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Personal accountability — 7 Comments

  1. Truthy, thank you for this great article!

    Your friend “Brenda” is a perfect example of a hard core enabler. While her “intentions” may be good, the bottom line is that she is in a rut trying to “save” the world, and when the world doesn’t appreciate her “saving” them, she becomes the “victim” and yet sees no part of her problems resulting from her enabling as anything she has done, so she continues the pattern.

    Having “been there” (in Brenda’s shoes) myself, I realize that all my “good intentions” were total wastes of my time and that I was the one who had to change and take responsibility for my own decisions.

    I guess I’ll always want to “help others” but now I do it in a way that is not an enabling one. That was difficult for me to see MY part in people taking advantage of me, because I LET THEM do so. Sure it was not “right” that they did so, but at the same time, I realized FINALLY that I was only enabling them, not “helping” them.

    Accepting responsibility for our own parts in our abuse is important in our healing journey.

    I wanted to “save” Patrick from the consequences of his behaviors from the time he first started stealing, I didn’t want him to wreck his life with a criminal record, but he was determined to do what he wanted to do in spite of anything I was able to do “for” him. Even after he murdered Jessica I wanted to “save” him, give him a life on the outside when he finally did get parole.

    It was painful to realize that my efforts were wasted, that he was never going to change, that he was a full fledged psychopath, but accepting that truth has enabled me to finally break free from the desire to enable others, by doing for them what they should be doing for themselves.

    • Joyce………LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I sent Brenda a birthday wish, and I haven’t heard back from her, so I am not going to BEG her to accept my sincere good wishes for her.

      My mother often told me, “A good deed never goes unpunished.” I think this is the core of enabling – the “intent” that Brenda had was to “save” her nephew, and it just isn’t within her power or control to do that.

      I did the same things with every disordered person that I’ve known, too. Until recently. I have just begun to understand and “feel” okay about looking after myself, FIRST, and actually walking away from toxic people. Whether they are full-blown psychopaths, or simply toxic narcissists, I need MY energies for my own health and well-being.

      h-ard c-ore………….(snort) LOL!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Yea, I laughed at the profanity nanny over that one too. almost snorted my coffee this morning!

    It isn’t easy to break the “habit” of enabling when we have been trained from birth that this is our DUTY. We didn’t know any better when this was pounded into our heads as young children. It is my family’s curse! Those that aren’t psychopaths are enablers. The pair go together like bread and butter or PB and Jelly. Without the enablers the psychopaths and other mooches wouldn’t have anyone to prey off of.

    By taking accountability for our OWN PART in allowing this, participating in this, we can STOP that behavior and stop enabling others. Makes for a drama free life, and believe me that’s fun!

    • OH, Joyce, you are so spot-on, here: standing accountable actually has LIBERATED ME from “feeling” responsible for the choices, actions, and behaviors of other people. I enabled because it was (in MY mind) easier than being alone or shunned. LMAO!!!!! As if I wasn’t alone, anyway? But, that was the codependency and childhood dysfunction whispering at me, even in my sleep, that I was “NOT GOOD ENOUGH” to simply walk away, cut someone loose, or NOT befriend every person who was just as needy as I was!

      Drama-free………………yes. Drama-free is not only fun, but it’s peaceful. Life is going to happen – things over which I have NO control are going to happen (like the deer that ran into my car, 2 weeks ago). In my previous life, Life’s events were directed AT ME to punish me for simply being alive!!! Yes, oh, I was THE TARGET of the Universe – I was THE punching bag, whipping post, scapegoat, martyr…….you name it. Now, I am none of those things – not one of them. Life is happening around me, all of the time, and it is a far, far more peaceful and balanced approach than the previous one.

      😉

      • I also wanted to add something about “resentment.” I experienced a shiat-ton of resentment towards Flo and her husband – they are obscenely wealthy, think NOTHING of spending $200 on an order of free-trade, organic K-cups of coffee, etc……and, they hired Bob and me to work for them at barely above minimum wages. Sure, it was under-the-table and I desperately needed the income, but I began to “feel” as if I were slave-labor. And, I was. I did the kind of work that migrant workers do, and I was extremely ill while I was doing it.

