Sunday, November 6, 2011

Response Ability

We learn by illustration.  Yes, we learn by words, yet we learn some of our most intrinsic behavior by emulating others.  It's one of the ways we develop some of what we call our "beliefs"; our "standards"; our "ethics"; our reality.

That said, I'm sharing this piece -- for any person who may have some of the same feelings and questions that I do.  My hope?  That by illustrating what I have found, you may feel freed to find a truth for yourself -- whether or not your truth agrees with mine.

In response to a particular situation in my life, I was feeling lost.  Useless.  Apologetic for being.


Dysfunctionalisms I learned include internalizing "It's your fault." and "You have to fix it."

I was blamed for everything under the sun when I was young.  For ruining my biological mother's life by being born.  For ruining the peace in the family by asking questions.  For wrecking mealtimes by playing with my food.  For the anger, rage, and other discomforts of those around me.  For not being able to sit still on a scratchy, nubblie chair that was chafing my bare legs when I was so very young and ruining a chance at an adult's dance rehearsal. For simply being ... I was blamed.

Being the good child I was, I took it all in and blamed myself.  I grew.  And accepted the blame, as any good child might. I didn't know I could exercise the ability to choose what is real and what is not real, and I accepted the blame for always being the one who doesn't communicate clearly. In all frankness, as a child if I had expressed anything other than the "I-am-to-blame-vein" I wouldn't have survived.

So as I grew, I accepted the apparent fact that I ruined friendship by not saying or doing what the other person expected. That I ruined things by simply breathing.

Being the astute (albeit slow) learner I was (and still am) at that time I blithely accepted (because I didn't know I didn't have to) what was illustrated before me -- "If something goes wrong, it's your fault."  "If someone else does something it's your fault."  "Whatever happens, it's your fault."

It was also put to me in these words, "It's your responsibility."  "You are responsible for that."  Blame and response ability (yes, for this post I choose to re-frame the word 'responsibility' with the phrase "response ability -- it's on purpose.)

Timeshift with me back to today:

With an excellent therapist, and the supremely strong motivation to live my life as my own not someone else's, I have been able to question and transform my dysfunctional-isms.  Not all of them.  Not perfectly.

So ...

I'm here to tell you, you do not have to be a victim.

No matter what the circumstance (or circumstances) going on around you are -- you do not have to be a victim.

Yes, you may be facing something that others wouldn't want to face in 20 lifetimes.  It could be a prognosis of death.  It could be harassment on any level.  It could be homelessness.  It could be disease, visible or invisible that affects your life.  It could be something I cannot envision or put words to ... but to you, it is horrible; devastating; catastrophic; perhaps even evidenced by recognizing the phrase "why is this happening to me/them?".

For me, it's being a victim of blame -- I'll reiterate, I've been blamed for everything. And as a child to survive, I learned I had to accept that blame.

Put all your own feelings into a safe place for the moment, ready for you to claim upon finishing reading this ... Let's look at this picture as an outsider, not enmeshed with any judgment.

Blame and response ability are not the same. Regardless of what you've been told or shown by others, blame and response ability are not the same.

Blame is punitive.  It is entirely different from accepting response ability for something.

Accepting the blame, or feeling you are response able for how others act, what they say, what they feel -- it's a choice.

What is it we are truly response able for?

Not someone else's actions.
Not someone else's words.
Not someone else's thoughts.
Not someone else's feelings.
Not someone else's life.
Not someone else's being.

Why do we blame?

We blame because we are taught to blame.

What if you allowed yourself not to blame?  Not to blame yourself, others, or the circumstances around you?


How does it benefit others?

How does it benefit you?

Who is ultimately affected by it?

Once again, come back with me to the safe place where we left all your feelings and reclaim them so you are as you were before reading this far.

I was feeling lost.  Useless. Apologetic for being because I couldn't help someone resolve something.

A+ for empathy, F- for response ability.

I know what I can do, and what would resolve the situation for me:

I can look at the situation and ask myself, how can I use this rather than letting it block me?

When I choose to do that, I release victimization.

I am response able.

You are as well.  The only thing I have to give anyone ... I believe the only thing we all have to give anyone is our awareness.  Our focus.

I give my gift to you today:

I believe in you.

You are response able.

Own what you are truly responsible for.  Release what you are not.  Be daring.  Be bold.

Join me, step out of victim-hood.  Take response ability for yourself.  Reclaim  your power.


  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful message.

  2. Craig! My dear friend. You continue to be awesome. Thank you for the commment!


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