IT’S NOT ABOUT ME, IT’S ABOUT YOU! A Self-Love Recovery Exercise

This video introduces the It’s Not About Me, It’s About You Technique. It is a creative solution in managing one’s insecure and self-love deficit driven thoughts and self-analysis.  Unfortunately, too many people assume what ever angers, disappoints, or annoys another person is their fault.

Codependents, or those with Self-Love Deficit Disorder, especially beat themselves up with a constant barrage of self-defeating, self-degrading and self-criticizing thoughts.  This video explains and demonstrates the power of assuming most of a person does to annoy or upset a narcissists is really not their fault; it is the narcissists!

Before I had done this self-love recovery work, if someone didn’t like me, it ruined my whole day. It made me connect with that feeling of core shame, that there must be something wrong with me. As a codependent, it was this constant barrage that I was not good enough and I was constantly on edge. Sometimes when I was with people who did not like me, and they were narcissists. Or maybe they just did not like – it is not always about dysfunction, at least with this idea.

When I was in my own recovery and I had not learned the lessons that I have adopted and integrated now, I would take it personally. I would look at someone and if they look disappointed, I assumed I did something wrong. I assumed it was something I did or something about me. Then that would bring up all sorts of self-talk. I would get stuck in the self-talk and I would lose myself in it. The ironic twist of this is it impacted not only how I felt, but how I behaved.

When you get stuck in that cycle you start to behave like the person that someone is reacting to and that’s the paradox. If someone doesn’t seem to like you, whether it is because of something you did or they are narcissists, you go into the thinking I’m not good enough. You get insecure, anxious and start behaving that way. Then that person starts to react to your reaction and the cycle is complete. If it wasn’t about you and you were just reacting to a narcissist, you gave proof that there is something wrong with you.

Over time I noticed this correlation, the healthier I got, the more I was able to understand my limitations, embrace them and not condemn myself. The more self-love I had, the more I was able to not let myself get upset if someone did not like me, someone seemed to be upset at me or someone disapproved of me. I began to say it’s not about me, it’s about you.

That statement and the belief of that statement calmed me down. It enabled me to put this situation in perspective. Once we heal the foundational elements of codependency, we do not fall prey to the core shame, we do not actually believe it and we do not think it is about me.

In a simple example, 20 years ago and I am in a new job. I am, like any person in a new job, making mistakes, little bit anxious and forgetting some things. One of my colleagues gets annoyed at me. Back then I would have felt upset at myself. I would have felt that I was not being smart enough or not learning things quick enough. I would try to figure out and change that part of me that seemed to be aggravating that person. Every time I saw that person I would be aware of there’s something about me that they don’t like. Ultimately, I was this codependent, stuck in that quandary of I can only be loved, liked, or appreciated if I adapt to the person’s expectations of me. As every codependent knows, this only makes you more likable to narcissist.

Another version of the same story, 20 years ago. Someone was just being rude and saying: “Rosenberg you are not smart enough and keep making mistakes on these reports”. I start to react to this narcissist. Because he was my boss, I held resentment and anger towards him for being judgmental. I would then be reacting to him in his narcissistic projection of me. It still wasn’t about me. Here is this narcissist, who doesn’t like me for whatever reason and as he is saying I am not good, I am getting angry because he is judging me. I am NOT making the connection it’s not about me it’s about him.

Now, adding 20 years of experience and psychological health to these two situations. In the first scenario, at the new job, making some mistakes and people are getting impatient. The person with self-love abundance, someone who is in a self-love recovery is going to feel upset because no one wants to make mistakes at work, especially the first week. But, he is not going to think there is something wrong with him. He is going to say it’s not about me, I am being normal, I am being the average person, if not a better version because I have self-esteem.

It’s not about me, it’s about him. This is about someone being impatient but since they might have influence and I’m the new guy I’m just going to play the game and let them be who they are. But I am not going to get triggered, feel core shame, or feel afraid that something bad can happen. I am going to know that I am doing just fine and I am not going to lose my job if he does not like me.

I don’t go into this catastrophic thinking, which is very typical of codependents. This is why they are anxious, on edge, and hyper-vigilant almost all the time, especially when they are around narcissists.

In the second scenario, the boss is nailing me on all my mistakes on my reports. Now I have self-love and I am going to know that the boss got some issues. I am NOT internalizing what he is doing to me. I do not beat myself up, or get anxious, or feel like I am in a double bind. This guy is being unfair, and it’s not about me it is about him. I am going to do my best, I know I am good at my job and I am not going to get fired.

My mind does not escalate, or start to get anxious, or start to forget things. Many of us know when we get anxious or scared or paranoid we start to actually actualize a greatest fear. We call that a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am going to get fired because he is finding all my mistakes. You get nervous and anxious and you start making mistakes, and next thing you are fired.

Ross Rosenberg

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT, is an international codependency, narcissism, trauma, and sex& love addictions expert who provides psychotherapy, training and consultation services. Ross is a keynote speaker and trainer, presenting in 27 states and 3 countries. He owns Advanced Clinical Trainers and Clinical Care Consultants, an Arlington Heights IL counseling center. He wrote the best-selling book, "The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us." Ross’s YouTube channel contains 75 instructional/educational videos, which have over 2.6 million views and amassed 24,000 subscribers. He has been on ABC Late Night, a ABC "Swiped" documentary, Fox News and WGN News. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune & Publishers Weekly and he blogs for The Huffington Post, &

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