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Other People Is Not Your Problem

Other people is not your problem. You cannot fix others. Really, that’s the truth.

Once I saw a patient I’d call Willy. He’s a very angry man. He’s easily “triggered.”

He shouts at his wife and kids and says hurting words to them. Multiple times, he gets involved in fistfights with neighbors or other drivers during traffic.

“These people upset and irk me, so I’m just giving them a lesson!” he asserted during our Viber session.

What is Willy’s problem? 

Well, honestly, himself. His self-sabotaging reactions. His lack of sufficient self-awareness. And not really other people and their behaviors.

In his difficult journey in therapy, Willy has to understand more deeply why he’s quickly pained, set off, and upset by other people’s behaviors.

Here’s one of the key discoveries he made during sessions: his core problem is really not other people but his historical wound or injury that remains unhealed.

In a Psychology Today magazine, writer Beverly Flaxingtin recommends 4 things to notice when you find yourself overwhelmingly “triggered” by the behaviors of other people.

# 1  Notice your triggers in action.

other people is not your problem

# 2  Notice your “Why.”

# 3  Notice what you want from the other person.

# 4  Notice when you’ve been the wrongdoer.

If you can process these 4 things, among other factors, with a therapist, it can be a highly helpful assist to your healing.

Karen Casey writes on healthy detachment related to this:

“Being detached from someone does not mean no longer caring for them. It does not mean pretending they no longer exist. It does not mean avoiding all contact with them. Being detached simply means not letting their behavior determine our feelings. It means not letting their behavior determine how we act, how we think, how we pray. Detachment is a loving act for all concerned. No one wants to be the constant center of someone else’s life, at least not for long. Two people lose their lives when either one is constantly focused on the other. That’s not why we are here.”

Certainly, in no case should you abandon responsibility for your own choice-making. 

Especially for your own healthy sense of self more than what other people say or do to you.

Again remember, other people is not your problem. You cannot fix others. Only you.


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