Every aspect of my life is out of control. I feel as though my husband is falling out of love with me, my children no longer respect me, and I’m invisible at work. What can I do to feel more in control of my life and make people care about me?

Les Parrott's Making Happy
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Feeling powerless is very common. At one time or another, everyone has felt as though their life was spinning out of control. And, to a certain degree, life does. It never flows exactly the way we would like. But when we experience life’s uncertainties, we can lose self-confidence and drift into an emotional panic.

While feelings are generally trustworthy and instructive, yours seem to have become extreme. It’s likely you’re overreacting or “castastrophizing” — making your problems appear greater than they likely are.

Because you are beginning to panic and have lost self-confidence, you need to discover some ways of getting “centered” so you can think clearly and make choices about some of the areas in which you now feel threatened.

What Jesus do when his world was spinning out of control? In one situation, he sailed to the other side of a lake to be alone to think and pray. As he faced his death, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. You too need times of solitude to think and pray.

Consider also taking the following actions:

Get counsel. Scripture tells us there is wisdom in the counsel of many. Someone has quipped, “The brain is a terrible place to store problems.” How true. Sit with trusted friends and counselors and listen to their wisdom. You must get “outside yourself” to see your situation from another perspective;

Consider your situation. Having gathered a few chosen people to your side, consider your situation. Is it as bad as you once thought, or are there now some possible solutions to your concerns? Is it possible that people care for you more than you think? Reflect carefully on your feelings and determine exactly what is it you’re feeling and needing.

Make an accurate assessment. We gain profound relief when we whittle our problems down to size. Rarely do the things we worry about come to pass. Rarely are our problems as big as we have made them out to be. With a new perspective, redefine your problem. Is your husband really falling out of love with you, or is the problem a bit simpler?

Lay out possible choices. Once your problems are whittled down to size, their solutions become more apparent. You have more options than you once imagined. It is critical that you shift from being passive to being active in confronting your problems. Don’t wait for others to change — you must change your situation in some way.

Take action with healthy choices. Thankfully, there is always something you can do about your problems. Sometimes there is a clear and direct course of action. In the case of doubting your husband’s love, talk to him about your concerns. You can choose to strengthen your connection to him. You can also take steps to increase the respect of your children as well as how you feel with your job. Step back, reflect, whittle your problems down to size, and make healthy choices;

In summary, the support and guidance of trusted friends and professional counselors will help you determine a wise direction. Once you have clarity of direction, you can move forward and regain lost self-confidence. As you note positive changes, perhaps even in small ways, you will have renewed energy and confidence to apply to your challenges.

I’d like to hear your thoughts and welcome reactions. Contact me at drdavid@marriagerecoverycenter.com. I encourage you to read about our programs at www.marriagerecoverycenter.com.

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