The most difficult stressor for most of us is other people. We often blame other people for our feelings, thoughts and choices we feel forced to make. Actually, other people are not responsible for any of these things.
The truth is that each of us is responsible for 5 things;

  1. What you think
  2. What you feel
  3. What you say
  4. What you do
  5. What you need

When you give others control over your feelings, thoughts and choices, you feel powerless. That loss of control is the cause of stress. The natural response to loss of control is fight, flight or freeze. It’s no surprise that as more people feel out of control in their lives anger (fight) depression/divorce (flight) and chronic illness (freeze) are increasing.

The number one key to de-stressing your relationships is keeping in mind what you control and what the other person controls. You control everything within you – what you think, feel, and choose. Other people, including your children, have complete control over what they think, feel and choose. You have no control over their inner experience. You can influence others through the way that you communicate with them verbally and nonverbally. //

Remember, you are responsible to others in the context of each relationship. Hundreds of “responsible to” dynamics, but you are only responsible for the 5 items listed above. If you say “you make me mad” it is untrue. The other is responsible for what he/she said or did. You are responsible for your response because only you can control it.

Interpersonal communication is complex, the next few blog posts will focus on providing a few tips that can help you immediately de-stress any relationship