When I am not blaming my mother or my brothers for what happened, I am blaming me. And I know better. But I still do it. I am keeping myself in a depressed state by doing this. Karen asked me, if I would blame someone if the group if she told of a similar situation, and I wouldn’t.
Here, all of us I think, at least many of us, are quick to exonerate everyone else from everything. If you said no, if you didn’t say no, but you didn’t say yes, and so forth, but then we turn around and blame ourselves for what happened to us:
I should have known better.
I let it go on for so long.
I was abused by several people, so it must be me.
I shouldn’t have gone with him, just him and me.
I covered it up and helped to keep the secret.
I was 4 or 6 or 11 or whatever age, but I was smart enough to know better.
I wouldn’t have tried to hide it, if I didn’t know it was wrong.
He gave me things for doing it, so I made a choice, and I have no business complaining about it now.
And so many other reasons to find fault. The question is, why do we do that to ourselves when we never would say anything like that to others? We treat group members, acquaintances at work, e-friends, strangers we have never met, and may never even know their real name better than we treat ourselves.
Is it really a grandiose way to act? I mean, You maybe weren’t old enough to know better at 12, but I was old enough to know better at 4.
Or is it just the fact that we have deceived ourselves for so long that we can’t seem to shake it now? For me, being helpless is one of my worst feelings, so I would rather be at fault than helpless, because being at fault in some way, means I can prevent it from happening again. If at 11, I should not have gone swimming with my brother, I can prevent further attacks by never swimming again. And maybe believing that way helped me survive as a child. Well, I know it did. But now, I know it wasn’t my fault, but I continue to believe that it was. I use it as a battering ram when I am depressed.
I keep telling myself, “my brain wasn’t fully developed, I couldn’t make those kinds of choices” or “the age difference — a kid that much older can certainly get the younger one to do whatever.” I think about my nieces. Two are 12 and I have one that is 8 and one that is 7. So, I can consider how they are at those ages and compare brain-function. Would I blame them if this happened to them? No way. It isn’t even a question.
I was talking to Karen yesterday, and this blaming came up, and I was internally kicking myself because I know, and I should know, but I am still struggling with it. Today I talked with Denise, and I don’t know how she was getting the same stuff out of me. I was defending myself, which even I could see showed how much I am still blaming myself.
Sometimes I think I am going backwards. I’m frustrated with myself, which is really not helpful at all.
How do we treat ourselves with as much patience, kindness, gentleness, and respect as we treat others?
Do I have to be constantly angry with my brothers or my mother in order not to be irritated/unsatisfied with myself?
How do we learn to accept good things that folks say, good things that come our way and allow ourselves to feel that we deserve them?
Ok, so that is more than one question.