. I keep doing more and more because I don’t have an idea on what’s good. I did at one point have a bit of a breakdown where I had to take time off (not getting paid) because I just keeping doing more and more with getting no feedback. Thank you for your show!
Hi Nicole! Thanks for your comment. It sounds like being measured and not being measured are both difficult for you! I think I can relate a little bit. Maybe a piece of the issue is perfectionism. You hold yourself to such a high standard. Please be gentle on yourself!! Realize that what you do is good enough…and if you don’t accomplish as much as you hoped… maybe it’s ok! 🙂
I’m really curious about connections with astrology and HSP’s? Are most of us water signs or heavily weighted with water in our birth charts? I know I am!
Good question, I have to say I am not very familiar with astrology. I don’t think I am a water sign.
I so so so relate to everything you talk about! I discovered your podcasts yesterday, and now, during my workday, I find myself binge-listening them! It’s so relieving that there are people with the same issues as I have! You have solved my year-long-mysterie: why do I have all these control-related fears? This is it! It’s because of my high sensitivity! I had never thought of that, but it explains everything! Also all the social issues I encounter, the over-empathising when someone loses a loved one, the sound/light/work-issues… It all fits.
Thank you. So much! You have no idea how much this helps me. I am actually on the verge of crying because of this. Understanding where it all comes from is so important… I just never realised.
YAY!! I’m so glad you found these helpful!!! 🙂 thank you!!
I hadn’t thought until now that my preference to nightly working hours might be connected to my sensitivity. I’ve also noticed that lately my fear of needles has heightened. Could it be related to my overall feeling of becoming more sensitive as years goes by, and as the experiences and decisions I meet become more challenging and intense? Any thoughts about the possibility that sensitivity can increase over time?
I am the mother of an 18-year-old boy with high-functioning autism. He is about to launch, and is already very independent. We have had a lot of conflict in the past couple of years because I have felt I still needed to control his environment, to keep him safe and out of trouble. (We went through A LOT of anguish 10 years ago just before he was diagnosed.) I am just now learning that I am an HSP. Your podcast is helping me find self-compassion for what has always been considered — by me and others— as the actions and attitudes as a fearful control-freak who can’t let go of a trauma that someone else (my son) primarily experienced. Thank you so much.