While growing up, I remember my mum telling us that if there wasn’t enough to go around for everyone, we were not to bring it out.  I also remember sneaking my hidden bar of chocolate while mum had friends and their children over. Inevitably, mum caught me.  I think she could sniff out chocolate from 100 paces away.  Once discovered, mum would make me share that chocolate around much to my extreme displeasure.  But this life lesson of sharing has definitely made me a less selfish adult.

The Sunscreen Song, made famous by Baz Luhrmann in the late 1990s, has the most incredible lyrics.  Each line a poignant lesson for life.  To highlight the need for non-attachment we are told, “Don’t expect anyone else to support you.  Maybe you have a trust fund, Maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.”  And this is true of anything in life.  We never know when something or someone may leave or be taken from us.  At school in the early 1980s, all of us girls had cliched posters on our walls.  My favourite read, “If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.”  This is another way of teaching non-attachment.

I’ve seen a child being possessive over her stuff, her toys and not sharing with the other kids.  Those other children quickly got bored and went off to play together. Instead of playing happily alone, she got up, left the prized possessions and sought out those other kids.  Company and friends over stuff.  If she had been prepared to share, she could have had it all.  Play time with her toys and time with friends.

My current partner would give anyone anything, within reason.  He is loving, caring and extremely generous.  He has complete trust in me, secure in himself and in our relationship.  He is jealous of nothing and no-one and lives a peaceful life.  He is very happy with all that life offers him and has provided.  At the other end of the scale, I have known a man who is insecure, extremely jealous with a manic need to control.  Anti-trust behaviours, including going through his girlfriend’s phone and computer, trying to stop her from seeing her family and friends, quickly resulted in the relationship failing.  I would imagine that man is lonely, insecure and miserable.

If you recognise possessive and controlling behaviour in others, know this is not good.  Call the behaviour out and protect yourself.  Help your children to share and, if there is not enough to go around or they can’t or won’t share, they don’t bring the stuff out.  If you are in a controlling and dangerous relationship, seek help and get out.  If you see the behaviour patterns in yourself, stop it.

Don’t be possessive.