Control Fallacies are when you have a false belief about having too much control over things that are out of your control or when you believe that you have no control over anything in your life. There are two types of control fallacies: (1) the belief that you have no control over your life and that you are a helpless victim of fate, and (2) that you have complete control over yourself, your surroundings, and the feelings of others.
The World is Against Me
The no control fallacy can lead to feelings of helplessness and low motivation. If you feel like the world is against you and there is nothing you can do about it, then you may be falling into the no control fallacy trap. Even in extreme situations where you may have no choices, you still have a certain amount of control over how you approach the situation mentally.
Everything is My Fault
The complete control fallacy can lead to feelings of anger, frustration, disappointment, and shame. The more you try to control things that are out of your control, the more frustrated and disappointed you will be. If you frequently blame yourself for how others are feelings, then you may be falling into the complete control fallacy trap.
How to Release Yourself from the Control Fallacy Trap
The first step to releasing yourself from the control fallacy trap is to identify which of the two traps you are stuck in. Do you feel like the world is against you or do you blame yourself for the emotions of others?
Empower Yourself by Taking Back Some Control (no control counter)
If you are stuck in the no control fallacy trap, it can be empowering to discover that you have more control than you think you do. For example, in states where euthanasia is legal, patients with terminal illness report that being able to choose when and how they die gives them a sense of control over the final stage of their life. If you are stuck in a job that you don’t like and you can’t afford to leave, there may be other areas of your life that you can tweak to improve self-care. At the very least you can reframe some of your negative thoughts into more self-compassionate thoughts.
Find Relief by Letting Go (complete control counter)
If you are stuck in the complete control fallacy trap, it’s relieving to discover that you are not responsible for the emotions of others. Yes, what you do and what you say does impact others. It’s commendable to take responsibility for that. If you are in the complete control fallacy trap, then you are taking too much responsibility for things that are out of your control. Let others be responsible for themselves. Stop blaming yourself for things that are not your fault. Stop trying to change things that you cannot change. If you are struggling with identifying what is in your control vs not in your control, it can be helpful to get feedback from others. As the saying goes: “Two heads are better than one.”