Tag Archives: fear

How to Conquer Overwhelming Control Issues in Your Life

Taking control, being in charge, lacking trust…
How do you find freedom and relinquish control?

Picture of a locked castle door for the How to Conquer Overwhelming Control Issues in Your Life - The Last Krystallos blog post
Over the years I’ve struggled greatly with control issues. I was anorexic during my teens. Not excessively, but enough to control my weight and keep it low, bordering on an unhealthy level. I felt food was the only thing I had control over in my childhood, and being a perceived fussy eater or anorexic meant I had control. Once I had children the anorexia faded, there were many other things that my mind forced me to control instead.

Severe anxiety, panic, and depression as a teen fed into feelings of helplessness, which expanded into adulthood. It took a long time to understand my own mind, and I’m not there yet! But I do appreciate where my mind has taken me and I understand much more about overcoming the compulsions my mind feeds me.

Dr Martens boots and the image of a woman with elbows on her knees showing anxiety

© Lisa Shambrook

What are and what causes control issues?
Trauma and/or abuse can trigger them. Anything that causes a lack of trust, any betrayal or fear. These emotions can trigger fear, damaged self-esteem, perfectionism, acute sensitivity, feelings of abandonment, panic, anxiety, and feelings of low self-worth. An addictive personality could result in coping with control issues through alcoholism, drug use, and other self-damaging actions.

Are you a control freak?
Do you seek to control others? Do you try to limit others freedom to ‘keep them safe’? Do you have rituals and rules you need to follow? Do you often offer unsolicited advice? Is it hard to admit that you’re wrong, or relinquish control of a situation? Do you need to ‘take over’ or be ‘in charge’ in a given situation? Do you feel you can’t trust anyone else to arrange events without your help? Does giving up control cause you anxiety or panic? Do you micromanage everything in your life? Do you over analyse?

If you answered yes to several of these, you may have control issues.

Control issues which result in curtailing others’ freedom can lead to bullying, gaslighting and very unhealthy relationships and you should seek help before anyone else is affected. Domestic abuse is often a result of unhealthy levels of control, and if violence – physical or emotional – is present from either partner help must be sought.

If you find you are micromanaging your family, becoming too overprotective, or becoming increasingly critical, it is time to search for answers and help.

a fairy trapped within a cage

© Lisa Shambrook

Many of us have personal level issues and the only people we hurt are ourselves. This can lead to self-harm, addictions, and OCD. I have never been OCD, those that truly suffer Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have a very serious condition that does not lend itself to the societal mocking it’s often given. I used to think I had OCD tendencies, but if people really understand the condition no one would ever joke about it or take it lightly. I have control issues, which can be part of OCD, but is its own problem.

My own control issues have surfaced as harsh levels of personal control. I have self-harmed, felt immense guilt, and judged myself. Like with my anorexia, I put limits on myself, hurt myself, and throttled my own self-esteem. It’s difficult to turn around from self-destructive behaviour, but that’s one thing I’ve been working on for many years. I have seen changes.

closed rusty doors in a brick wall

© Lisa Shambrook

When I was a young mum, I would limit my own happiness, being sure I didn’t feel happy unless the rest of my family were happy and well-looked after first. I refused to replace my own broken shoes until everyone else had new shoes first. I would let my own food get cold while everyone else ate straight away. I wouldn’t allow myself to do fun things while my husband was at work, because I wasn’t out working myself. I permitted myself to feel guilt but not contentment.

At thirty-three years old after a sexual assault I sought help. I’d spent my childhood being the ‘good child’, being ultra-aware of my family’s emotions, feeling responsible for my parents’, especially mum’s, happiness, and putting myself last. I went into my first relationships with the same issues, and didn’t learn how to put myself first until I went into therapy with a sexual health therapist in my thirties. I switched, but it took a good decade before I was able to put my control issues into a box and close the lid.

moss trapped within a glass sphere as a necklace

© Lisa Shambrook

How do you overcome control issues?
I have spent the last few years relinquishing control. It’s been good. As my children reached their teens I learned to step back, to allow them space. It was horrendous in my head, but both revealing and essential to them. My children have a strong sense of self and their worth, and are adults with healthy confidence and lives.

