I Know What's Best

Why Won't They Just Change?ááá

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Have you spent a great deal of your time trying to help other people and they seem ungrateful? Or, have you put a lot of effort into changing someone because you think it would be for their own good? Do you keep bailing a friend out emotionally because you think some day your friend will finally get what you are saying, take your advice and make changes for the better? Take the test below to see just how effective you've been.

á1.á Divide a piece of paper into four columns. In the first column, list 10 people you have tried to change. In the second column, list what you tried to change. Then, in the third column list any changes they made and jot down what you think triggered the changes. In the fourth, note how that process of trying to change someone else has affected your relationship with him or her, and yourself. Did it make you closer? Did it make one of you more needy, more dependent? Did you find yourself getting resentful, frustrated or angry? Did this quest to change someone else take up a considerable amount of your time and energy -- even to the point you may have neglected yourself?

People I Tried to Change

What I Tried to Change

Changes They Made and What Triggered Change

Effects on my relationship with them/me




2. Think again about those ten people. Did you find yourself putting in more energy than they did to achieve that change?

3. Are any of those relationships emotionally draining?

4. Do you find yourself resenting any of those ten people because they wouldn't change, and you believed you knew what would be best for them?

5. Do you ever feel as if you are a failure when someone you care about won't change?

6. Would they call your persistent caring nagging?

7. Is there anything about yourself you'd like to change?

8. On a scale of one to ten, how much control did you have over making any of those people change?

9. What would you be doing with your time if you weren't trying to fix others?

Let Go of Your Worry Now

If you think you had any control over those folks, think again. You have the ability to influence others, but ultimately each person must make their own decisions about life. Recognize that and you'll have a great deal more serenity and peace in your life. You won't be consumed with so much worry about things you can not control or change. It also gives a clear message to others that you believe they are capable of making their own decisions, and likewise responsible for making their own changes. It can be like retiring from a full time job if you let go of all the work and worry. Wonder what else you could do with that time and emotional energy? Enjoy!


Enroll in our online Improving Your Relationship Course if you'd like to learn more about how to improve your relationships right away. You'll learn to identify and stop unhealthy patterns of attraction to people who you think need your help, and position yourself to be available to a healthier person. You'll also learn how to decrease the friction in your current relationships.

ęCopyright 2001 Brenda Crawford-Clark