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Susie and Otto's Love and Relationships Article


Keeping it together when others around you are Losing it!
                                  By Susie and Otto Collins

In our family, we call them "meltdowns." We don't know what you call them, but we're sure you've had some experience with them. "Meltdowns" are when one or more family members just plain "lose it" and get out of control.

This weekend Otto and his 11 year old son Steven spent the entire weekend alone together because Susie was out of town. Steven is with us every other weekend. Because Steven has trouble accessing and articulating his emotions, he has "meltdowns" on a somewhat regular basis.

This weekend, yes, Steven did have one of these "meltdowns" but what happened was different from other weekends. Otto did what most of us do when caught in the middle of one of these dramas. At first, he found himself going into his emotional pattern which is to react negatively to Steven's outbursts.

What was different this time was that somewhere in the middle of all of the drama, Otto was able to go within himself and allow Steven to have whatever emotional experience he needed to have. Otto was able to not take Steven's "meltdown" personally.

This incident is a perfect example of becoming emotionally aware in the middle of a tense, emotionally charged situation. Emotional awareness is the master key to having great relationships or anything else in your life that you want.

Think about the emotionally patterns that you go through when other people in your life have varying degrees of meltdowns. These could be people at your workplace, friends, family or your intimate partner. Do you try to "fix" their problem as you see it? Do you get angry and lash back at them? Do you become emotionally distant? Do you hide? Take a few minutes and think about how you react in similar situations.

We think it is crucial that we all own our own emotions, even when we can't identify them. Sometimes we just don't know why we feel the way we do and it takes some time to figure it out. But it is important to figure it out. It's also important to allow others to feel the way they feel without also being sucked into their emotional vortex.

Steven didn't know why he was so angry at the time of his outbursts. Otto just allowed him to have those feelings without trying to fix it after he stopped himself from being part of Steven's emotional drama. Otto stopped himself from taking ownership of Steven's angst--that somehow Otto was the source of all of Steven's problems. He just allowed Steven to "own" his own emotions.

Don Miguel Ruiz in "The Four Agreements" says, "What causes you to be trapped {in other's emotional dramas} is what we call "personal importance." Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about
"me." Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world."

So this week, we suggest that you "step out of" other people's emotional dramas. That doesn't mean being insensitive or unloving to others when they "lose it" but it does mean staying in your "center." The important thing is to do your own work and allow others to do theirs.


Susie and Otto Collins
P.O. Box 14544
Columbus, Ohio 43214
(614) 568-8282

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