Why YOU’RE the problem
As harsh as the title may sound, this isn’t so much about blaming (self) as it is about being accountable. Far too often, we turn to blaming other people or circumstances for our mistakes, problems, and failures. However, when you think about it, the one common denominator in every single of your experiences is…you. There’s a saying in the rooms, “Everywhere I go, there I am.”
So, whether it comes to your relationships, the job, or just the everyday grind, rather than seeing problems as challenges as some sort of punishment, it’s time to start looking at the role you play in each of these situations. Stop being the victim by perceiving everything as happening to you and you will realize that you are the one who can make things happen, you are the author of your own story.
After all, that’s what the 10th step is all about, amirite? Being willing – and able – to see our part in things and then taking action to make the situation ‘right,’ or desirable, as it were.
Again, this doesn’t mean to start blaming yourself. That’s still a very victim-y stance to take. By not taking everything personally and taking responsibility, accountability for your life, you are actually empowering yourself.
Let’s use an example. You’re in an intimate relationship and things are going so well. It’s really easy – and quite common – to look to your partner and see what they need to change in order to improve the dynamics of the relationship. However, by accepting that you have 100% of the power necessary to change your relationship, which requires you to take a closer look at yourself, you can make your own personal development a priority, and take specific actions to change your part in the aspects of the relationship that you don’t like.
Lisa Firestone, Ph.D. says, “It is all too easy for people to identify issues in their partners and increasingly difficult for them to pinpoint problems in themselves. Relationships are not easy, and it is natural to worry when the initial sparks die out. As you begin to notice changes in the quality of relating, it is easy to focus blame on negative traits in the other person. But the focus needs to shift away from how to “fix” your partner towards a broader view of how to repair the relationship. The only way to change another person in relation to you is by changing yourself as well.”
Now, this is a change of pace for those of us in recovery. In fact, it’s a HUGE change. So, it’ll take time and practice. Addiction is a selfish disease that hinders us from seeing how we are hurting others and, in our active addiction, we tended to think everyone else was the problem. We were often immature, blaming others, and not willing to see our part in things.
Here’s why YOU’RE the problem and 5 steps to go about changing that.
#1. Break the patterns
Dynamics and patterns can lock firmly in place early on in all relationships, not just sexual, intimate ones. While some patterns are more obviously destructive than others, all routine patterns of interacting and relating to one another can create unpleasant feelings. Being aware and recognizing the dynamics of the relationship allows you to change them by simply not playing the other half—after all, it takes two to tango.
#2. Set Goals
One effective way to start developing healthy relationships with others and with your job/career and so on is by setting goals for how you want it to be and look. It’s important to think about the personal changes you would need to make to reach your goals—and to begin making those changes immediately.
#3. Don’t Simply React
Be aware of your knee-jerk reactions and stop yourself from having them. Work on not being reactive and lashing out – even when you’re provoked. This doesn’t mean you stop having opinions or have to agree with everything your partner, family members, boss says but, that you choose a calm, cool, and collected approach to problems.
#4. Take a Deeper Look
As much as we may love our partners, we are conditioned to project our negative self-image and unresolved pain onto them. The reason we all find relationships painful and difficult at times is because they are the perfect avenue for living out negative feelings and beliefs that we’ve carried with us since childhood. Our defenses, developed to deal with childhood pain and trauma, are not just a factor in how our relationships play out; they also influence our choices in other areas of life.
#5. Break the bond
When we become entrenched in a relationship or a job, or get bogged down with our daily routines, it’s common feel enmeshed with others and situations, finding it difficult to separate ourselves. Basically, we forget to notice where we end and someone else begins. So, with relationships again as an example, the result is a deteriorating quality of the dynamics and how we relate with one another. One problem with seeing our partners as extensions of ourselves is that it makes it much easier to be hypercritical of them in the same way we are hypercritical of ourselves.
Are your relationships suffering as a result of your substance abuse or addiction? Are you on thin ice with your boss or co-workers? It can be difficult to see just how chemicals affect our thoughts and behaviors. Addiction is a family disease that affects more than just the individual who abuses drugs. Help is available to you and your family in the form of treatment that offers a family program. Call us toll-free at 1-800-777-9588 to learn about our approach and how we can help both you and your loved ones.