Confessions of a battleaxe

Normally I don't pay much mind to online quizzes, except for a laugh. The Dating Persona Test however really got to me. It turns out that I'm a battleaxe!

One of the more upsetting nuggets:

But it's how you handle yourself in your relationships that gets you the ‘brutal’ tag. Controlling? Imperious? Overbearing? Yes, please.

Ouch. Whereas my usual reaction to these tests is a chuckle at best, I was inconsolable over this one. How could this be so? I'm nice!

And later, why am I upset over a meaningless quiz anyway?

It took a couple days for the reason to sink in. There is something to that title I wasn't ready to see. I can be controlling and overbearing and most times I don't even realize it.

My battleaxe tendencies come from a misguided belief that to get something done I have to be the one who does it. It's not that others are incapable of being helpful or trustworthy. It's because I have developed very specific expectations of how something should look—the vacation destination, grocery shopping, how dinner is prepared.

I often say I'm terrible with surprises and haven't realized why—because having expectations limits what friends and loved ones can do. They have no idea what exactly I want without asking me, and I'm not too helpful even then. I'd rather just do it myself and save us both the trouble.

In my defense, this is meant with no ill will. At some point a long time ago I decided I didn't want to be hurt or disappointed by others so to avoid this I took matters entirely into my own hands. That way, I figured, this would avoid any problems in the future. Turns out, it's no fun for them or me.

First step to recovery is admitting your problem, right? In a way it feels that simple.

Thinking about my overreaction to this quiz allowed me to think about alternatives to my behavior. The answer is in a fresh perpective.

Instead of focusing on my expectations all the time—something not even I can live up to—I relax into the belief that the right things are going to come along without much effort on my part. The key is that these "right things" (perfect getaway, the answer to a question I'm struggling with) may be well beyond my imagination. This perspective requires you to let go of the preconceived and trust that it will be even better as a result. That you don't have all the answers.

Doing this is hugely rewarding for me and the people in my life.

For one, they get to be themselves, to share their ideas with me. Turns out, I really like what they come up with!

It's also less tiring for me—I'm not harried by always having to be in charge, by worrying about what will happen. Sometimes I just get to show up. What a concept.

Finally, this sets the stage for mutual appreciation. The more open I am, the more I'm amazed by my friends and loved ones. And the more appreciative I am, the more they want to hang out, make suggestions, and love me back. The more I get what I wanted in the first place.

With that kind of positive reinforcement, I'm confident that my battleaxe days are numbered.