Your life doesn’t have to be affected by another’s. They can be depressed while you enjoy your life. They can be be bitter, and you can be sweet. They can yell or scream, and you can be calm and reserved. They can hate life, and you can enjoy it. If you’re thinking, “wow. That’s selfish,” then think, if someone is choosing to always be down, should you always be down in the dumps with them? No. You can still love, accept, support, and care about that other person, but your attitude and outlook of life can also become free of their actions/ behavior.
So, how do you do that?
- Learn to recognize when someone’s actions are affecting you negatively. If you feel anxiety, anger, rejection, pity, self-shame, or confusion along when someone’s says or does something, this is a signal that you’re attached negatively. You’ll probably think, “he or she made me feel.”
- Delay the reaction. At first, it may feel impossible to not react. So, the first thing you want to do is delay. Eventually, you’ll be able to stop the reaction altogether, but in the beginning it’ll be a lot easier to delay. You can delay any way you seek fit, but let’s try healthy coping mechanisms.. If you’re in person, count to 10 or 100 or let the other person know you’re going to take a step back for a bit. If it’s through text or online message, distract yourself until you’ve calmed down.
- Examine what happened objectively. There are many ways you can do this. I personally use an ABC diary. An ABC diary allows you to examine your thoughts, which tend to be misconstrued, to realistic thoughts. For a detailed how-to, check my How to Restore Misconstrued Thoughts to Reality blog post. You can also journal, and ask yourself:
- What part did I have to do with the situation?
- How serious was the issue?
- Am I taking responsibility for someone else?
- Am I blaming my feelings on someone else?
- Decide what to do to take care of yourself. Remember to never make a decision when you’re confused, hurt, angry, or anxious. Decisions should only be made when you’re at peace. If you need to step away from the problem for a time, do it. Do you need to apologize? Do you want to let it go? Do you need to have a conversation with someone? Keep in mind what your responsibilities are, and what is not.
[Information gathered from Melody’s Beattie’s Codependent No More text]
Understand that usually someone’s unpleasant actions/ words/ behavior has nothing to do with you, most of the time it’s something going on inside them.
Another thing to note
“The most loving form of detachment is forgiveness.” It’s not about freeing someone else. It’s about freeing yourself from resentment that keeps you attached to “a problem or past hurt… Every time [you] tighten the noose of resentment around someone’s neck. [You are] really only choking [your]self. Today … practice forgiveness instead.” (Courage to Change)