Stop Taking Responsibility for Others

Most adults are responsible. They pay their bills, show up to work, and brush their teeth. Some people go a step further and take ownership over others happiness. They are excessively responsible. They feel responsible for fixing others problems and try to make others understand the error of their ways.

If someone is sad, those who take excessive responsibility feel it’s their obligation to make them happy. If someone is upset, they feel it’s their responsibility to calm them down. If two people can’t get along, they feel it is their responsibility to help them see the others’ point of view. If someone is hurt, they feel it is their responsibility to soothe them. If someone is sick, they feel it’s their responsibility to cure them. If someone is having a bad day, they feel it is their responsibility to make their day better.

Parents are responsible for the well being of their children. If they don’t, it’s called neglect. However adults are responsibility for themselves. Yet, many people treat other adults like children and seek to control others behavior and decisions. Often, they try and fail. So why do they do it?

The truth is that adults are imperfect and make mistakes. The fear of making mistakes results in insecurity. Yet, many adults strive for perfection anyways and set themselves up for feelings of failure. This contradiction causes stress in the form of physiological and emotional discomfort. However, we are surrounded by people at work and home who suffer from this painful experience.

We cannot secure their cooperation because they cannot be reasoned with. We feel angry and powerless to do anything about it. In time, we give up on them. We feel disappointed and guilty. Some say to themselves, “Where have I failed,” as if the fault were theirs.

The reality is, we do not know how to solve others problems, we have our hands full with our own. Some make up solutions that ought to work but do not because we do not really know what us best. Still, we pass laws with the good intention to make things better only to find that we have made them worse.

Our self-imposed task of changing them for their own good turns out to be a fictitious one. We are not required to succeed at this self-imposed task, and we are not a failure if we do not. We are worthwhile independent human beings in our own right win, lose or draw. We can take the power to rob us of our self-respect away from them. It is a power we shouldn’t have given them anyways.

Woman comforting friend photo available from Shutterstock

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Shared by: Aaron Karmin, LCPC, Contributing Blogger

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