It was about 12 years ago and I was getting to know a woman who I would soon start dating. I don’t tell you this story with pride, but with shame. It really embarrasses me.
This woman had a brilliant mind. She was talented enough to do anything she wanted. Her competence, talent and intelligence were stunning. She could have done something really impressive if she had wanted, but what she really wanted was to be a teacher. She had received her degree and was about to start teaching.
That seemed like a waste to me. I thought she could do something so much more “impressive.” I don’t remember what I said, but I was trying to nudge her into thinking about something bigger. I was probably a bit condescending about it. You see, if she was going to be in my life, I wanted her to do something more impressive. I wanted to make her into what I thought she ought to be. I wasn’t honest enough with myself about it at the time to know this, but I made her career choice all about me.
I’m not a control freak, but I’m happier if you do things “the right way.” My way.
One of my core problems is my compulsion to reform everything around me, including other people. It’s not that I don’t also want to fix myself. I do. I want to fix the entire world around me — and that includes other people. This is really a problem of me needing control.