Sometimes my issues seem foolish. For instance my mind often told me that I could choose one thing and once chosen I had to stick to it. Change was something I struggled with. I laughed this week as I spoke to my daughter about the hot chocolate I drank at home. I recently switched from dairy to plant based and embraced almond milk on my cereal and in everything that needed milk. The only thing I wasn’t happy with was my hot chocolate. I make homemade hot chocolate, and almond milk wasn’t working. Bekah told me to switch to soya milk for it. My mind told me I’d chosen almond milk, why on earth did I need a change? Yep, this is my mind… I bit the bullet and bought soya milk. I had a carton of both almond and soya milk in the fridge. It felt decadent – and wrong. Lol. Anyway, I am sticking with both. My hot chocolate tastes so good with soya, but my cereal better with almond! I let go.

the scree and sides of Cader Idris mountain

© Lisa Shambrook

Letting go is the answer.
have learned the art of Surrender. I am learning it. Control is rooted in fear. Surrendering, or letting go, is allowing yourself to release or confront your fear. Don’t worry about what will be – Que sera, sera… Accept what is and what will be, deal with outcomes as they happen, and let yourself relinquish control.

I am letting my husband completely organise a trip away for the two of us. Ten years ago I would have needed to be involved in every decision, every booking, every tiny thing. I would have micromanaged the whole thing. Right now, I am for the first time, enjoying going with the flow, throwing in my ideas, my desires, but allowing someone else to make the decisions, plan the trip, and take me away. It’s liberating!

The other week I wrote about letting go It’s the best thing to do!

You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway  –
Steve Maraboli

How do you deal with control issues? Can you let go?  


Monday Mixer: That Sinking Feeling

bog, swamp, water, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

The dread is interminable. It lingers like the endless stink in the soggy mire and Charlie’s eyes boggle, the whites widening as his fear builds.

The pervading mist combines with the constant dribble of rain and hides him from view. He shakes his head and tries not to whine, tries not to whimper and tries desperately not to cry.

Charlie’s hands are full. In one hand is a book, and in the other a bag. In the book is a full account, an account of everything; an account of every tiny thing, every moment, every little detail of every single transaction. In the bag is money, just money, but he grips it like his life depends on it.

In his present situation the value of the items is debatable, but he grips them anyway.

The cold, seeping water now spreads across the thin, cotton material stretched across his chest, and as he sinks deeper into the sludge, his whimpers finally turn into the practiced sound of a mad dog’s howl.

He is no dog, and as the real dogs pick up his scent, he wonders if it’s better to be caught, or better to just let nature take its course

(200 Words)

0. Monday Mixer

Yay! Jeff Hollar’s Monday Mixer is back…nine words (three nouns, verbs and adjectives) choose a minimum of three and create a flash fiction piece of exactly 200 words.

I decided in for a penny in for a pound – and threw in all nine! Prompt words are bold in my piece. If I haven’t ruined it by throwing in a past tense noun, then we’ll see…anyway hop over to The Latinum Vault and see what everyone else has written!

Running Away and Coming Back Again…

People deal with stress, anxiety and panic in different ways.
I’ve always been a runner
and not in the sense of pounding the streets in Nikes with a stopwatch.
I run. That’s what I do. When it all gets too much I run.

running away and coming back again, Lisa Shambrook, the last krystallos, running away, escape, coming home,

The two main responses are Fight or Flight. I fly. I don’t do confrontation – I avoid it all costs. So much so, that I barely ever answer my own telephone. My initial reaction to anything that makes my heart pound is to run. Even love caused me to run a mile, which hubby discovered after only two weeks. As soon as real emotion got involved, my poor heart fluttered and panicked and I was gone. I hid, refusing to answer the door, or the phone, remaining cowered inside my heart until I pulled myself together and accepted that I felt the same. Thankfully he hadn’t given up. Now twenty-three years later, he is, and always has been, my rock.

drapetomania running away, drapetomania, the urge to run away, the last krystallos,

Drapetomania © Lisa Shambrook

My default setting is to escape, and it’s been that way since I was young. I avoided people, lost in books, writing and drawing as a child. The necessity of school meant I had to run the gauntlet of social activities. I was the quiet one, the shy one, the one in the corner. I didn’t stand out surrounded by myriad friends, but the friends I made at school loved me for who I was.

