Control and responsibility
In a previous letter we touched on the concepts of control and responsibility. Let’s dive a little deeper into these important ideas.
If you ever find that someone’s behavior is “driving you crazy,” slow down and consider the possibility of control problems on your part. Did you know that you might try to control another person and not even be aware of what you are doing? It is very possible. In fact, this is a common dynamic in relationships that involve drug and alcohol abuse. However, this dynamic is often found in other relationships as well. It is something you need to know and understand to avoid bad relationships and increase your ability to develop good relationships.
Does it bother you when you hear someone gossip? Does it bother you when someone acts like they are better than others or if someone is rude? These things can be aggravating, but if you remain irritated longer than most people, stop and consider the possibility of control problems.
When you are upset about someone else’s behavior, it is usually because they are not behaving in the way that you think they should be behaving. You may know what the person is doing wrong and what he should or should not do. It may be clear to you that the person’s behavior is harmful. If they just did what you say they would be so much better. You want to help this person and it drives you crazy that he doesn’t listen to you.
Remember that you cannot control another person. You can make suggestions, but you can’t control the person and make them behave the way you think they should. In fact, the only thing you can control is your own behavior.
Part of your discomfort may be because you feel responsible for the other person’s behavior. You may feel embarrassed, almost as if it’s your behavior. Think about this: if you can’t control someone else’s behavior, how can you be responsible for that behavior? You are not responsible. You are only responsible for your own behavior. You can only control your own behavior. If someone else chooses to gossip, be rude, or abuse drugs or alcohol, remember that they are responsible for that behavior, not you. You can’t force them to stop because you can’t control them.
What can you control and what are you responsible for? You can only control one thing and you are only responsible for one thing, which is your own behavior. So what can you do in these situations?
First, it helps to stop and think about the situation when it comes to control and responsibility. You’re upset If you’re upset, is it related to someone else’s behavior? Were you in control of that behavior? Were you responsible for that behavior? If not, drop that burden. Take the weight off your shoulders and feel the relief! It is always helpful to clarify what you are and what you do not control, and what you can and cannot do.