Really ... Whose problem is it?
Often we carry around someone else’s problem for years as our own. This is reinforced because they tell us it is our problem. The essential question then is, “Who really owns this problem?” Is it theirs or mine? Am I really dealing with the effects of their problem or is it in fact mine? If it is really their personal problem projected on me, then it really is not my problem.
This shift in thinking from it being "my problem" to "their problem" changes everything. It puts history and circumstances in right perspective. This clarity is important to finding real lasting solutions.
Knowing it is in fact not your problem eliminates guilt feelings and any sense of inferiority or shame. It evokes feeling for the other person and may even lead to new approaches towards helping that person.
Alternately it may mean establishing a clear boundary for the other person that makes it clear they no longer project what it theirs on to you, they no longer throw their trash in your yard. A fence may have to go up between you to protect what is yours.
So ... whose problem is it?