“Is it still considered being controlling if you just know that you know better than he does?”
The above is an inquiry to my therapist (we’re going on fourteen glorious years now) during our last emergency session. Much to my smug satisfaction she replied, “I hate the word controlling, it’s so vague. Of course you’re controlling—you’re trying to control the train from not flying off the tracks!” Oh, the sweet sound of validation…can you hear it, boyfriend?
There’s a very fine distinction between being encouraging and bossy, and maybe I need to pick up a pair of glasses because I think I’ve begun to blur the line (Dad jokes FOREVER). I blame it on residual trauma from a previous relationship with a sweet but shifty drug addict who used to sneak away from my parents’ house mid-slumber to freebase cocaine in his white Bronco (basically my high school experience was similar to Anne Hathaway’s in Havoc, but I digress), or perhaps I’m just hyper-aware of my own former dalliances with self-destruction (and the law) once resulting in a two day stint at a Wisconsin hospital. But whatever the reason, lately I’ve noticed an internal switch from ride or die bitch to passive-aggressive bitch, and I find myself spitting snarky insults and snide remarks at my unwitting boyfriend-turned-victim-of-verbal-abuse with the intention of bullying him out of any and all bad habits.
While I’m a firm believer that even the menchiest of men need a little straightening out on occasion, what once began as a productive health consciousness has metastasized into a compulsive behavioral monitoring causing me to keep count of our daily vice consumption and to spout statements that even I find irritating as I say them, like “Will you please stop chain smoking?” (before he’s even finished his first cigarette), and “You smell like a fucking bar” (as I happily slurp away at my second Vodka drink). (Ed Note: Vodka is Jane’s good pal, which is why she capitalizes it).
As an “ex” smoker who still indulges in a social cigarette (my dogs count as company) whenever I drink (which is nightly) I fear I’ve risen to a new level of hypocrisy. So like any good controlling controller, in order to regain control (didyou know I like to be in control? control control control) of the situation, I’ve sought the guidance of my trusty psychological adviser (we’re on a texting basis) to help me comprehend why I’ve become so damn neurotic. Thanks to her extremely pricey analysis, together we’ve begun to dissect my new-found unhealthy healthy fixation: that as the two of us (boyfriend and I, not therapist and I) evolve individually and relationship-ly (I know it’s not a word, Yasi), I’ve begun to obsess obsessively about the idea of “normalcy.”
While rationally I know that (metaphorically) letting my hair down every now and again doesn’t make me a careless/carefree mess, the other part of me feels a nagging need (Ed Note: hahah NAGGING NEED) to overcompensate for all my past debauchery. Because it’s strange when you finally find someone who makes you feel so good that you feel sort of guilty about how bad you used to be. But in the end I think all the micro-managing and anxiety on my behalf is really just me projecting my insecurity about my own fragility, and fear of getting to close to the edge again. Put simply, there’s a little bit of shame in both of our pasts, and that’s just something that I’ll have to get past unless I want to miss out on the present.