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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Thoughts: Letting Go Of 'The Blame Game'

Last week, as I sat ruminating over a phone conversation that had upset me, and thinking about my impending skin graft, I was startled by a 'flash of vision' in my mind's eye. Thoughts of the skin graft and what it meant, and "how did I get here" lead my brain to conjuring up an image of a photo, taken way back in the '80s when I was a wee, small thing. Unexpectedly, I saw myself as a child, through new eyes. I became aware of things in a way I haven't previously been aware of them. Suddenly I was looking at a photo of a child, any child; not the me-self in child form, but an actual child. I was watching that child, the one in the photograph, and I realised something that just blew me away. That little girl? She was a real little girl. She was just like every other little girl I've seen in my time working in childcare centres, at the shops, at the park... everywhere I go. She was born innocent, she was born whole. She laughed, she cried, she loved, she played, she had thoughts and feelings that were all her own. She had the same value that I attribute to all (other) children.

And she was me. I was that child. Once upon a time, I was that innocent little girl. There's a real sense of wonder and amazement there. On the other side of that, though, is a real sense of horror. Because that means I have to face something I dance around facing every now and then when it's all-too-obvious for one reason or another. If the reality of that little girl is that she was born innocent and with value, then the reality is also that what happened to that little girl wasn't due to anything she did, or said, or was. Ouch.

You see, holding onto the belief (Myth!) that I was to blame for everything difficult, unfortunate or upsetting in my life has allowed me to regain some semblance of control. I say that I don't want control, and I'll usually hand it over to someone else as soon as I realise I've got it -- but, in actuality, that's just another way to be in control, isn't it? Just like carrying the blame balances the issue of control. If I was the cause - my fault, my responsibility, my shame - then I have the power to change that. I may not know how, and the event may continue (further seeding the same line of thought), but as soon as I can work out how, then I can make it stop. And that's some faulty thinking, right there.

Life, as we all know, doesn't work that way. Good things, bad things, indifferent things happen. Sometimes they are due to our own actions or inactions. Sometimes they are due to someone else's actions or inactions, and sometimes they just are. There's one thing that is consistent, though, and that is our ability to take responsibility for our emotions and behaviours in reaction to the situation. Maybe a good first step is for me to let go of the 'fault' judgement entirely. Just to forgo placing blame anywhere, accept that it is, and deal with it, whatever that 'it' is, the best way I can.

One thing is for sure, whatever happened in the past, and whatever happens in the future, there's a world of opportunities for growth in it all.

Today's cheer-leading statements:
I have the power and the ability to cope with whatever life throws my way.
My emotions are acceptable. However I feel is okay, even if I may not understand why I feel that way.
What I think about a situation is just my perspective, but that doesn't mean it isn't okay to think that way. (I'm not sure on this one, so if anyone can yea or nay it, I would appreciate that a lot!)
I am not a bad person. I have value and worth, just like everyone else.
The urge to give in to negative coping mechanisms is just an urge. It is my choice whether I listen to that urge, but choosing to do so will only make my long-term goals more difficult to achieve.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.


  1. As they say, "it's not the problems that define you it's the way you handle them"
    One way I think of it when I get stuck in blame is, it doesn't matter who's fault it is, in the end it's my own responsiblity. It's both a crappy reality and and empowering possition.
    I'm the last one to talk about giving up control though. I prefer to try to be in control of everything and I can totally relate to what you're saying about blaming myself for the abuse that happened to me as a child and using that as a way to be "in control" of the events.
    It wasn't until I had a daughter of my own and saw how she was when she was 5 or 6 years old that I could no longer logically take reponsiblity for the abuse that happened to me at that age. I was terrifying for me to realize that. It wasn't until then that it really sunk in for me that I'd been abused.

  2. Gosh, Stacy. Your comments continually blow me away, thank you.

    Yes, it's very confronting when we see children we know at those ages, isn't it? I can only imagine how much more it would be so with your own child, too.

  3. i keep a picture of little-me on my wall, to remind me of this kind of thing.