What Part Do You Play?

In a group conversation about the struggles of life that often include intense pressure, personal and professional stress and family, friendship and relationship breakdown (many times involving the chaos of addiction or alcohol related behavior) I was asked; “what role do you play?”

That’s a great place to start all of our assessments.

In the stress of dysfunctional patterns, what’s your part?

Like anyone I could rattle off a long list of experiences (and people) that have irritated, confused, hurt, betrayed, even devastated me.

When behavior is instigated outside your control and is even clearly against you, it’s all their fault…right?

The quest for wellness and healthy living has taught me that while offensive behavior might be clear and apparent, even still there are two sides to every street.  No matter how anyone else is behaving, I still need to tend to mine.

Emotional Intelligence requires us to be self-aware. This awareness is about kind, healthy ownership.

Healthy, effective accountability is the type that gives order to chaos, soothes strife, causes healing, and promotes peace and well-being.

Kind, healthy accountability is the gateway to progress, recovery, and an improved life.

It’s not about beating yourself (or anyone else) to death with faults, errors or weaknesses.  Shaming and criticizing never ignite progress.

The following thoughts were presented to consider:

  • Why do you think you might choose patterns and involvements that end up causing pain?
  • What boundaries can be set to safeguard against the challenging behavior and choices of others?
  • What did you learn from the last person who hurt you?
  • What will you do differently next time?

Taking the time to pause and think these things through is vital for growth.


I once heard a speaker say, “Everyone who aggravates you, you created.”

The thought haunted me for weeks.  I realized I was adding to the behavior of others by carrying it with me long after an offense occurred.

My part was to pursue healing, recover, secure any areas violated and move on in peace.

It set me free to realize that even when someone is being outrageous or nefarious, I’m still responsible for my peace of mind, confidence and well-being, regardless.

You are solely in charge of what you allow and how you respond. 

Believe it or not, that is a learning process for some of us.

It’s not your job to fix anyone, or fight it out over and over trying to change them. It’s your job to take care of you.


I used to shrug off statements about life being all about how you respond.  I would think, surely you have not met members of my personal life, they’re incapable of fairness, or healthy love!

But again, what’s my part?

To love them and to maintain peace and self-control – from a distance if they’re harmful for me.

My role is not to be a part of the problem or to perpetuate drama.

My job is to make choices that protect my peace, as well as the peace and safety of those in my inner orbit, trusting the rest to sort itself out.

For every situation – we have a responsibility to choose wisdom and peace on our own behalf.

No matter how anyone else is behaving, we still have choices to make.


What’s your role in your own recovery?

“Your wound is probably not your fault.  But your healing is your responsibility.” ~Unknown

It is up to each of us to do the work to heal from the effects of life.

It’s not fair to others if we lash out, act out, or behave adversely, pointing to what we’ve been through as the cause.

Whatever has happened to harm you, certainly there must be time given to melt down, mourn, grieve, rage, heal etc…but at some point we are all responsible to recover and rise.

We are all responsible for our own lives.

Kind, healthy introspection is the healthiest point to always come back to. Being self-aware is the power tool for a healthy, forward moving life.

I’ve personally come to believe that functioning from blame is the opposite of being powerful and brave.

My life is up to me, your life is up to you, we’re all responsible for our own lives, which includes recovery, progress, well-being and success.

“Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own.”~Elain Maxwell

Wishing you and yours the strengths of self-awareness and peace.

Still learning,


Author of Unhooked

Book 2: Unbroken, Navigating the Madness of Family Dysfunction, Addiction, Alcoholism and Heartache” coming soon!


For information, comfort, encouragement and support:

Codependents Anonymous

Parent Support

Family Recovery Support