Our Relationships with Control

Dear Vicki: I grew up in a family of Woods. My father was an angry, controlling man who was never happy with anything and always wanted more of everything. My mother was primary Earth, but I think her secondary was Wood because she fought for control with my father all the time regarding his abusive ways. Because of this, my home life was out of control and I couldn’t wait to leave. But now that I’m an adult, not only do I avoid Woods, I appear not to have any Wood myself. I’m not competitive and I have trouble with the idea of fairness (I want to ask “Fair to who?” – there are always two sides). In my personal relationships, I’ve avoided trying to control anything, yet my husband tells me I have control issues. Can you help me understand what he means? He’s a Fire and I’m a Metal, if that helps. Signed: Confused About Control in Concord

Dear Concord: I’m sorry to say this, but I agree with your husband – I do think you have control issues. Or more accurately, you have issues with control. And that’s very understandable given your childhood. As a Metal child in a household of battling Woods, your Metal would have been depleted from trying to keep Wood in check in any way available to you (Metal controls Wood). When you add the fact that life unfolding in a proper and controlled way was important to your Metal, it means that your young life was pretty much about control.

What this left you with is a negative attitude toward control, but not just because trying to keep it in place was exhausting. Out of control Wood can be scary, and the fact that you witnessed so much fighting and discord growing up probably created a deep sense of insecurity. In your eyes, Wood became the enemy, so it’s not surprising that you’ve avoided Wood most of your adult life, even the Wood in yourself.

But let’s be clear, you do have Wood; we all do. I suspect that you’re just so uncomfortable with Wood energy, and in fact may deem it dangerous, that you refuse to acknowledge it in yourself. And if it does rear its ugly head, your Metal probably chops it down rather quickly. If this condition of missing Wood is severe enough, it’s called “Wood lacking.” I covered the topic of a “lacking” element in a previous blog (https://5faces.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/metal-mom-becoming-earth/) if you want to read more about it.

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