Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, April 4, 2011

A-Z Challenge: C - The 3 C's

The 3 C's - another slogan from the 12-step programs: I didn't cause it. I can't control. And I can't cure it.
For someone who feels responsible for everything and everyone around her, this was a difficult concept to grasp.

I was an only child and my parents did not have a good marriage - the understatement of the century. They fought constantly. And I was used as a pawn between the two of them. Early on, I decided it my not only my fault that my parents were unhappy, but that it was my job to fix it. I carried that into other areas of my life as I grew up, particularly relationships. If you were upset, somehow it was my fault.

When I began my healing journey, I tried anything and everything to "fix" myself. One of those things was attending 12-step meetings, even though I wasn't married to an alcoholic, my parents weren't alcoholics, and neither was I. But I was dysfunctional. And the 12-step programs helped me tremendously.

What the 3 C's taught me is that a) I didn't cause your problem, whatever it may be. My parents each had their own issues and they brought those problems to their marriage and created their own mess. b) I can't control it. Nothing I say or do can affect your problem. I can't make it go away, I can't diminish it, I can't control your behavior or how you treat me. I can only control myself and my own actions and reactions.
And lastly, c) I can't cure it. If you have a problem, it is your responsibility to deal with it. I can support you by offering comfort, suggestions (but only if you ask me for them), etc. I can't fix it. Period. Stop.
After spending most of my life believing I could fix, not only myself, but everyone else's problems, I am stumped when I can't. This simple slogan helps me remember.



Tabitha Bird said...

That's some great truth right there. I will try to remember this. I have a tendency to want to fix stuff too. I often forget that things are NOT my fault.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Great post! I've been helping my daughter deal with some issues with her middle school girlfriends, and the 3 Cs really apply to her situation. I'll pass it on to her! Thanks!!

Nice to meet another A-Z'er!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'll remember the three C's.

Jules said...

What a powerful 3 word post! Those little sayings speak volumes, if we only listen and repeat.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Jessica Bell said...

You are inspirational, Karen. XOXO

Karen Walker said...

Tab, this is something I need constant reminding about
Nicole, I hope it helps her.
Alex, Jules, and Jessica, thanks

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What's the saying? Wisdom to change the things you can and to recognize the things you can't?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. thanks for following and commenting - and good to meet you here too .. your 3 C's certainly resonate and are too true .. love Diane's comment - pearl of wisdom .. cheers Hilary

Talli Roland said...

Fantastic, Karen. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey.

Gregg said...

Sounds like some very serious advice that would benefit a lot of people! Good post! Glad I stopped by.

Gregg Metcalf
Colossians 1:28-29

Gospel-driven Disciples

Joanne said...

Very "c"lear truths in this post Karen. I think we can all glean something from your words and better understand that we are not responsible for others' behaviors. And as such, no one else is responsible for ours, either. Thanks for sharing.

Misha said...

So true!

And just like the 3 c's are of application on us trying to fix others, they are on us trying to get other people to fix us.

We can't find strength/happiness in other people. We need to find it in ourselves.


Ann said...

Very hard lessons to learn when we have been indoctrinated by circumstances. Well done you for all the work you did to get there. I know these things are ongoing....but you know it and you are applying it. Well Done you again.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Most inspirational pleased I came back today.

Thanks for your comment.

Murees Dupé said...

This is a great post. It is very true and it is good advice that I need to remember. Thank you so much for following my blog. I truly appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

You are very inspiring to me, too, Karen. These are awesome Cs. When we accept these, we find peace. You have, and I have, too.
Ann Best, Long Journey Home

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Wonderful (and hard-earned) words of wisdom. Thank you for sharing. As a corollary, although we can't control another person's words or actions, it is still up to us to control our reactions to them.

Karen Walker said...

Diane, that's the Serenity Prayer you are quoting: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
HIllary, thanks, and cheers to you, too.
Talli and Greg, thanks so much
Joanne, you're an angel. Thank you.
Misha, very true, very true. Happiness is an inside job!
Yvonne, thanks, glad you did.
Murees, you're welcome
Ann, we're a mutual fan club!

Karen Walker said...

Susan, absolutely flat out right on! That's about all we can control.

Ruth said...

I need to follow that. All too often I find myself feeling that my husbands bad moods are somehow my fault.

Robyn Campbell said...

Fantastic post, but maybe hard to write. It looks like you have found happiness and true serenity. Super encouraging.

Madeleine said...

Ah yes it's taken me some years to learn that lesson in various aspects of my life :O)

Lauracea said...

I'm so happy you commented on my blog - it means I found you! I need those three c's so badly in my life now. Thank you for posting about them. You now have an avid follower.

Marjorie said...

I've had people tell me I should try to fix things about myself that I feel are actually part of my nature. Things that became part of my personality when I was so small I can't remember when. I get frustrated when I can't. I suppose I should stop trying to change it and tell those people why it's so hard for me to change those bits of my nature.

Jan Morrison said...

Hi Karen, I think you nailed C! I had the opposite experience of you - I was brought up by people who became alcoholics AND they were great parents. They're both gone now - my Dad just died two months ago and I'm still missing him. I became a psychotherapist so I could work with people who had tough upbringing and the 12 step program is my drug of choice to prescribe! So thanks for your clear vision.
Jan Morrison

AlexOngNYC said...

It took me awhile to realize I couldn't fix my mother. I think I just let go of that this year.

Alex from Breakfast Every Hour was here.

Paula Martin said...

A moving story of your own search for answers, Karen. And you're right - the only thing we can control is ourselves and our reactions.

Grammy said...

Hi, Karen, a great post, and made me realize that I am a 'fixer" as well. I hate to see anyone unhappy, and when I see couples arguing, I want to fix it so they can be peaceful and not haranguing at one another. It makes me very sad for them, and makes me uncomfortable to be around them. You've made important strides in your life, I can see.

KjM said...

Ah yes, the demema of the "fixer" - something I recognize. And it is hard to accept those three Cs - and let go.

I also shudder at the thought of those left in my wake dealing with trying to fix any things I've caused on my way through life.

Great post.

Tracy Jo said...

Love the C's. Thank you Karen!


Melissa Bradley said...

Great C's. Wise words everyone needs to hear now and again.