Don’t Take It Personally: How to Cope with the Emotions of Others

Don’t Take It Personally: How to Cope with the Emotions of Others

In mental health by Tree House Recovery

When people who are close to us are dealing with something difficult, it can be hard to stay in our own lane and stay grounded in our own recovery. Emotions are similar to waves in the ocean — they come and go. Sometimes they’re huge and scary and other times, the water is placid and peaceful. We can’t control the waves. We can, however, control how we react to them. For instance, when we choose to swim near where the waves are breaking, we’re likely to get knocked over again and again. Likewise, if we swim further out, we can flow more harmoniously with the waves, riding them out before they crest. We can even choose to stand on the beach and simply observe the waves as they rock and roll out at sea. 

Friends and family, like waves, have their own sets of emotional rumblings and we don’t need to get whisked away by the intensity of the feelings of others. While it’s important to be sensitive and empathetic, it’s unhelpful and draining to get lost in the sea of emotions and take things personally. Here are a few tips for staying centered in your recovery as you watch the waves of emotion from the shore.

Get Grounded

If someone is reacting in a way that’s triggering or particularly intense, whether it’s at home, in your recovery community, or at work, try to get grounded and find your own calm center. Take a few inhales and exhales and practice mindfulness. Try not to judge the thoughts and feelings of others or your own internal reactions. Take a moment to center yourself before reacting.

Know That You’re Not Responsible for Other Peoples’ Feelings

While it’s important to be a good friend, sponsor, partner, sibling, parent, or child, it’s equally vital to recognize that we are only responsible for our own feelings. Allow your loved one to feel their feelings and try not to take everything personally. You’re both on your own journeys.

Check-in With Your Own Feelings

Check-in with yourself often and with kind understanding. How are you feeling? Are you able to healthfully detach from charged emotional situations? If not, what recovery tools can you employ?


Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon uses cutting-edge techniques in individualized programs to help men achieve freedom from addiction. Taking a holistic, sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently. No one is beyond help- our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at (503) 850-2474