I ran from school several times. Right out of PE – I ran. After assembly – I ran. I ran with a pounding heart and the desperate urge to flee. I ran with blind panic, with anxiety bubbling inside my chest and with no thought of consequence except escape.

From fourteen I suffered depression, and it reared its ugly head with a breakdown at eighteen. My coping mechanisms crashed and after running for so long, I simply stopped. Getting diagnosed with Post-viral Fatigue/ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – CFS) masked the depression, and allowed me to stop running.

Then I met Vince, my rock. I married young and moved to Wales. If that’s not running, I don’t know what is… Three small children kept me busy and finally gave my life reason. I escaped the CFS after a decade, but my depression and anxiety remained. It took ‘til my thirties, an assault and another breakdown before I faced my demons.

And I run til the breath tears my throat The Alarm Rain in the Summertime

Rain in the Summertime – The Alarm – Meme and Photo © Lisa Shambrook

The reasons behind my running emerged and got confronted. The first time I’d confronted my demon, the person I confided in wept, and I comforted them. Then I continued running.

I’ve run from home – just upped and left. I’ve driven away, miles and miles, with no intent to return.

I’ve dreamed, and planned, and run.

I always wanted to escape.

But there was never anywhere to go – so I always came back.

Coming back taught me things. I learned that running doesn’t get you anywhere. It takes you away, it provides emotional distance, but it doesn’t fix a thing. I learned that antidepressants have their place, but they don’t offer solutions. I learned that talking was the only way to move ahead, but the NHS denied me that option. I learned that trust was earned and that the only people who offered me that were already close. I learned that I had value, that I was someone worth loving. I learned to rely on and trust my husband and my children.

They saved me. 

I learned that support is much more than a network, it’s real friends, real people who offer tangible love. I learned that one friend noticing and recognising a self-harm scar can ultimately save your life. I learned that to value yourself, you must love yourself. I learned that when you can’t trust or lean on society, then lean on those who love you. I learned to value myself enough to accept help.

dandelion clock, wishes, lisa shambrook, the last krystallos,

Wishes in Bluebell Woods © Lisa Shambrook

When you feel that life is too much, don’t suffer in silence, talk. Talk to anyone who’ll listen. If you can get professional help, do. If antidepressants help, take them. Try not to run, but if you do, always remember those you can trust, those who love you, those who need you. 

Thank goodness for those you can come back to.

For help with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression see your GP or Health Provider.

Beneath_the_Old_Oak_front_cover_finalRead more of running away in ‘Beneath the Old Oak’ available in paperback and eBook on Amazon and Etsy.

‘Turn those dreams of escape into hope…’ Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too? Meg’s life spirals out of control, and when she mirrors her Mum’s erratic behaviour, she’s terrified she’ll inherit her mother’s sins. Seeking refuge and escape, she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak. A storm descends, and Meg needs to survive devastating losses.


Flash! Friday: The Ending

1896 Olympic marathon. Public domain photo by Burton Holmes.

1896 Olympic marathon. Public domain photo by Burton Holmes.

Mama told me to come away, to come back inside, but I couldn’t.

The first ones ran.

I stared, from my perch on the broken fence, as they hurried past, their concentration on the dusty road and their footfalls, not on me, a grubby child by the wayside. They ran so fast even my blistered legs curved below my torn skirts failed to move them. I winced as I changed position.

There were more, still running, always running, kicking up dirt and ash in clouds behind them as they hastened on. Then they slowed and I stared. Sunken cheeks, dull eyes, scorched rags, and blistered skin…like mine.

He was one of the last, walking, dragging, mumbling and stinking of anguished sweat. I backed away as he reached my fence, and I stared with mistrust in my eyes and escape in my legs.

“War is over,” he slurred. “War is over, my child…”

Tears streamed as my eyes met his. “Papa?”

(160 Words)

0. Flash! FridayFlash! Friday…150 give or take 10 words on the prompt photo above including the word War…some of these are brilliant!


