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Taking Things Personally

Old 08-22-2007, 09:16 AM
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Taking Things Personally

I feel like a forum hog or something for starting all these posts. Just been trying to explore alot of my thoughts lately without judgement and am eager to find out the opinions of other wise ones on the boards.

Taking Things personally - I think this is a codie behavior, but it is one that I suffer from greatly. Learning to separate is hard. Seems my inclination is to ALWAYS attribute someone's foul mood, lashing out at me etc. as an indication of some defect in me, some mistake I made or something I did that was wrong...
I read the Melody Beattie piece on "our property" and am reminded of the need to separate.

I think that taking things personally is also another tool that our inner critic/codie side of us uses to keep us down- tell us that things will pop up all over to remind us of the bad things about ourselves.
It has taken a CONCIOUS effort for me to lasso my reactions and reel them in, BREATHE and try to untangle the mess of MINE and HIS.

As I often relay here- there is still that part of me that still thinks that all the hurtful things he said, his neglecting and what I felt to be "abandoning" me was due to a defect within ME and not necessarily the drug usage.

Just another thread I wanted to open to see how others deal with minding their own business and not taking things personally. Seems like a fine line.
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Old 08-22-2007, 09:58 AM
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You talkin about me?

What did I do now?

It is a tough habit to break. Been told for years while growing up... you are this, you are that, why can't you do this, why can't you do that. As a child I was molded into the habit of blaming myself. Once I started to realize that those around me...no matter how perfect they may seem or how right others think they are... we all have issues and some are sicker then others. As I start to understand where others are coming from and why they do what they do, I started to realize...Hey I am ok. I am not who others think I am... I am who I am and if my actions are ok enough for God... I don't care what others think.
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:59 AM
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I think what helped me to understand that the A's behaviors were not about "me" or at "me" was when I started attending Al-Anon meetings. I realized that there were hundreds, thousands, millions of people just like me. I met these people, I realized how wonderful, intelligent, beautiful, witty, loving, caring, compassionate, and giving these people were and guess what?

Their alcoholic/addict loved ones did almost exactly the same thing to them that mine had done to me. That's when my eyes began to open up to that it wasn't about ME - it was about a disease. And MY disease caused a certain reaction in me and those wonderful people that I met in those rooms of recovery had almost the same reactions.

Just the ways we were all affected.

Took me a while to grasp that - but it has helped me in understanding that the A's actions are really not about me.
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Old 08-22-2007, 11:14 AM
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anvilhead nailed it.
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Old 08-22-2007, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by HKAngel24 View Post
Taking Things personally - I think this is a codie behavior, but it is one that I suffer from greatly. Learning to separate is hard. Seems my inclination is to ALWAYS attribute someone's foul mood, lashing out at me etc. as an indication of some defect in me, some mistake I made or something I did that was wrong...
I read the Melody Beattie piece on "our property" and am reminded of the need to separate.
Heather--I really wish you would spend one day outside of my brain!!! J/K You have no idea what a comfort as bizarre as this might sound to know that I am not the only one. I try so hard to be "thick skinned" and it is nearly imposible for me to handle. I do the same and then take it to the enth degree in then not only trying to help them, but if the thing really DOES have to do with me, pushing my feelings to the wayside to assuage the other individual. I am the poster child for "Don't mistake my kindness for weakness" Trust me, it's not a cute poster!!! Day by day I am learning to stand up for myself more. it takes so much time a effort that I am quick to just fall back in to my own habit of being seen and not heard. But honest to god, I am really not a fan of living in the shadows anymore.
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Old 08-22-2007, 02:57 PM
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I just have to remember that the world does not revolve around me...and I mean that in a good way. I am simply not so important that everything said or done by the 6 billion people on this planet is some kind of personal indictment against me or endorsement of me. I'm not the center of attention and I don't want to be.

