Monday, 17 September 2012

Taking responsibility

You are NOT responsible for other peoples emotions - is a lesson that keeps coming up for me.

So maybe I should listen, right?

This lesson came up in Assertiveness group.  It's actually a really scary thing to take onboard.

If I am not responsible for other people's emotions, then they are not responsible for mine.  So the freedom of giving up the burden and blame of affecting others is given with one hand, then taken away with another.

The reason I felt the need to write about it, is that taking responsibility for your own emotions only, is very empowering.  As I said the freedom, the room to move it gives you is great.  It can take the heat out of arguments, it reduces guilt.  Guilt is something I weighs down on my heavily, so anything that reduces the load is worth a go.

It's a big shift though,  I find myself relearning this lesson over and over.

In our house now, our arguments now start with

Mr Brown:           "You make me angry when you ........"
Me:                      "No - I don't make you feel anything!"

In fairness that winds him up even more.  I have learned to apply this to Mr Brown quite easily but not to anyone else or myself.

When I do take responsibility for my emotions I end up saying it in a sarcastic voice.

"I feel angry because ...." (how do you write in a sarcastic, whiny, stupid voice?)

So although I am saying the words.  I'm not quite believing it, if that makes sense?  The light, sarcastic tone takes away from owning the feeling.

You may be thinking as Mr Brown does, hang on a minute it is what the other person did that made me feel like that.  Well people can definitely push your buttons, they may know how you feel about certain things and use this in situations, but you always have control in how you act.  It doesn't always seem like it, but we all have a choice in our actions.

It may not feel like a conscious decision to start shouting, or stomping or huffing ( ps I'm making our house sound like a nightmare, it honestly isn't!)  You do though, it may have become an automatic reaction but you do choose that behaviour.

The CBT approach teaches us to become aware of the thinking behind our behaviours and how we can change that.  So the more I practice, taking the time to choose how I want to react.  To take responsibility for my emotions, my actions and my behaviour.

I can look back and my brother and me have been shirking responsibility for a long time.  If anything went wrong, I'm thinking about accidents and breaking stuff, we would race to my mum and shout the fastest and the loudest
It wasn't me!
Funnily enough round about the time this song was out!

This would happen a lot.  Honestly it was a race to plead your innocence as quickly and as clearly as possible!  Even when we hurt or upset the other person, this logic still applied.  Deny your involvement.

So as I approach 29 years of age, I start to learn a new strategy.  It was me.  I feel, I own this emotion.

Do you blame others for how you feel?

Love Mrs Brown xx

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