When I was a child my father used to say three things over and over: “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”, “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” and “there but for the grace of God go I”.
I could see the sense in it, but it got all confused with the Catholic message of “don’t sin otherwise you’ll go to hell” in my head, so I had some untangling to do. I had to learn how to face my emotions, let my feel and express. I also had to learn that part of that process can be to go through a period of blame and judgment.
I don’t know if it’s natural and human or if it’s just part of our culture, but everybody seems to do it. For me it was a way to break through the shame that I felt for just existing. It was a relief to reach a point of saying “hey! It’s not my fault”. It was a huge relief to let my anger out.
But I can see now how, in my blame, I wrote stories that weren’t true, I made monsters out of people who were just the same as me, doing their best, struggling to live up to impossible standards. Blame felt so good, but actually it was pretty ugly.
I’ve started seeing how I have been using it to form a shield to hide behind, so I don’t have to feel my vulnerability and be confronted with questions that didn’t have any answers. The all-consuming one was How could you do this to me if you loved me? It still often is, for me, but blame isn’t working any more, and I don’t really know why.
Maybe it’s because the first thing my Dad said – do unto others etc. – has always really resonated with me. I know how terrified I am of being judged. It crucifies you. I know that I want love and respect. And maybe also it’s because I’m just beginning to face how when I’m asking that question I’m hurting so bad that it’s almost unbearable.
Blame anaesthetizes the hurt for a while, but it wears off. It doesn’t touch my heart and really heal me and it can positively hurt somebody else. My own self esteem and entitlement are lousy so I trash somebody else’s? How can that be good? Anyway, I’m sick of anesthetics, sick of how they don’t work. I’ve more or less broken down the morality thing about those things my father said, so that’s a good thing. Morality is just another kind of judgment.
It’s not about sin and morality. It doesn’t make me a bad person if I hang out in judgment and blame, and throw stones at people. It just means my focus will always be on the other person. I’ll never be able to resolve those things in me that are crying out for resolution.
Well, the theory is easy, it’s all nice and black and white. The reality is much more messy. In my efforts to move away from judgment and blame I don’t want to lose sight of my right to my feelings whatever they are. And I want to try to remember to make it about me. That reminds me of something else my Dad said: mind your own business.
- And What About Me? Crisis, the Wake-Up Call and Blame (itsnotaboutthemoney.wordpress.com)