When They Remind You of Someone Else: Connections that Create Chaos

MarilynDavisatTIERSStarred Page By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 21st Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Recovery & Coping

Association is a connection between thoughts and feelings about someone that are projected onto another individual. We are not always aware of doing this, we simply meet someone and either like or dislike them; yet if you think about that, it really makes no sense – we do not know the new person.

Six Degrees of Separation?

Some connections do make sense, a person looks like your Aunt. You might even tell the new woman that she reminds you of a relative if how you feel about your Aunt is positive, however, if your connection to your Aunt is negative, it is unlikely that you will say, “Gee, you look like my Aunt and I think she is awful.”

Connection aren’t just about looks; it may be a tone of voice, an accent, a smell, postures or other subtle triggers create this association or reminder.

Gender Is not the only Issue in Association

These connections are also not always gender specific. For instance, if you had a mother who did not demonstrate her love physically; no hugs or pats on the back, she might seem reserved, cold or aloof. Now you have a new boss, who seems unsociable, unfriendly, and distant.

Your immediate reaction to this individual is dislike and depending on how you have resolved your issues with your mother, you might play out scenarios or have some of the same distant unapproachable feelings and attitudes with your new boss in much the same manner that you do with your mother.

The unfortunate aspect of this is that your new boss has no history and is working from a script that is solely in your mind. He is not unfriendly, he is nervous; he has taken a job, moved his family 3,000 miles, is unsure of his skills and his responses to this is to try to remain calm. Yet, your association perceives this as distant and unapproachable. Do you see how these connections can create false impressions and chaos?

“When I compliment you, I compliment myself, because I am who I associate with.” ― Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale. While Jarod Kintz is amusing in his comment, most associations are negative and not always about a particular person, sometimes a title. For instance, you are in substance abuse treatment and you do not like your counselor. You have tried to see who they remind you of and you cannot come up with anyone, male or female; but you just do not like the fact that they are pointing things out to you that need to change.

What does this person’s job represent to you – authority or someone who will embarrass you? Sometimes our connection is to a label or title; like the principal in school when you got in trouble, or when someone broke up with you for your actions – did they lecture you? Often the association will be negative.

What Do You See and What Do I See?

Octavio Ocampo is one of Mexico's most prolific artists; known for his wryly sardonic, sometimes evocative paintings in which detailed images are intricately woven together to create larger images - the optical illusions fading back and stepping forward as you study the pieces, notice the details, and finally recognize the large-scale intention.

Often our perceptions of people are like the illustration, some see an elderly couple, and others see the younger version. When our perceptions and connections with people are negative, it is sometimes a good idea to ask other people how they perceive the interaction between you and the person you are having difficulty with at this time.

Connections are Everywhere

People in your process groups, court proceedings, meetings, work and family gatherings are all places where these connections and associations play out. If you do not like what one person says to you, reflect on what your reactions would be if it were someone that you liked? Would you process the information differently? If you said yes, then there may be an underlying association here. What about the people that you ignore or tune out? Does an association prompt disinterest?

What are You Missing When You Associate Negatively?

When you choose to tune someone out, you do not know if you missed something helpful, authentic and genuine; you judged the messenger instead of waiting for the message. The opposite of that is true as well, you may like the messenger; however, their information is incorrect, outdated, or worthless.

Another way to determine if there is association is to reflect on how you know you would react if someone else said the same thing to you. You can then decide that a more positive person is telling you something and drop the association.

If there is an association or similarity, remind yourself whom you are interacting with, and then name the new person, or you can reference this from the opposite perspective with, “I am not listening to” and then name the associated person. It can help to break the association with someone from your past when you deliberately and intentionally refer to the person in the present.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Sometimes the association is actually with you. For instance, you have made a lot of effort to be honest and stop manipulating people in your recovery. Then you meet someone that lies, is manipulative and seems to get away with these unhealthy behaviors. You do not like the behaviors at all, and in turn, begin to dislike this person.

