Of Lists & Laundry Baskets

Spotlight On Mental Health

How To Separate Your Feelings, Thoughts, and Actions from Those Of Others

As human beings, we want to belong. We want to help. We empathize. That’s a wonderful thing, but sometimes we overdo it, or the demands on us become too much. Then it’s helpful to sort out what’s our job to do, what our feelings are, and how we need to think about it all. An experienced facilitator, Frances Kenny, has developed what she calls “The List” to help sort it all out. Since that’s proprietary material, and with Frances’ agreement, I’ve developed my own version of it, called the “Laundry Baskets.” Click here for a worksheet. The scenario in there is for people who are dealing with the substance use of a loved one but it can really be used for a wide range of situations – from your roommate not pulling their weight to a demanding mother to a boss who unloads more on you than you can handle – and more!

(Frances Kenny is the founder and facilitator of Parents Forever, a professionally supported, mutual support group for parents and family members of adults dealing with substance use.)