Are we not all living with circumstances that are beyond our control, yet pondering on how we can take control of the circumstances? Or perhaps pondering if we had not taken better control in the past? There are many life situations we find ourselves in where there is a loss of control that can potentially impact us more than the actual adversity that occurred. In her article, Grief and Loss of Control, Maria Kubitz wrote about the grief related to her daughter's death. She acknowledged and assessed the loss of control, not knowing if the pain due to loss of complete control was worse than the pain of missing her daughter.
Experiencing loss of control is common in death circumstances. It is also common in other circumstances such as in caring for and witnessing the decline of a close family member to an ongoing, progressive chronic illness such as Alzheimer's, MS or Parkinson's. In cases of mental, neurological decline, there is a slow psychological death occurring. We, as family members are understandably distressed in witnessing decline, wondering if there was anything we could do to stop the progression - if there was anything we may have missed to make it all better.
Coming to terms with the loss of control is a challenge worth taking since with resolution comes relief and a better sense of well-being. In addition we can also assist ourselves by acknowledging and assessing circumstances where we can take control such as advocating on behalf of our family member in assuring comfort and optimum care. Also we can take control of ourselves, perhaps making the changes required to come to terms with the loss of control. As Victor Frankl proclaimed in his monumental work, Man's Search for Meaning:
When we are no longer able to change the situation,
we are challenged to change ourselves.
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