You Are The Problem

Code For Cash

We all experience some drama and confrontations in life. Typically, when these are the rare occurrence, they are out of our control. However, if they seem to be happening all the time or in almost every relationship, friendship, or job then the problem is not likely to be external.

A corollary to the Dealing with Difficult People episode, when the difficulty follows you around no matter where you go then you need to look at yourself for the source of the problem. It is difficult to admit that you are the problem. A lot of introspection is required just to recognize that it is not external. Then humility to accept that you are the problem. Finally courage is necessary to tackle the challenge of overcoming yourself and improving.

When you recognize that you are the problem and are able to accept it then you are able to make the changes necessary to fix it. Don’t think of this so much as you being broken and needing fixing but more as you have developed a pattern of maladaptive behaviors that need to be adjusted and changed. The focus here is on self-care and improving your life by improving your relationships and the way you treat others. Next time you find yourself in a heated debate or in the middle of some drama step back and look at your own actions that lead to where you are. Ask yourself what you can do to change. Look back on these tools to help you find where and how to make those changes.

Episode Breakdown

Knowing the Problem is You

Unhealthy patterns of behavior can indicate that you are the problem in a situation. At various times in our lives we are likely to experience or express some of these. One or two every now and then isn’t an issue. It’s when they form a pervasive pattern that you know you might be the problem.

Unhealthy View Of Self

You do not take responsibility for your own problems and faults. You are never to blame or never at fault for anything. There’s always a way to find someone else to take responsibility. You alienate other by never taking responsibility for yourself. This drives a wedge in friendships and relationships.

Friends and coworkers are afraid to be honest with you. People in your life are not able to say anything without you losing control. They do not feel they can be honest with you without getting yelled at about it. Likely they will hide things from you because they don’t want to deal with your rage.

You see problems as external to yourself. You are not part of the problem or issue in a relationship or friendship. No one is completely guiltless when it comes to relationship problems. You however don’t see yourself as part of the problem but the victim of circumstances.

You sabotage yourself and your relationships. This occurs mostly from overthinking or overdramatizing conversations, especially confrontations. Self-sabotage causes problems in otherwise healthy relationships. You create self-fulfilling prophesies where you place a negative motive on a normal behavior. Then when the other person is defensive about their normal behavior you “know” it is for other reasons.

You self-loath or are not happy with yourself. You despise yourself or aspects of yourself but can’t admit that you feel this way. A lot of times this leads to being intolerant of similar flaws in others. It is normal to have aspects of yourself you want to improve or change. Self-loathing is taking it to the extreme and feeling emotionally sick when you think about it.

Unhealthy Relationships

You have a lot acquaintances but few or no real or close friends. People like to hang out with you but not get into deeper conversations. You may have made efforts to make deeper connections but they don’t last. When you start getting closer to people the back away or all out ghost on you.

You have real, identifiable enemies. Unless you wear a cape and your underwear on the outside you shouldn’t have real enemies. Enemies are people who are actively trying to sabotage or bring you down. Most people you may feel are your enemy are more likely just selfish and don’t even care about you. It’s normal for people to come in and out of your life or to outgrow or grow in different ways.

Worse than having enemies, you have…frenemies. Frenemy is the portmanteau of friend and enemy. They are people with whom you have a close relationship but don’t actually like each other. Unless you are Taylor Swift, you shouldn’t stick around people who you don’t like.

Unhealthy Arguments/Disagreements

You bury the hatchet but leave the handle sticking out. “Bury the hatchet” is an American idiom for moving on after a conversation. By leaving the handle sticking out you may have dropped it for now, but intent to bring it up later for ammunition in another argument. This is basically bringing up past wrongs that are unrelated to the current argument. Without forgiveness any relationship you have will begin to fall apart.

You employ the “silent treatment” to get what you want. This is known as stonewalling. Basically you refuse to talk, either about the problem or to talk at all to the person. This is more than just “time to process” or collect yourself, it’s an act of vengeance on the other person. By refusing to discuss an issue you are not resolving it and become the problem.

