Can You Take a Sense of Responsibility Too Far?

While some people shirk responsibility, others do the exact opposite: assume responsibility for everything that happens in their world. If you’re one of those people who accept 100% responsibility, it’s generally a good thing…but not always.

The exception is when somebody or something is impacting your mental health and feeling of well-being, but you aren’t even fully aware of it because you’re in denial about the whole situation. You may think you’re being responsible by not getting involved or downplaying the impact of the negative person or situation, but, in fact, you’re in denial to maintain a positive view of things.

When it comes to a person, it may be particularly hard to be fully present to the truth of the situation if the person happens to be a family member. Sometimes, too, you might be in denial about a toxic relationship with a boss, spouse, or friend. When it comes to things, you could be in denial about foods you eat, your sleeping patterns, or your stressful job.

Let’s take a look at how an attitude of taking 100% responsibility for everything could be forcing you to turn a blind eye to situations that you need to exit, voice, or mitigate in your life.

  1. An Addiction in the Family

If a family member has an addiction, you may deny that they are crumbling under the impact of their addiction. Instead of admitting what’s going on, you simply dismiss their behavior by saying something like “it’s just a passing phase, they’ll get over it.” You are so close to them that you can’t see what’s going on. In a crisis like this, you need to set aside your unbounded optimism and find a way to help them handle their dire situation. If they are addicted to alcohol, you have to find out how to help an alcoholic from a drug and alcohol counselor and then plan a family intervention.

  1. Toxic Relationships.

If you have an overly critical boss, a brooding spouse, or an excessively needy friend, then turning the other cheek may have helped you to cope with their low moods and carry on getting your work done or fulfilling your role in their lives. Unfortunately, things aren’t going to change if you continue to deny what’s going on. By over-functioning, you’re letting them get away with under-functioning. In other words, you’re enabling their behavior through your own assumed good humor and patience. The solution is to either try to change them or get out of the situation if they are unwilling to appreciate your point-of-view.

  1. Unhealthy Eating.

On the surface of it, eating comfort foods can seem like an act of self-love, taking care of yourself when things aren’t going your way. Unfortunately, too many cupcakes, ice cream treats, or salty potatoes chips will make you gain excess weight and become increasingly unhealthy. The solution is to get to the root of the issue that is causing you to seek comfort foods in the first place.

  1. Insufficient Sleep.

If you’re a hard-working person with lots of responsibilities, then you may not have enough time in the day to get everything done. You may, for example, be putting in long hours at work or coping with the demands of being a single parent. As a result, you go to bed late and wake up early. Sleep deprivation can cause all sorts of problems. You’re more vulnerable to having an accident, less likely to make good decisions about important things, and more likely to get ill because you’ve compromised your immune system. It’s essential to find ways to reduce your workload, ranging from doing less to delegating more work.

  1. Stressful Jobs.

In order to stay on top of the bills, you may be working long hours at your current job or working several jobs. While you may be responsible in terms of staying on top of all your obligations, other aspects of your life will suffer. You have to either find ways to earn more money or ways to reduce your expenses. Unless you find a way to become more aware of the stress and anxiety that comes from working too much, your health will suffer.

In the final analysis, the word “responsibility” is highly nuanced. You may assume you’re being responsible by assuming a good attitude, but, in truth, you’re in denial about what’s really going on. You may also be responsible in some areas, but due to insufficient time or energy be forced to be negligent in other areas of your life. Notice where things aren’t working for you in your life, redefine your responsibilities, and review what options you can take.

 

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