Are you clinging to a painful story about how someone hurt or wronged you?
It’s not easy to detach from a painful story about a difficult person in your life.
It may seem that, by default, your brain replays the awful version of your experience with them every time you remember a particular incident.
Do you blame the other person’s behavior for creating your unhappiness?
It might sound counter-intuitive, but the most difficult people in your life provide the best opportunity to learn the most about yourself.
Difficult people are the catalysts that force you to examine yourself more intentionally.
When you come up against a frustrating situation with someone, it’s time to calm that inner voice which is positive the problem is all their fault. And don’t waste one hot minute chastising yourself in hopes of adopting a more forgiving perspective.
Recognize that there’s something within this situation to help you better understand yourself. The more you’re able to discover about yourself, the better you’ll be able to work on YOU and shift toward a more evolved version of yourself.
When you suspend judgement and engage in any difficult situation with curiosity, it’s so much easier to take a compassionate, open interest in some else. Plus, it’s easier for you to become more compassionate, open, curious about yourself.
When you’re embroiled with difficult people you tend to mirror their attitudes and behavior.
It’s fairly easy to recognize mirroring behaviors on your part.
- Your husband spends time with his aged parents and comes home frustrated, complaining about them. You might mirror your husband by then complaining about him and his negativity. Perhaps directly to him, or to your friends or even just inside your head. You might think, “He shouldn’t spend so much time with them if they upset him so much.” or “Why does he have to bring his frustration home to me? ” or “He shouldn’t be carrying this burden alone. His brother should help out more.” or “I’m tired of hearing him complain about his parents.”
- Maybe you know someone who is really judgemental. You are annoyed with their behavior and judge them for judging other people. Seems like a perfectly natural response. But if you step back and observe yourself, you will notice how you are mirroring their judging, critical behavior.
In some way, whatever is bothering you about them is often a projection of something within yourself that bothers you.
When we think people are difficult, we often show the very same behaviors we find distasteful in them.
Can you find evidence of mirroring in your relationship with difficult people in you life?
Blaming others for your feelings is a sign of emotional childhood.
Figuring out how to handle our feelings begins in childhood.
Children grow up blaming everything in their environment as the cause of their discomfort, their problems and their pleasure.
Parents tell children not to bite, hit or pull hair because it “hurt’s mommy’s feelings.” In reality, what it really hurts mommy’s skin or hair. Then her thoughts about the incident might or might not hurt her feelings. Her feelings are a result of whatever thought she’s thinking about the biting, the hitting, the hair pulling.
Parents tell children to share toys, “be nice,” speak kindly” or else they will “hurt someone’s feelings.”
From a very early age, you were taught that you have the power to cause someone else’s feelings and that they have the power to cause yours.
but the sad irony is that when acting from a place of emotional childhood, you relinquish your power to control your own life.
Thoughts –> Feelings –> Actions–> Results Cycle
Gradually, you are taught, and you learn from life experience, to take responsibility for your actions and your results. However, the linkage to your thoughts and feelings is, somehow, left out of the social education equation.
You learn that actions = results. But you don’t learn that thoughts create feelings which motivate your actions, reactions or inaction.
THIS CYCLE SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND REINFORCED EACH YEAR THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL!
In all likelihood, no one ever explained the relationship between your thoughts and feeling, actions and results, so it’s not surprising that the connection is not apparent to you.
But just like the Law of Gravity, which you don’t often think about but which is operational at all times, so is this think-feel-act-results cycle.
Therefore, living in emotional childhood is usually the default mode from which you respond to your world. It feels natural to blame others for what’s happening in your life. You haven’t absorbed yet that you are the sole creator of your feelings, no matter what another person says or does.
Taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, actions and ensuing results is the definition of emotional adulthood.
It’s often hard to hear and accept that another person isn’t responsible for your thoughts and feelings. No matter how distasteful, abhorrent or down right disgusting their behavior appears to you.
Actually, when you really think about the person supposedly causing your upset and assess how well these people are managing their own lives, do you really want to hand over control of your emotional life to them?
Here’s the best news: If someone else can’t make you feel bad, your happiness is no longer dependent upon them changing to make you feel better either.
When you remind yourself that you are CHOOSING to be annoyed, frustrated or angry at them right now, that’s emotional adulthood.
Keep an eye out for resistance to accepting responsibility for your own feelings.
I know how badly you want to analyze why other people do what they do. Why and how they should change, if not to make you happier, for their own good.
But, it’s a waste of time and energy to focus on other adult’s behavior. You can’t control their behavior, no matter how hard you try. They will say and do whatever they want, regardless of your opinion. That’s their right as humans.
As Byron Katie reminds us, whenever we argue with reality, we lose. But only 100% of the time.
How to let go of the blame.
Take a closer look at the situation that’s bothering you. Write down your answers to these questions:
- Does this person always act this way?
- Just around you?
- Around others?
- Is this a one time event or indicative of a pattern?
Separate out the facts from the thoughts. While you can’t change the facts, your thoughts are 100% optional and within your power to change.
Remember that all we really want in life is because of how we think it will make us feel. So ask you yourself, given these “puzzle pieces”: How do I want to feel? What results do I want in my life?
Then go deeper into your analysis of the situation and ask yourself:
- So what?
- Why is this a problem for me?
- What am I making it mean?
Keep repeating this series of questions, peeling back layer after layer of the onion skin of why you are so angry or frustrated.
Another approach: The four liberating questions from Byron Katie.
Katie teaches how to identify and question any thought that would keep you from from accepting responsibility for your own thoughts and feelings.
So when you are inclined to blame someone for how you are thinking and feeling, check in with yourself with this series of revealing questions.
- Is the thought true?
- Can I be absolutely sure that the thought is true?
- How do I react—what happens—when I believe that thought?
- What would I be without the thought?
Ready for help detaching from the defeating thoughts and feelings blame creates?
That’s why I coach women just like you who want better relationships with the difficult people in their lives.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can relinquish blame and take back your power to live the life you want most.
I’m ready to help you now. Reach out to me right here and tell me you’re ready for a FREE, no-strings-attached strategy call.