It Turns Out My Ego Is A Problem

It Turns Out My Ego Is A Problem

Courage To Change — November 15, 2019

Today’s reading will run counter to most self-help information in today’s world. At least, counter to most advice that’s not genuinely useful and productive. See, most of the time, the suggestion is to look after your own needs first, and then take care of others. It can be summed up as ‘look out for number 1’ physically, mentally, emotionally. To some degree this is a good approach, but I wonder if it’s being taken too far sometimes. When I was just starting out in recovery, even before I met my wife and started this circus called a family (no negativity intended, it’s just crazy around here on a regular basis), I was trying to take care of myself and my needs in this process. I learned that it was okay to put my needs before others, but I took it too far. I went all the way to the other end of the spectrum, and when I got there and did some work on me, it turned out my ego is a problem. In fact, it was so much of a problem that I had to swing full span back to the other end before even starting to understand that there was a middle ground where people could exist.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

So onward to Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 320 in “Courage to Change

I used to feel very hurt if anyone gave me an angry look, spoke in a harsh tone, or didn’t speak at all. I’ve grown up enough in Al-Anon to realize that the look, tone, or mood of another person toward me often has nothing to do with me. It generally has more to do with what is going on inside the other person.

So why do my feelings still get hurt? It occurs to me that extreme sensitivity is a form of conceit – I think I am the focus of everyone’s actions. Am I so important that everything that goes on around me must have something to do with me? I suspect that attitude reflects my vanity instead of reality. And vanity is simply a defect of character that I am working on changing.

With Al-Anon’s help, my sensitivity to all that happens around me has greatly lessened. I try to ask myself, “How important is it?” When I do carry the hurt, it only hurts and controls me.

Today’s reminder

Other people are important to me, and sometimes their opinions matter, but I may be taking something personally that has nothing to do with me. Having opinions of my own about myself lets me accept other people’s thoughts without being controlled by them.


“It was through going to meetings and the daily readings of Al-Anon literature that I awakened to the fact that what other people did and said reflected on them; what I did and said reflected on me.””

Living with Sobriety

Alleged Insight:

If there is one over-riding compulsion that I have to work against in my everyday life, this is it. I have so many examples to choose from, but those are not entirely my story to share, as others are involved. Suffice it to say that I have a problem in taking upon myself other’s feelings and then run with them. If they are upset and anxious, I become anxious and upset. If they’re grumpy guess who gets grumpy? It’s maddening to know this is happening, it’s challenging as hell to do anything about it. I am feeling crazy right now, and it’s a bleed-over effect from the slightly manic and anxious feelings my wife was having getting out this morning. I’ve made her feelings my own and now I’m damned near out of control.

It’s hard living this way. I often need to get away. But I haven’t been away and alone for some me time in so long that I can’t remember anything but this chaos I am living in. Unless two minutes in the bathroom counts as ME time, then I am always on deck. Working, fathering, social engagements, volunteering, never a moment of down-time. Hell, as I type this, the 2 yr old is melting down, the four-year old is screaming in the back of the house, and my school-aged kids are generally just not doing anything unless they get directly confronted about their lack of activity.

I have been up since about seven ( a late start for me ), but it’s been a constant grind all morning. On a bright note, I managed to get a shower, with only four interruptions during the five minutes I was in the shower. I suppose that’s a good thing right? Almost spoiled, a full shower with only a few interruptions.

How to change gears? Mindfulness? Gratefulness? Living with intention?? Cognitive Behavioral focus? What will work?

Let Go and Let God is the starting point here I think. Now, having rambled this much to the detriment of my family situation, it’s time to get back to work. My five minutes of recovery work (not nearly enough today) is done and it’s time to go break up the fights again.

Closing thoughts:

Recovery is not for the faint of heart. Parenting is not for the meek. Life is what you make of it, and at the moment, I am feeling like making (and then eating) all the cookies.

We will eventually be alright, but for now, it’s a matter of trying to start at the edge of the mess and see if we can’t create a beachhead against the tide of chaos and mess that has been winning since day one.

Take care out there, and I’ll pray you make it back.


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