You are unable to accept fault or blame when you do something wrong. You lack the ability to say you are sorry after doing something wrong. Instead of taking ownership of your own faults you blame them on other people. You cannot let anyone know that you are less than cool, calm, and collected. Finger pointing and the blame game rule your life.

Your goto response is negative. Your default answer to everything is “No”, before even knowing what it is about. Relationships, be they romantic, friendships, or working require a give and take. However, you tend to do almost all of the taking, refusing to give even a little.

Unhealthy Balance of Work

You have become a fair weather friend or coworker. You only talk to friends or coworkers when you want something. Conveniently, you are not around when they need something from you. It likely didn’t start out like this, and there are times when one person takes more than they give. You are a problem when you stop giving and only take.

You get others to do all your work. It’s easy to fall into the role of only being a taker. The role applies across the board from work duties to relationships to housework. You are sitting around asking others to do things for you all the time and not doing anything in return. This can lead to resentment: from you for them getting stuff done and from them for you not working.

You resent others for taking advantage of you. The opposite of being a taker, you give too much. You give and expect a return even when you are not asked to give. Resentment can also come from not taking enough and feeling like you are unappreciated.

Unhealthy Love For Drama

Drama has become the regular, not the exception. Your life is full of rapid emotional roller coasters. Life is not a sitcom, it doesn’t need a dramatic arc in it. Life isn’t without drama, but it should be the rarity, the exception.

You toy with people and create drama for your own enjoyment. You don’t just experience drama, you thrive on it. You feel that if you’re not in the middle of some drama you aren’t passionate. It seems like you need it just to feel alive. This tends to burn through friends so you don’t have many lasting relationships because of it.

You habitually rethink, review, and rehash prior conversations. You constantly overthink conversations, actions, and things people say to you. By breaking them down and over analyzing you add to the truth meaning that isn’t there. You may even draw others into a problem that doesn’t actually exist.

Gossip and talking behind people’s backs is your default. Instead of confronting a person you passive-aggressively talk about them to others. You lack the maturity or skills to be diplomatic. Also you may lack the discernment to know when to confront someone as opposed to when to let it go. Instead of letting things go you complain or rant to others about them.

You use the phrase, “No drama”. Guys/Gals if you are dating online, this is a major red flag. Using this term screams the opposite of what you are saying. If you find yourself saying this examine your life, you are likely the cause of the drama. Even if you actually are attracting the wrong people, take a look at yourself and ask why you are attracting what you don’t want.

Accepting You Are the Problem

Acceptance is a large step toward recovering from being an unhealthy or problem person. It takes a lot of humility and introspection to be able to accept and admit your role in the way your life has become.

Accept Your Role in Relationships

Realize that you are blaming others. Ask yourself when was the last time I took the blame for something? If you can’t think of a time then you should start looking for times you were wrong. Likely you couldn’t or wouldn’t see it at the time that you were to blame. This means accepting that others may not be the only problem.

Realize that for things to go well in a relationship, both people have to be a part of it. This is usually the case when things are not going well. Admit to yourself that you have some responsibility in it.

Get a realistic view of how much work you are doing compared to others. At work this is easier because you are likely using tracking tools and can assess your performance. Look at commit histories and the difficulty of tasks you take on. Do you consistently take on the easiest tasks possible or do you share the work load? In friendships and romantic relationships this can be more difficult to assess. Look at a large section of time as there will be times when one person does more than the other, that’s just natural.

Accept Your Role in Confrontation

Recognize and admit the times you bring up the past so you can work toward fixing it. Watch out for thoughts about what happened in the past when in a disagreement. If you catch yourself thinking, “I’ll save this for later to bring up and win.” then rethink how you are arguing. Forgiveness is a powerful healing tool. Part of forgiveness is not bringing up past wrongs. This does not mean you allow someone to continue abusing you, that is not what this is about.

Accept that you are the one avoiding situations and conversations. Not responding is a response. It’s a passive-aggressive means of putting the other person on edge. Realizing that you are not responding because you want to control the situation is difficult. You have to ask yourself why am I not saying anything, or avoiding this person or situation.

