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What’s In My Control? vs. What’s Out Of My Control?

woman walks in tall grass

Knowing what you can and cannot control is an important tool to have during your recovery from substance use or a co-occurring mental illness. Many people use control as a defense mechanism. The more they can control what’s going on around them, the less triggering things may pop up when they least expect them to. Although this may seem like it’s working for you, you often find yourself dejected because you realize that there are many things that you cannot control. Try not to rely solely on control to make you happy. Instead, focus on what you can control, and forget about the rest.  

What is in my control?


  • What you say and do
  • Your opinions, thoughts, and actions
  • Your self-care and boundaries


What is out of my control?


  • What other people say and do
  • Other people’s opinions, thoughts, and actions


How Can I Determine What Is in and out of My Control?

Now that you’re aware of what is in and out of your control, you must decide where the actions lay. Is it in your control? Is it out of your control? This can be a difficult thing to differentiate. Try to go by the general rule of, if it deals with yourself, it’s probably in your control; if it deals with others, it’s probably out of your control. Deciding what is in and out of your control is a big step to letting go of control and living a more joyful life. If you’re having trouble with this and find yourself exerting more energy on things that are out of your control, you may find yourself feeling like you’ve wasted your time once you have realized that something is out of your control. If you are struggling with this, remember that sometimes all you can control is how you react. Effort and attitude are the two big things. How much effort are you putting in? How is your attitude toward the situation? These are two things that are necessary for all situations and you can always control these things.   

What Am I Afraid Of?

If you are leaning too hard on control, you must take notice and ask yourself at the moment what you are afraid of. Trying to control what is beyond your control means that you are worried about some outside forces. Maybe you are worried about the worst-case scenario. Maybe you are afraid of the consequences that may come from what you are trying to control. Identifying what you are afraid of can help you with moving past the need to control every situation.     

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help you. We can help you figure out what is in and out of your control, as well as give you the tools to help you let go of things that are out of your control so you can focus on what you really can control. Call us today at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to hear from you!