Love Bites 2014: No More

Love Bites 2014 200 Pixels Badge for Blogs

As one of the hosts for Love Bites 2014, I feel compelled to join in and write, even though my entry is inadmissible…so here is my story on Love Gone Bad, Bad Valentine and Cupid Screwing Up His Shot:

Hair Gold

Photo by Lisa Shambrook
(Please do not use without permission)

No More 

She clamped her mouth closed, biting on her lower lip to keep it from trembling. She gripped her loose dress, clutching a handful of printed flowers adorning the soft material in her hand over the pit of her churning stomach. Brows furrowed above wide, hazel flecked eyes and she flinched as spittle and words sprayed across her face.
His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down in his throat as he swallowed and scowled at her. She glanced away as his glare speared her, but her neck snapped upwards as he grabbed and pinched her chin between his thumb and forefinger.
Her tooth pierced her bottom lip and a bead of ruby grew spilling inside her mouth.
The veins in his neck stood out, pulsing to match the throb of the vein that tremored on his forehead. His nostrils flared and his eyes bulged as she met his stare.
She swallowed hard, blood leaving a thick metallic taste on her tongue. Fear seeped through her bones, a cold sweat blooming over her alabaster skin.
“Don’t you ever look at another man…” he sneered, alcohol tinging his breath. “You’re mine.”
She shook her head, leaning back against the wall as sweat prickled her skin. She closed her eyes, unable to stare into his any longer. His finger and thumb gripped tighter and slid down her smooth neck pinching her windpipe.
“If you do, you’ll never look at another man again.” His words swam inside her head. “Not ever.”
Inside her brain latent emotions kicked in, supressed desires and hidden urges took hold. For too long she’d given everything to this man, to this pig, and as fog coursed through her mind her mouth dropped open, trying to gain breath. Blood from her bitten lip trickled onto her tongue and her skin tingled.
Desire swayed through her body, she arched and she licked her lips.
“You like that do you?” he smirked, “A bit of rough, well I can give you more of that!”
She fought the urge to vomit as he leaned against her, his body hard and obvious. His spare hand dropped to his belt, loosening it as he grinded against her. “That’s more like it…” he leered, releasing her neck and winding his fingers in her golden mane. His lips crushed hers and her eyes flashed open.
She stiffened and pulled her hand away from her stomach, wedged between their bodies. She swallowed again tasting her blood and her vision blurred as the flavour lodged inside her brain. She turned her head, letting his slobbery lips slide across her cheek, and as he breathed in to release the zip on his jeans, she opened her mouth against his neck. His breath rasped and caught as her hand moved down his thigh, and he pushed harder.
A smile tickled her lips. “No more…” she whispered.
“Uh?” he panted, sliding his hand through her hair, and trying to shrug out of his trousers.
“No more…” she murmured against his stubbled neck and sank her teeth into his bulging jugular.
“No more,” she whispered as she wiped the blood from her lips with the back of her pale hand. “No more,” she breathed, sated and full. She grabbed her leather jacket, zipped it up, flung her golden hair over her shoulder and stepped out into the chill of the night. “No more.”

(559 Words)

There are four more days left to write your own story…go write yours and link up here!
Have fun with Cupid!


Blues Buster: Not From Here

My Blues Buster for The Tsuruoka Files…written for the prompt song: ‘I’m Not From Here’ by James McMurtry.