Part of this association is the subtle competition that you can set up.

You know how good you were at lying and manipulating. You believe on some level that you were better at the self-defeating behaviors than this new person is, so you consciously or unconsciously think that you would show them if you reverted back to your old ways. This can set up some self-righteous thinking on your part. “I’m better than they are because I could act like they do and I choose not to.”

You may be experiencing some jealousy.

They seemingly get by with behaviors that you know are harmful to others and to themselves. Or you may think that you are grateful that you are not acting that way.

If you reflect on the association about the behaviors, and realize that those behaviors are what you have changed, it can allow you to be helpful to the person by sharing what you have done to change these same behaviors. In 12 Step based recovery, this would be putting principles before personalities, or being helpful to people even if you do not like their actions.

The other benefit to coming to terms with association is that if you can begin to have a better relationship or improved communication with the new person, you can try the same actions with the person they remind you of and possibly improve that relationship as well.



How Your Recovery Can Help Others

Each person has a unique perspective on addiction and recovery. Writing about your experiences may just be the encouragement that someone else needs to recover. Consider writing on Wikinut to spread the word that recovery is possible. Your story may just be the encouragment that someone needs to embrace recovery.

For additional articles on Addiction and Recovery by Marilyn Davis


Credits
Six Degrees: Wikimedia Commons
Gemini image: Microsoft Clip art
Old Couple/Young Couple: Wikipedia
Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down and Man Looking Within: Pixabay

Tags

Addiction And Recovery, Addicts And Association, Association, Early Recovery Lessons, Recovery From Addiction, Reminders Of Someone Else

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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Comments

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
21st Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Steve; thank you for the moderation and star. I appreciate both. ~Marilyn

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author avatar snerfu
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

Hello Ms Marilyn Davis at Tiers, True effort is worth a thousand rainbows and I would certainly settle for one in my sky. Nice to hear your voice and your thoughts.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

Good evening, Snerfu; thank you for the kind words. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

Associations do mean a lot.I would say more, but my keyboard keeps disappear ing. Better luck next tims

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Phyl; that is an unusual thing, I think. Should be an article in there somewhere - the mystery of the disappearing keyboard. Leave it to you to figure out the details....(she smiles) ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Oh what a dreadful comment to have left! I kind of remember that day. I'm hoping if I complete my backlog tonight, whatever problems that were occurring cease. And I'm on my laptop now, so fewer problems -- whew!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Good evening, glad you're back up and running.....good articles will come of this, I know. ~Marilyn

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

fascinating this Marilyn...sometimes an instant aversion to another could be past lifetime memory!!! same for instant delight....I have done both so do talk from experience...

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
22nd Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Carolina; interesting perspective as usual. Past has many definitions and reacting from those associations can create chaos or healing in this time. Thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
23rd Jul 2014 (#)

This can be a very real struggle for so many to contend with Marilyn .
Thank you for pointing out the possible root of the problem ... this makes it easier to recognize and hopefully confront .
Many blessings to you
Stella ><

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
23rd Jul 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Stella; thank you for reading and that observation. I appreciate your addition to the article. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
4th Aug 2014 (#)

Thought provoking, Marilyn. When I was young, the older people were stern to the extent of ordering the younger around but they had mostly good intentions. Now, some are quite diplomatic and that is about it - may not go beyond that even in close family relationships. I try my best to go the extra mile and sit back later with satisfaction that I did my best as a humble co-creator lending my shoulders to an unfathomable wheel! siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
4th Aug 2014 (#)

Good morning, Siva; and that wheel seems to have lost a few spokes. We sometimes look like we are fighting an uphill battle to get people to be more considerate and helpful. Oh well, as you point out, it's how we feel about our actions at the end of the day - good/bad, right/wrong, healthy/unhealthy. Thanks for commenting and adding to the subject. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Margaret Michel
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Interesting piece! Thanks for sharing!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Margaret; thanks for reading and commenting. ~Marilyn

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