I am fortunate in my unfortunateness. When you have Very Bad Things happen to you, stuff like people being verbally abusive tends to find its proper perspective....IT BECOMES A REFLECTION OF THEM, NOT YOU. What kind of person would say such things to a quiet and kindly person like me? An addicted jerk. Period. It's hard at first to mentally shut the door like that; there's always a foot in it. But with practice it gets to be second nature.

As a card-carrying codie, I had to make a checklist for when someone tries to undermine my self-image: Are they holding a weapon? No. Are both hands around my throat? No. Are they threatening to kill my child/dog/sea monkeys? No. Good then -- they can keep talking all they want. It's not about you when they open their mouthes. Imagine them as white laundry flapping on a line way down the block. Practice this in your head: "I'm leaving the room now, and my HP and I are going for ice cream. Don't forget to turn off the lights when you're done. If you think you might want to have a grownup conversation some time, call my voicemail and leave a message." Practice, practice, practice.

Love for yourself conquers all.

(((HK)))

GL
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:17 PM
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I have to agree with GL on this one, as hard as it sounds. Boy, I need to work on not taking things so personally as well. It's a terrible habit, and I know I shouldn't do it, but somehow I feel like I have to fight to defend myself. The funny thing is, why in the world should I have to defend myself? From what? Like GL said, they are not threatening me, my family, or my possessions... so what in the world am I running from?

Life will get easier for me when I quit feeling the burdens that come with being so sensitive and worrying so much. Maybe we can work on these things together, just one day at a time.

*hugs*
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:49 PM
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Here is a story (so let us all gather round the campfire for an Elana Story... ):

When I was in High School I felt ugly. I wanted STRAIGHT hair even if it couldn't be BLOND and STRAIGHT. The POPULAR GIRLS all had straight hair and mostly they were also blond. I thought it was all about looks.

I spent money straightening my hair. I spent time.. hours.. on my looks. I was always making sure my hair and me was not out of place. This was the early 70's..

The ONLY time I relaxed any of this was when I did things with my horses or dog or cat or when I worked on the farm or went hunting.... The rest of the time I worked very hard at fitting in.. hiding my artistic talents.. trying to BE LIKE THE POPULAR GIRLS..... and working on my looks.

I figured when I saw a group of kids laughing or talking it was about me.. and I was NOT popular (but I DID get along with everyone and I never recognized this unique and good part of me until later in life.. I wasn't MOST popular but I could fit anywhere).

Anyway.. that was HS.. Now fast forward to College. First Semester. I drove to school to save money (lived at home) and worked on the farm. I hunted. Well, opening day of deer season found me skinning my boss's deer and time ran on.. I had to get to school and ALL I COULD DO WAS SHOWER AND GO!!!! OMG.. My HAIR was a MESS!!! OMG OMG!!! I was stressed..

so, I get to class.. and immediately I get TWO COMPLIMENTS ON ME HAIR. Next class, similar results.. compliments. I KNEW it was only different from how I normally looked.. not better cuz it was a MESS....

By the end of the day, it dawned on me. Honestly, I was never really noticed. I changed the way I looked (by default) and they noticed the CHANGE.

From that day forward I recognized my PLACE in the universe. I am not at the top nor at the bottom. I am squarely ME. I decided on that day to NEVER waste HOURS trying to MAKE my looks perfect again. NO ONE WAS LOOKING THAT HARD.. they were all looking at THEIR OWN REFLECTIONS, not mine!

Ahhhh.. sweet relief... and since then (age 18) I have taken care of my looks but I never again obsessed about them.. and when I saw a group talking or laughing I KNEW it was not about me.

Learning this lesson set me free. I stayed free on this one thing, in spite of my alcoholic husband and in spite or my XABF.

I am a grain of sand on the beach. I am pretty much the same as the other grains of sand to anyone looking at the beach. The thing that makes me different is my attitude about me, not others perceptions of me or my perception of what they think of me.

