What Are Control Fallacies?
“This is my fault, I should have done more.”
“I can’t control any of this!”
Do you find yourself constantly thinking in one of these ways? Perhaps you find yourself feeling increasingly anxious over the many responsibilities you hold, or feel helpless in the face of life’s challenges. This could be a sign of one of the control fallacies.
Control fallacies are a type of cognitive distortion involving a biased view of our control over situations. We either believe that we are in total control of ourselves and the situations around us (“hyper control”) or have no control at all  (“out of control”).
These mindsets, while falling on extreme ends of the spectrum on one’s sense of control, also stem from past experiences. A mindset of hyper control stems from taking on a lot of responsibility during childhood which results in deep-seated beliefs that everything depends on us. Another cause could be having high expectations of ourselves (perfectionist thinking). Feeling out-of-control can come from experiencing abuse or trauma that we had no way to control or escape from, resulting in learned helplessness (acceptance that we have no control). It could also be caused by low self-esteem or personal insecurities that lead us to feel like we’re not capable of changing anything .
How does it Lead to Stress?
What are the Signs?
Hyper Control — “This is my fault, I should have done more”
Out of Control — “I can’t control any of this”
How do we Manage our Control Fallacies?
In reality, there are factors outside our sphere of control, for example, environmental factors like the weather, or someone else’s thoughts and actions. The only thing we can control is how we choose to react to a situation.
Overcoming the Hyper Control Fallacy Trap
Overcoming the Out of Control Fallacy Trap
As the saying goes, “We believe what we see, and we see what we believe.” Our actions from past experiences might feel like it defines the person we are, but no one’s future is set in stone. Our mindsets and beliefs play a big part in influencing the choices we make for ourselves. Having healthy mindsets in our decisions can make a huge difference to how our tomorrow goes.
“The task is not to control the wind, but to direct the movements of the ship so that it stays on course.” – ‘Learn to Balance Your Life: Take Control, Find Time, Achieve Your Goals’ — Jessica Hinz and Michael Hinz