today i’m thinking about the expression of “worry” as a form of control over someone else. i used to believe that to verbalize worry for someone was an aspect of showing love or concern for their well-being, and that if someone “worried” about this or that aspect of my life it was only because they wanted the best thing for me.
but in recent months (through a lot of inner exploration) i’ve come to the conclusion that this expression of worry is often (though not always) a tool used to manipulate the other into doing what we want them to. “i’m worried about you” seems to be another way of saying “i don’t like what you are doing, and see what type of emotional strain it is putting on me (making me worry all the time) – so stop it now or you should feel guilty about it.” wow – that’s a powerful way of getting what you want out of someone, by putting the onus of change entirely on them rather than examining whether there is any real basis to have a fear or worry for them.
worrying in a general sense is a feeling of being out of control, or having a need to control one’s own situation – and i think this extends to a tendency to use it as a controlling weapon against others. i know now that this has been used against me in order to shake me out of making my own decisions, and to “put me in my place” as a daughter or as a lover when i have expressed my desire to do my own thing. in exploring how it has been used against me, i can see how i have used it against others in my life as well in order to exert control over the relationships i fear losing most.
i think if i can break the pattern of responding to those in my life who say “i’m worried about you” to me, then i can break the pattern of “worrying” about others – since fretting does little to actually change a situation, and even if it did, would be produced through manipulation which is not what loving and supportive relationships are based on. this is something i am going to explore in the next while.
as an old swedish proverb says “worry gives a small thing a big shadow, ” and that shadow casts a dark cloud on all aspects of our lives, particularly those who we love.