Not From Here

Rain stings my face, tiny pinpricks in the swirling wind. My elbows press tight against my side, my lower arms at right angles, tense, hands outstretched. The wind whips through my hair, and I dare not lift my hand any further to brush it away, so it remains stuck to my cold, wet cheek.
I open my eyes and squint at the panorama.
The city spreads before me, grey and distant. The tall buildings, the banks and offices, rise, as rigid as my body, towering over the streets and its inhabitants. Smoke coils from the government buildings, huge billowing clouds of soot and ash, and my lip curls.
I yearn for the rolling hills of green and a clear cerulean sky as I stare at the city below. I don’t belong here.
My toes claw inside my trainers and my arms shoot out from my side as a vicious gust of wind whistles past. I lick my lips and close my eyes. My heart races, my eyelid twitches, and my chest constricts. My mouth is dry and I can barely breathe. My frame sways and my leg muscles stiffen, my feet desperate to grip and I almost lose my balance.
I open my eyes. The undulating meadows of my childhood are as lost as this city and I would no longer belong there either.
My fingers stretch out as sirens permeate my fractured psyche. I stare at the cars moving aside in slow columns as fire-engines snake through the narrow streets, and people, strangers, swarm like ants, and I let my tears fall as biting as the rain on my face.
The wind picks up again and I lurch, my heart in my mouth. Sweat oozes beneath my thin shirt and I shiver.
Beneath me, chains clang against metal, the sound vibrating up the steel, tickling my feet through the rubber soles of my shoes. I want to fling back my head and scream, let my howl echo across the flat overcast skies. I don’t move.
The scream bubbles in my throat and dies upon the desert dryness of my tongue. I blink, no longer seeing the burning city below, but just a blur of tears and rain.
The girder rocks beneath my feet and my arms steady me as the wind shrieks its rage winding round my legs. The hook shakes under my feet and the jib arm sways. I teeter.
My mind reels and my heart sinks slowly to the pit of my belly. I let a smile curve on my lips and now, light-headed, I lift my arms, embracing the city as flames lick the horizon behind the business quarter.
I welcome this final moment, a moment of belonging, and then the gale that feeds the flames below whips my legs from beneath me and I fall. Maybe, this time, I’ll end up where I belong…

(479 Words)

5. Blues Buster Not From Here

Photo manipulation
by Lisa Shambrook
(Please do not use without permission)


Visual Dare: Precarious

A thin line runs between safety and peril, a narrow path between hitting the right or the wrong note.
Sadie’s thumb throbbed as she stubbed it whilst closing the kitchen cupboard. She took a moment and cocooned it in her hand, clasped to her heart then she continued serving up dinner.
Sadie’s thumb rubbed up and down her arm as she held her arms across her chest, and watched Alec eat. Her eyes followed every mouthful and she studied his hands as he gripped his knife and fork.
Sadie’s thumb moved lightly across her lips as he pushed his plate away and leaned back in his chair. He smiled, and she scooped up his plate and hurried to the kitchen.
Sadie’s thumb tapped nervously on the edge of the sink as she rested for a moment, relief flooding her tension. Today she is safe.

(144 Words)

Written for Anonymous Legacy’s Visual Dare Week 25: Precarious.
Go look at the other great stories!


Flash! Friday: Salvation

Having a go at Rebekah’s Flash! Friday #22, 150ish words on the prompt photo:


Fear ignited every nerve in their strained bodies as they waited. Defensive clothing wouldn’t offer a jot of protection once the firestorm invaded their sector.
“We’re not going to make it…” Aaron’s father’s voice cracked through the muffled layers. “Not this time…we’re not gonna make it, son.”
Aaron squeezed his dad’s hand, and despite their huge, padded gloves, tears spilled behind the older man’s visor.
Ahead, the billowing, angry gasses stretched for hundreds of kilometres, destroying everything in its path.
Aaron shifted his weight, hopping from one nervous foot to the other, watching the sulphurous clouds dance in violent malevolence on the horizon. He glanced up at his dad’s resigned, slouched shoulders and pulled himself up straight. “Don’t lose hope, he’ll be here.”
 A voluminous pillar of cloud whirled up before them and his father groaned, but Aaron grinned as vast wings swept up from beneath the cliff, and salvation rose in glorious dragon form.

(155 Words)


Five Sentence Fiction: Midnight

Image by Bekah Shambrook (Please do not use without permission) 
She shivered violently as fear chilled her to the bone, and her heart pummelled her rib cage as the reassuring murmur of the television downstairs ceased. 
She pulled the covers over her head and breathed softly, her hot breath creating a claustrophobic atmosphere of suffocation beneath the duvet.
The landing light clicked off, pipes clanked as the central heating went to bed and she surfaced from her cocoon. Frigid midnight air chilled her face, lacing her mind with frost, and she stared with wide eyes into the blackness of her bedroom.
She gathered the duvet tight around her shoulders and waited, hiccupping with portentous tears and resignation, and when the demon arrived there was nothing left but silent despair.
Check out more amazing writers at Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction.