What happens when we lose control?

By Caitriona McMahon

To navigate, steer, or govern. What do these three words imply or have in common? A sense of control.

Experiencing a loss of control is certainly a strange sensation and something that can strike out of the blue.

As toddlers we learn to feel, touch, sense and move things as we please to where we desire. The square brick goes into the square hole right?

We learn to keep things in order and follow certain rules and traditions. As we grow and develop these learnt behaviours travel along with us.

When a sudden change occurs in our lives the learnt sense of control tries to resist this change by keeping all our ducks in a row but change is inevitable, so what happens when an obstacle is blocking our path?

How do we cope? Can we?

As previously mentioned, change is inevitable be it the sudden loss of a partner, a job, family member, moving to another area or school.

It happens suddenly and without prior warning.

That said without change, we would not evolve as humans, so it’s not always a negative experience.


Would we ever step outside our comfort zones or push ourselves to go that extra mile if we were not forced to?

Feeling powerless, almost as though you have no say in your future, your thoughts or in fact even the next 60 seconds of your life are quite common symptoms among those experiencing a sense of loss of control.

The fear of snapping or doing something wrong triggers a numbing guilt and a spiral of self destruction.

But heading into a self destructive cycle is not the only potential outcome as we can make change and loss of control a positive experience too.

Ironically, sometimes it is not until we experience a loss of control that we realise it never existed in the first place.

We just thought it did! Up until now that is. Thinking we have the ability to stop the thoughts that enter our minds is naive.

However our response to such thoughts and the emotions it triggers can be changed.

Some automatic reactions include frustration, anger and even sometimes laughing at the circus of chaos.

It’s often in the middle of this chaos that the only option you are left with is to trust in yourself.


I don’t mean trust thoughts or emotions, I mean trust deep beyond that.

Trust your core being, that has helped you survive until now, that causes you to do certain things to protect yourself before your mind even has a chance to notice the risk.

Along with the good days will come bad days, so it’s about learning the dance two steps forward one back then three forward and so on.

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