With recovery I am a happy grain of sand. I do just fine and that is truly good enough!
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Old 08-22-2007, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post
if it were true that people spent a lot of their time with ME on their minds....or if it were true that i was indeed the reason for another's bad mood.....or when i walked into a room and the conversation went quiet because they WERE using their precious time engaged in discussions about ME.........that makes ME pretty powerful doesn't it? converse to the theory that always worrying what others think and if i am somehow responsible is a way i keep myself a step down, it's actually a twisted little ego trip......thinking it IS somehow all about me...........the harsh truth is i'm just not THAT important, even people very close to me have a lot else on their minds, and rarely am i the source or the cause for whatever they are thinking, doing or saying.......
lol, isn't that the truth. My friend and I joke about this, I have a problem w/this also, and she'll say not everything is about you Done!!

I'm like for someone who worries so much I do think I'm awfully powerful in everyone else's head, Thanks for that reminder. I needed to hear that, as I haven't talked to that friend recently because I think we both are taking something personal
that we shouldn't be, lol.
(((Anvil)))
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Old 08-22-2007, 08:19 PM
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This is still a hard thing for me to deal with. As logical as I can be and as much as I learn about addiction, I still have a hard time not taking things personally. I don't react like I used to but heck, I still feel like a victim of the addiction and it does hurt.

The difference now is that I don't hang on to it like I used to. I was so full of this hurt before that I couldn't get past it. It's sort of like a good cry, I take the hurt, stew it around for a bit and then let it go. I also try to imagine that my AD is just another person when she says nasty things and I just shut her off.

It takes time but it does get better to deal with. I don't think it ever really goes away but it gets better and takes less out of you.

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Old 08-22-2007, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by HKAngel24 View Post
Seems my inclination is to ALWAYS attribute someone's foul mood, lashing out at me etc. as an indication of some defect in me, some mistake I made or something I did that was wrong...
...As I often relay here- there is still that part of me that still thinks that all the hurtful things he said, his neglecting and what I felt to be "abandoning" me was due to a defect within ME and not necessarily the drug usage.
.
To me, this is a boundary issue. If we have a boundary, we don't allow anyone to cross it.

Like the property you mentioned, no one but you owns your property. You are responsible for your property too. You keep the lawn watered and the roof fixed. You have a gate on that property that you allow others to come through.

Others have their own property for which they are responsible. No one else is responsible for anyone's property but their own.

If you start to water your neighbors property, I am sure the neighbor will begin to expect you to do it all the time. Then, they will eventually get so used to you doing it that they begin to complain about how you water their property. (All the while, they should be watering their own property.)
And, in the mean time, your lawn is turning brown because you're too busy with his lawn.
You let your own beautiful lawn turn brown from lack of care. Soon, you're spending all your time on someone elses property and not tending your own. Your roses are dying and the flowers are dried up.

You need to go back to your lovely property with the rose trellises and daiseys, and water your own lawn. Pick up the trash and most importantly, THROW IT AWAY. Dump it right back in to his lawn.
Now you can get your property back to where you want it and where your property remains a place you are comfortable with, a place you love and a place that brings you peace.

Llike I said, for me it's a boundary issue. He's crossed the boundary left trash and you picked it up. You even watered his lawn. You started resenting it, and feeling hurt that he didn't help you with yours, instead he kept dumping trash on you lawn.
Next time, stand tall, give him a trash bag and tell him to get his trash off your property and that he can no longer dump his trash in your yard. He can take it to the dump where it belongs.
Then hand him the hose and let him water his own lawn.


I just read through what I typed. I hope it makes sense!! I just worked 12 hours and I am blind tired.
Take care.
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Old 08-23-2007, 07:56 AM
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I love that analogy Wabbit- thank you.

Sadly though it seems at times I WANT to water his lawn - purely because I want control over where our relationship goes and inadvertently needing to be constantly reassured of his spbriety and commitment to recovery and our relationship.

So, taking things personally can be sort of a pity party for me, but also operates in a way that leads me to try to exert more control over someone ELSE'S situation.
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Old 08-23-2007, 04:40 PM
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HK, I am impressed that you can admit this. It's a giant step forward, really. If you can recognize this behavior you don't like in yourself (a character defect) then you can learn to change it.
That's the beauty of alanon.
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