I have been taking steps to heal myself for most of my adult life. In my twenties, I learned yoga, meditation and Reiki.
I went on special diets to heal my aching body. I sought out therapy in different forms with mixed results. When my children were born, they brought a level of urgency to the process. I knew I had to take it up a notch because the panic attacks were unbearable. So 11 years ago, I started the recovery work which led to memory recovery. It has been 11 years of emotional expression, recovered memories and body aching as I have transformed myself. I can honestly say that I am not the same person I was. Of course, my true self is the same. But now, I can actually see it.
This recovery journey has been amazing. It has opened my eyes to many things about myself and the world around me. I am glad I decided to take this path. I would never want to go back to the life I was leading when I started. That said, it has also been hard. It has been miserable at times. And honestly, if you had told me how long it would take at the beginning, I might not have signed up for it. What a tragedy that would have been. But back then, I would not have had the perspective to understand the timing was not the important part. And there have been many tantrums because of that. There have been so many tantrums. And no, I am not talking about the tantrums from my external or internal children. Those are separate. I am talking about the tantrums from my controller.
If there is one thing I have learned over these years, it is the resourcefulness of the controller. The controller will stop at nothing to stop recovery. They hate it. And while there are some more obvious defenses, there are other defenses that are incredibly stealth. Some of the controller’s defenses are so stealth, it is almost impossible to see them as trauma-related. And one of those defenses comes in tantrum form.
What do I mean? The controller hates recovery. They hate it because there is no timeline. They hate it because it is unpredictable. And most of all, they hate it because they can’t control it. Recovery is not controllable. Honestly, you know you are doing it right when you feel like a sitting duck. You have no idea what is coming next. In recovery, the inner parts are in charge of what they share. Any organization to the process (which is surprisingly organized) is happening by the higher self. And the controller hates the higher self if they will admit they exist. They think it is another part who cannot be trusted, making promises to be broken.
So the controller will do everything to convince you to stop, to go back to the way it was, to numb out and just get through life. And you will often get caught up in the inner language.
“This recovery sucks. I hate it.”
“I’m not doing this anymore. It is just another way I am being punished.”
“I have had to go through this once and I won’t do it again.”
“This is taking too long. I didn’t sign up to do this for the rest of my life.”
“This probably isn’t even working. I don’t feel better. I think I feel worse.”
Does this sound familiar? I’ll bet it does. This is strategic. The controller is trying to make you give up. And it is very convincing. It might even work for a while, until you realize that being stuck is worse than moving forward with the work of recovery. But here’s the secret you must know. This is probably the most important thing you can realize when you are experiencing a controller tantrum so don’t stop reading now (even if your controller says to).
Your biggest tantrums will happen right before your biggest breakthroughs.
It could be right before a memory comes back. It could be right before a wave of emotion that brings relief behind it. But the controller is the most angry when they are on the verge of going to the scariest places. If you can recognize that, you will help yourself so much with this recovery. If you can hear the tantrum, write from the tantrum and separate just a little from the tantrum, you will move forward in recovery so much quicker.
And in case you missed that irony, the brutal truth, I’ll lay it out for you.
You will move forward in recovery faster when you stop panicking about how long it is taking.
I know your controller hates me now for blowing this all-important secret, but please take this in as much as you can. This is life-changing and recovery-changing information. And there is nothing more important than recovery, no matter how long it takes.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW