I BLAME MYSELF

Seems I have a lot on my mind today.  I hope you don’t mind me working through my own issues with you.  Maybe you can add your two cents.  Help me… help myself.

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What does it mean to take responsibility?

For someone who gets it wrong quite often for one reason or another I’ve had to learn to take responsibility.  And it’s hard.  It’s hard to step back and view a situation without historical bias coming into play.

Mental illness is often seen as an excuse but it isn’t.  I may be suffering depression but I also know if I have a conversation while in that state it will have been my responsibility for the things I end up saying.  Should I isolate?  No, because that is dangerous.  But by forming safe relationships with people who understand your illness you can mitigate the damage.  For example, if I binge drink I need to take precautions to stay safe.  If I need to take a sleeping pill I know I shouldn’t drive.

If I have to have a conversation while depressed I need to make sure I make it very clear I am not thinking straight.  That is MY responsibility.  My best friend Lizzi is my person.  She listens and tells me when I need to step back.  She tells me when something I am thinking is “wrong” and that I need to “wait” on certain things.  Otherwise, I will have some blame accepting to do the next day.

If I know this happens why don’t I stop it?  I’d like to know how.  I have been through this cycle enough times to know I don’t have much control over my thoughts.  Although I am getting more and more control over how those thoughts leak out into the real world.

TIMING

I am not a fan of waiting to see if taking blame is necessary or not.  When I make a mistake I want to apologize as soon as possible.  I don’t want that mistake to linger because in my experience the more time expires the more likely the problem will get bigger.

Mistakes are like blisters.  You leave them alone long enough they will fester and pop and then they stings far worse than if you would have just poked a small hole in the skin to begin with.  Quick resolutions are more likely to have a less painful consequence.

EXCUSES

Don’t try to confuse the issue with excuses.  Excuses will just make you look like a selfish asshole.  If you are having a bad day and having emotional issues then just admit you are having a hard time sorting things out.  Make sure the person you jumped all over knows you aren’t blaming them and that you know it was your fault.    Ring-around-the Rosy is fun but not when it comes to taking responsibility for something you have done.

Sometimes I get defensive if I try to take responsibility and the other party isn’t open to hearing it.  I will often go to a previous situation and try to say, “Hey, remember when you did this and I was understanding and loving?”  That isn’t helpful.  I fall into this trap a lot and I need to stop doing it.  How I deal with someone’s apology is not how everyone else will deal with one.  And bringing up past scenarios is not only rude but can look like you are shifting the blame.  Your intention to apologize should stay focused on the incident at hand and should be resolved separate from any past experience.

PROBLEM SOLVE

Once a mistake has occurred and responsibility has been taken find ways to move forward.  I think maybe this step needs to happen a bit further along once both parties have time to digest all the things that happened and can be fully reasonable.  This process will take some explanation by the person who is taking responsibility.  I am sorry isn’t often enough.  I am sorry, but… isn’t good either because “but” is a set up for an excuse.   “I’ve been very anxious lately; however, I know it was wrong to hurt you and I am sorry.”

APOLOGY

Apologies are really hard because everyone has a different perspective of the experience.   Sometimes hearing an apology and giving an apology requires taking the time to understand where the other person is coming from.  There is no “right” way to see a circumstance.    Acknowledge the feelings of the person you hurt.  Start there.  Is that person “right” to feel that way?  It doesn’t matter.  Right or wrong they feel that way and therefore an apology is necessary.

I make the mistake of using the word “you” a lot.  I have to reread conversations to see that I have done this.  By using the word “you” instead of “I” you are shifting blame to someone else.

-I am sorry you felt hurt.      Restated: I am sorry I hurt you.

-I am sorry you don’t understand.     Restated: I am sorry I am not being very clear.

JUSTIFICATION

I am the queen of justifications.  I always want people to see what led me to do the things I did.  I want them to walk in my footsteps, not to prove I was right, or that I didn’t have a choice, but to help me figure out a better way to make a different choice next time.

That isn’t the best place to start an apology.  It looks like you are justifying the behavior you are trying to apologize for.  Whether or not there was miscommunication is irrelevant.  You want to say you are sorry for being an ass then say you are sorry for being an ass.

“I was an asshole yesterday.  I let depression get out of hand and I took it out on you.  I will try very hard not to let that happen again.”

Apologies won’t always be accepted and sometimes it takes the other person some time to think through everything.  Forgiveness isn’t something you are owed.  It is something that has to be given freely.  Once you have apologized then practice patience.  Sit back and let them process what happened.

CONSEQUENCE

Once you have stated your regret and apologized sincerely then you have to move on.  Take the consequences of your action with grace.  Thank your lucky stars if the other party accepts your apology and wants to find  a way forward with you.

23 thoughts on “I BLAME MYSELF

  1. Just make sure you are not apologizing or taking responsibility because you have been conditioned to do so, out of politeness or some such nonsense. For example — if someone is not understanding what you are trying to say, I think it’s perfectly fine to say, “Perhaps I’m not explaining myself clearly. Let me try again.” But to apologize for your perceived inability to communicate is silly, in my opinion. There are no wrong or right parties there — just a failure to communicate (and it takes TWO to communicate — not just you).

    I think it is easy (especially when depression is holding you hostage) to feel that we must be damaged, or wrong, or broken — and that we must apologize to everyone else for having to “put up” with us. Screw that shit!

    I don’t disagree with the concept of accepting responsibility for a mistake and apologizing — but just be aware of when you actually did something that needs to be addressed and when it’s the depression telling you lies.

    Liked by 5 people

    • That is also a very hard thing to decipher. Much has to be done after the fact for me. I can’t reason through much of anything while depressed so any apology for something I did wrong has to come later.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think I see Jana’s point – that accidents and mistakes as a result of depression need dealing with differently than intentional harm caused whilst depressed. Maybe.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Well, my Sunset, I think this is a very mature way of looking at it all and I think it’s good to work these things out in your own mind.

    I also think it’s important to remember (and acknowledge out loud) that no matter the truth in our own responsibility for actions taken whilst depressed, the feelings which lead to those actions are real feelings, even if (as I’ve said before) they’re not based in real fact.

    It is quite impossible to just stop being depressed, and I know that’s not what you’re suggesting, but I think it must take superhuman strength to just not behave like it.

    I hope you find willing ears for any apologies you feel need to be made, and I hope no bridges were burnt that can’t be fixed. I hope I can always hide your matches as far as our friendship is concerned.

    I love you 💖💖💖

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hasty, you are always welcome to do your working through. Your insights and clarity are valuable for anyone enduring depression or any other mental illness. So many people, mentally ill or not (and one way or another, most, perhaps all, of us are to some degree at times.) confuse causes with excuses, and explanations with justification, and taking responsibility with the blame with which they must beat themselves up. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Taking responsibility is helpful since owning up to whatever problems in life means one can actively control and be a participant in life rather than playing victim.
    The points u’ve brought up are very important life coping skills. To get to the core of inner issues, there is a technique called shadow work which i found helpful, perhaps it may offer you additional insights into root causes of depression, “mental illness”, and other emotional issues.
    On youtube, search for “teal swan shadow work”, there are a series of videos that explain how to heal the emotional body, balance the mind. You may find it useful. All the best Hasty.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. How funny…like interesting, not hahaha funny..
    I just mentioned in a reply on your last post that it’s all about “mitigating, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the thought process here, independently. I always enjoy when I see something similarly to how someone else sees it…

    Anyways, I think that owning your actions is brave, but absolutely important. There is an absolute need to also address any wrong actions as soon as reasonably possible.

    Personally, I think all that you wrote here is important and I agree – not that my little ol’ opinion matters.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so helpful, Hasty, thank you. Having ADD, causes depression as well as other symptoms, and I’ve spent my whole life apologising to people, and living with guilt and self-loathing. I’ve also burned a lot of bridges unintentionally, and suffered greatly for it. Now I have finally got used to medication for my ADD, things have improved dramatically, and I haven’t felt too bad for a number of months. I did lose a couple of very good friends a few months ago, but now I can get over those feelings a lot quicker and easier than before, and accept that the problem was theirs and not mine. I am bookmarking this blog so that I can refer back to it whenever I need reminding of how to cope and know when and how to try and make it right.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. To be honest, most of the reasons I’ve isolated are right here. It’s become very clear to me that maintaining a relationship (of any kind) is just outside my realm of expertise. I either turn people off with my honesty (when I think someone needs to hear the truth I’m not shy about saying so) or I just befriend emotional vampires (and when I say I can no longer give them all the attention they want they turn on me).

    Taking care of myself (and my children, of course) and not worrying about maintaining relationships has reduced my anxiety and stress levels considerably. Sometimes I feel lonely, but then I remember all the bullshit that comes (at least in my experience) with friendship and the feeling quickly passes.

    This may or may not be an ideal solution, but I don’t have the emotional capacity to handle things any other way currently. Maybe one day I’ll peek out past this fortress I’ve built for myself, but for now I just don’t have time for anyone else’s bullshit. My kids need me and taking myself on some fucked up emotional roller-coaster ride isn’t in their best interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks Hasty. I loved reading this. I have found myself in the past apologizing over and over for the same thing when forgiveness has not been given. I have had problems with what I have learned is called “passive-aggressiveness” (P-A). That repeated apology is a way of being P-A, a way of saying indirectly “forgive me dammit!”. And so you are right, forgiveness is a gift. And we should be patient and understand it may not come.

    I have also learned that we can turn an apology into a thank you. So, for example, Instead of: “I’m sorry I let you down”, it becomes: “I appreciate your patience with my mistakes”. That way, the apology itself is turned into a gift.

    Thanks again, and love your stuff.

    Like

  9. Pingback: DADDY LIST: Take Responsibility – Searching 4 Selina

  10. Pingback: REBLOG: I BLAME MYSELF — HASTYWORDS – Searching 4 Selina

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