Dealing With Other People’s Issues

It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s lives and frustrations. Think of the times at work when someone’s problem with a deadline becomes your problem or if someone’s in a lousy mood somehow you’re in it as well.

We get caught up in other people’s problems and because confusion is like a web it’s hard for us to stop by for a drink and then head out the door. Instead their web of confusion suddenly has a couch for us to sit on, food we like in the fridge, and without knowing it we’re living a life that isn’t our own.

While we’re living this other person’s life we feel pretty exhausted. Tired because although we are emotionally invested in the other person we can’t do anything about their life.

We can’t help the situation or make any change because it’s not our life to manage.

My therapist used to say that I leaned in too much. And, she was right. I would get caught in other people’s webs easily and rarely see it as harmful to my emotional well-being and also to whomever’s web I was in.

Harmful to me because I was exhausted living other people’s problems and also damaging to others because I was prolonging their issues past the normal stew and complain stage and into saga like living.

I took on other people’s responsibilities to avoid my own.

If I wanted to feel good than it was my responsibility to make that happen.

If I wanted to feel light and free from other’s problems it was my responsibility to make that happen.

If I didn’t want to be emotionally run down and involved in drama that wasn’t mine, well, that was my responsibility to make that happen.

So what can you do if you start to notice you’re getting distracted or caught in other people’s issues?

There are two things that I do, depending on how I feel in the moment + statements I say on repeat.

Thing 1:

  1. Acknowledge the distraction
  2. Ask: How does this make me feel?
  3. Ask: How do I want to feel.
  4. Ask: What action can I do to make me feel this way?

Thing 2:

  1. Ask: What can I control in this situation?
  2. Ask: What can’t I control in this situation?
  3. Ask: What am I responsible for in this situation?
  4. Ask: Am I taking care of myself in this situation?

Statement On Repeat:

  1. I can still care for someone without taking on their responsibilities
  2. I am only responsible for my own actions


If you try out any of the above I’d love to know how it goes.



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