Accept Your Drama Llama

Understand the times you add to drama and step away to assess. This is very hard to do in the moment, especially in heated moments. To start off you may need to look back at times where you added drama to a situation and look for patterns in your behavior. Then have a trusted friend or advisor notify you when you are expressing those behaviors again. This will help you to start to recognize your own behavior so you can start to make changes.

Check your conversations about other people not in the room. Are the life affirming conversations. “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything.” Make an effort to only speak positively about others and see how difficult it is to have conversations. If it is very difficult then you know that you have a problem and need to work on yourself.

Fixing the Problem

Fixing yourself is a matter of changing the behaviors that you have built into habits. These behaviors are your default responses to certain situations. We cannot control other people or situations so to no longer be the problem you have to adjust how you respond to them.

Response to Relationships

Learn about love language and how others express and receive love. Words of affirmation is using words to encourage and support. Gifts, especially thoughtful ones, show appreciation and that you are thinking of the person. Acts of service is doing something for the other person that you would not normally do. Quality time means giving the other person your undivided attention. Physical touch is holding hands, hugging, pats on the back, etc.

Start taking responsibility for your own actions. Take the idea of “fault” out of the equation and focus on what you can do to solve the problem. Be careful with this and take the blame for things where you caused the issue or harm. Don’t take the blame for things you did not do or things that did not cause an issue or harm.

Response to Confrontation

Forgive and move on from wrongs done by others. Bury the whole hatchet including the handle. If you are in a disagreement stay focused on the problem at hand. Do not bring up the past. Your point of view will be better received when well-organized and concise.

Talk to others about what you are feeling instead of going silent. Avoid stonewalling those who care about you. Slow down and figure out what happened right before your emotions became so heightened. Take a little bit of time to work through the problem and then calmly discuss. You can be silent and avoid it while you are processing, just make sure that you address the situation once it is processed.

Response to Doing Work

Take on more difficult tasks at work, around the house, or in other situations. Re-balance the workload so that you are doing a significant amount. At first you may need to do a little more than your share to “catch up” and help reduce resentment. Focus on sharing the workload and using each person’s strengths to balance the work.

Make an effort to reach out to friends or invite coworkers to lunch or social events. Instead of always being the one to accept or decline invitations, invite your friends out. Check in on them and ask how they are doing without expecting them to listen to you drone on and on about your life. Practice active listening skills to not only hear but understand what they are telling you. Reach out to coworkers, it’s easy to get into a rut and only have lunch with the same people or by yourself.

Response to Drama

Don’t respond immediately. Take time to think about your reply. This will help to provide perspective and some emotional distancing. One way to do this is to run your response by a person not involved, just avoid gossiping and stick to the facts. Also avoid waiting to reply as a form of control such as with stonewalling.

Think about how you come off to the people around you. This can be difficult to take in because you likely have a particular self-image that might not be accurate. The best way to find out how you are perceived by others is to ask someone. If you don’t trust anyone enough then think about how you would feel if you were the other person in an interaction with you.

Ignore or stay away from people who are part of the rumor mill. Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into gossiping. This may mean changing who you spend your time around. If people start gossiping or talking about others you can politely excuse yourself and leave the situation. You’ll be surprised how people stop doing that around you and how happier you become.

Book Club

Remote Work – The Complete Guide

Will Gant

Chapter 3 Misconceptions About Remote Work. There are a lot of misconceptions around remote work, most of which you’ll hear in the first months of working from home. Whether it’s people thinking that you are not actually working, that you sit around in your pajamas, or that you are available for things such as childcare, pet sitting, and random visits, a lot of self-serving mythology around remote work exists. In this chapter, Will debunks many of the most common things you will here about remote work with the intention of giving your more ammunition for discussing this with other people.

Tricks of the Trade

Sometimes the problem with the code is the person behind the keyboard. It may be that you’ve been looking at the problem too long and need a break. It may be that you are trying to solve the wrong problem. Whatever the case, taking a step back and examining yourself will lead to solutions you didn’t even think about before

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