Rule Rebellion: “I have to be in control.”

My dad never drove anywhere without a beer between his legs. I grew up in the back woods of Pennsylvania, where most roads were windy, hilly, and full of pot holes from the coal trucks. Often, the edge of the roads on the top of the hills would give way to the woods below and guardrails were sparse.  I remember feeling so grateful when we would come upon a rail that lasted a good stretch because I could finally breathe.

To a 5 year old, who was holding her breath, it seemed like we were driving along a coast of cliffs and at any moment we could drive right off the edge.

I remember feeling like I was going die every time I got in the car with my dad. Sure enough, whoever called shotgun would have to sit kind of sideways so their leg didn’t get too cold from the six pack.

It went…

  1. Dad takes his eyes off the road, fumble around next to your legs to find the beer.
  2. Wrangle it off the plastic ring, kush=-ka, pull back the tab.
  3. Dad tilts head towards the roof of the car and downs the beer. Taking his eyes off the road for at least 2 minutes at a time.
  4. Crushes can and asks you to roll down your window.
  5. Whips beer past your head, into the woods.
  6. Repeat step 1 five more times.
  7. Stops at The Brass Rail drive through for another 6 pack.

Panic isn’t the right work. Terrified is better.

I was desperate to make it stop. Keep us safe. Make sure we didn’t die that day.

Someone needed to come to the rescue.

I never called shotgun. I always sat right behind my dad, directly lined up with his left ear. That’s the best view I had of the road from my pretend driver’s seat.

I made sure nothing was on the floor in front of me, preventing me from using my imaginary brake and gas pedals.

To others, it looked like I was playing. But I knew the truth. I knew I actually controlled the car with my magic powers.

Sometimes my steering wheel got stuck. When I would turn it to the right to miss the other cars, it wouldn’t go right away. But it always did.

And sometimes the brakes went out. But they always magically fixed themselves just in a Knick of time.

I got a lot of satisfaction out of believing I was controlling that car. In my mind, I saved the day, every day.

Naturally, I assumed I controlled the universe.

So, I got busy trying other ways to control my dad’s drinking.

Sometimes, I’d gather up all the beer cans and pile them up in a very tall pyramid at the bottom of the steps. I imagined my dad would come down the stairs in the morning and be mortified by the reality of how much he drank the night before.

Or, sometimes, I would find his liquor. He liked to hide it in the toilet tank. I’d pull it out, dump it out in the bathroom sink and put the empty bottle back where I found it. I thought he would see it had been emptied, know someone was onto him and be shamed into quitting.

Some days, it seemed to work and he would drink less. Some days, it didn’t. And those were the days I though he loved alcohol more than he loved me.

Those are the days I tried harder.

Controlling things took away all the anxiety I had from not knowing what was happening one minute to the next. It’s like I had a crystal ball and I could predict the future chaos I wanted to help us all avoid.

I believed I knew the best way to handle things.  So, I’d offer advice to others in the family about how they should be thinking, feeling, and behaving around my dad’s addiction.

Then, I’d get resentful when they didn’t take my advice.

There was a price though.

I alienated people. No one wants to be told what to do, how to thing, feel or behave.

It caused resentment, in me and in others. I got so angry when they didn’t take my advice.

It caused more anxiety.  Life gets complicated when you’re trying to control your life and everyone else’s.

It caused exhaustion. I was freaking tired.

Something had to change. I had spent a lifetime perfecting The Controller Personality Pattern (it’s one of the 8 I teach inside my program LYFE School which is a systematic approach to healing all of this behavior).

At the root of control is fear.

What was I afraid of?

Underneath all of it, I was afraid I couldn’t trust anyone or anything outside of myself.

And the path to learning how to rebuild and develop trust was a long one.


I found several keys to unlocking the door to trust.

Of course, if you want to resolve this relationship issue (that’s what I help people do) send me a private message over at www.LoveCochHeidi.Com

But for now, let me give you 1 life changing Key..

You need to get your of your head and into your body.

While it’s true that you have a built in bullshit detector and amazing intuition, it has been polluted by the scrutiny and cynicism swirling in your head.

I call it the Psycho-logical Shredder. So, you may think you have been listening to your gut. But I promise you, it’s your head. So, find a way to get into your body.

For me, that was conscious dance. There are several modalities. I started with 5 Rhythms. Then I explored Chakra Dance and Journey Dance.

The first time I walked into a conscious dance class, I thought surely I was in the wrong place! I had a million thoughts running through my mind. I didn’t want to look like an idiot!

I had no idea what the Hell I was doing!

“Am I doing this right?”

“Are they looking at me?”

Total loss of control.

The only thing to do in conscious dance is to LET GO.

You learn to trust your body and listen to it. You learn to get out of your head and into your heart space.

Yes. All the things that we wanted to avoid so long ago.


You actually start by learning how to trust the ground to hold you up. Eventually you learn to listen to your higher Self.

I’ve been taking and teaching this modality for years now, and each time I dance, I evolve into another version of me, listening more to my inner self and uploading the divine wisdom Within.

For me, I believe there is a path that incorporates practical, tangible things we can DO that will get us closer to where we want to be in our lives.

If you join us at one of our Within retreats, you will learn these other keys.

Maybe for you, dance seems too much of a stretch. You’re not a dancer or you feel too self conscious.

I get it! I did too. That’s why I kept going back.

But let me give you another Key. Have you ever had someone micromanage you? How did you feel about that?

I know the people you want to control come from a place of love. You want what’s absolutely best for the people in your life. But here’s the truth…

Figuring it out and doing it for others isn’t the most loving thing you can do for them.

The most loving thing you can do for someone is to give them the chance to build their own self esteem and resiliency by allowing them to figure it out.

The next time you’re tempted to tell someone what to do, how to think, or how to feel, stop yourself. The next time someone asks you what they should do, say, “I don’t know.” Even though YOU might!

Then and ask the person, “What do YOU think you should do?”

Then just listen. Wait patiently. It may take time for the answers to arise, especially if they’re used to you figuring it all out.

And now I ask you, out of these Keys, what do YOU think YOU should do?

What’s going to challenge you the most and tale you outside of your comfort zone?

To your growth!

Know your Self

So you can BE Your Self

So you can Love Your Self.




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