Examine the role that you play in your dysfunction

This is the thing, whatever issue you may be facing now--a difficult relationship with a loved one or with a colleague, hell, a hard time getting through to the barrista who makes your coffee at Starbucks, all roads lead back to you. And so in this journey of yours / ours it is worth examining the role that you play in the dynamic of your life. If you are now being challenged by someone or a situation, take a hard look at yourself. There are two sides--or many--to one story, and it's easy to slip into the blame game without hitting the pause button and asking yourself what part you play in the movie of your life. Are you the enabler or the one who is being abled? Is it the masochist or the sadomasochist, the passive aggressive or the aggressor, the master or the slave--who are you in your various relationships, and is it serving you?

Self reflection is ground zero for growth and taking a hard look at the role that we play in our dysfunction is not only insightful but it is the only road to healing. It is also, by the way, a most difficult road because much of us is required most importantly, that we look at ourselves with brutal and raw honesty. Damn it hurts when someone tells you the "truth" about yourself but it is even more painful to tell yourself the raw truth. To look at yourself in the mirror and admit it to yourself, yup that is where the seed that will lead to your growth lives.

It took me a long time to accept the fact that I was a control freak and after hearing it several times from people who love me, I had to take a hard look at my ways. Dr Judith Orloff does an excellent job as explaining the dynamics of a control freak but they are essentially people who are often perfectionists and who say "If I want something done right, I will do it myself." I used to say amen to that, but no more because a truth I've learned is that that I was not controlling anything, including me. Also by not allowing others to do what I thought I could do better, I was  disempowering them.  Controllers, Dr Orloff writes, often don't only try to control others but are obsessive about controlling themselves.

For me, the healing began when I got to the root of where this sense to have control over everything came from--my childhood. Unable to control very little in hugely dysfunctional family and neighborhood, I grew up thinking that as a grown up, I would be able to control all, not just people, but even the weather! Seriously though, it was false protection that I lived with for a long time but it served me until it served me no more. The most challenging part in my journey thus far has been being comfortable in mystery.

Three ways to self reflection begins with quiet questions you ask yourself:

Listen hard to what you keep hearing from lovers, friends, foes, and coworkers
Are you being told lovingly or not that you are passive aggressive, selfish, a control freak? Check your ego, and do some soul searching. And listening...

Ask a trusted friend to share 
Check in with a trusted friend if you are still not sure that the "accusations" or if the name calling don't feel right. Let this person share and be brave to hear what they have to say.

Be open to what this trusted friend has to say
Ego set aside will only be set aside, but it listens and so you may be hurt but what your trusted friend has to say. Know that no action is needed, just an open heart to hear. Then contemplate and work toward getting at the root of it all one step at a time.

Work on yourself to heal
Above all, we are not static, we evolve, or that's the idea. And do forgive yourself if you have not behaved in ways that weren't your best self. But when you know better, keep doing better.


  1. I know there will be many difficulties and challenges but I am determined to do it. If it does not succeed then it will be a lesson for me as well