Fourth in the series
Notes on Recovery
Our need to refocus comes from realizing the real reason we try to control stuff:
We’re trying to control how we feel.
We’re especially trying to manage anxiety.
Think about it. What scares you most? Criticism? Failure? Rejection? Abandonment? Humiliation? Physical pain or discomfort?
That’s what you feel most compelled to control.
Compulsive means anxiety-driven. Whenever I act like a control addict – for example,
~ hide my real self from other people,
~ hide my true feelings from myself,
~ try to impress, coerce or manipulate others,
~ insist things be done my way,
~ caretake friends or family members,
~ worry endlessly about the future, or
~ try to make my environment just as I want it to be
– I’m being driven by some anxiety about what will happen if I don’t do these things.
Recovery means finding another way to manage this anxiety.
Which is where refocusing comes in.
When I refocus, I shift my attention from Out There to In Here. I redefine the problem from some external trigger (X looks mad) to my own reaction (I’m scared of X).
I step back from that reaction and realize that, to feel safe again, I really don’t need to control X. I just need to change my reaction. If I can do that, X’s anger stops being a problem.
Changing my reaction to stuff is what allows me to stop trying to control it.
Next: The three questions
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Previous posts in this series:
(A sort of preface:) Tricky
3. Plan B