        Why the resentment? Well, Flo had beliefs that I should have been able to live the way that she and her husband did. She believed that I should have been able to afford paying for a CSA (community supported agriculture) program that requires a certain sum of money (usually around $500) to be paid, up front, to a local farmer to share in their harvest. Well……..I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to live on $600 a month, and Flo and her husband bought a CSA membership for Bob and me, and we were to work it off.

        I did “agreed” to these things because I was desperate. And, in retrospect, the CSA shares that I received weren’t all THAT much better. I had no self-confidence or self-worth, at that time. So, my belief was that I had DESERVED to be taken down about 107 notches to the level of poverty that I was in.

        Now, having typed all of that, I’ve begun to recognize my own personal behavioral issues that got me into poverty to begin with – allowing my total trust in someone other than myself, for one. LMAO!!! But, also looking for someone to “save” or “rescue” me, JUST as I mentioned in the response, above. Talking to that gal so frequently gave me SO much insight into my own behaviors, that I really appreciate the experiences because I began to clearly “see” where I was just as responsible for choosing (or, allowing) really shiatty people into my life under absolutely FOOLISH beliefs that THEY were going to care. Same went forth with Flo. She has never experienced poverty on the level that I have, particularly with an emotionally and functionally disabled offspring that is pretty much dependent upon her to see to their needs. SO…………I came to the decision to keep the relationship with Flo as one of strictly business. She isn’t really my “friend,” because she is totally oblivious (and, possibly, uncaring) to MY personal situation.

        And……………it’s OKAY if someone doesn’t care about me. At long last, I have come to the point where it’s okay and that I’m not FLAWED or BROKEN or UNWORTHY – it’s just people being people. Some folks are going to “like” me, and others won’t. It’s not personal. It’s just the way it is, and I am not obligated to MAKE everyone “like” me, anymore.

        Yes, indeedy………..it is an absolute relief to take personal accountability, now. 😀

  3. You know, Truthy, just as I believe there are people who are born with the Psychopathic DNA and something (or nothing) in their environment pushes them over the edge into full on PD, and all levels in between…but I also believe that there are those of us with “victim” DNA what is also acted on by environment (or not) and we are prime targets for this victimization.

    If you look at most really dysfunctional families, there are some “games” where the Drama Triad Victim-rescueer-persecutor is played…but also many psychopaths are in relationships with pure beaten down victims. And just as we know that there is DNA that tends toward becoming an abuser, there is also I think, from studies I have read, DNA that tends to make the holder liable to become a victim.

    Since children born in a dysfunctional relationship have the chance of either or both of these genes and most likely grow up in a very dysfunctional environment as well, BINGO! you have the ingredients to cook up either a full on victim or a full on abuser.

    I noticed yesterday that one of my two yearling heifer calves I have up in a corral near my house has started pushing the other one out of the feed pan they have shared for over 6 months. So I had to put another pan in there so each of them can have her own….so then the bossy heifer realizes the other heifer has a pan and of course IT MUST BE BETTER, so she goes and runs her off of that so they play “ring around the rosey” with the feed pans with the dominant one pushing her sister out of the way.

    Many “herd” animals (and humans are “herd animals” needing our own kind near by) have a definite “pecking order” in that herd with more dominant ones bossing around the less dominant ones. Usually, though, this is not a seriously abusive domination though, because if it were the species would die out to the last dominant survivor. But the dominant animals do get more mates, more or better food,etc so have a better chance of spreading their genetic make up. However, these genes are not DESTINY after all, as environment as well as the genes of the dominant individual’s mate all come in to play to keep a balance.

    If my theory is valid at all, I can see all that dynamic of abuser and victims playing out in my family going back generations, with generally male psychopaths, but I firmly believe that my paternal grandmother was a full on psychopath, as was her father. Yet, both were “successful” psychopaths, he a Methodist missionary and she a physician. Yet the stories of their exploits would fill a large volume! He a bigamist and she a greedy shrew.

    Truthy, I’m well familiar with your story of your “employment” for several dollars below minimum wage, and you and I both can look back on this NOW and almost laugh, but at the time in your desperation and poverty after your ex husband stole your retirement money by fraud and forged checks, I also see just how VULNERABLE you were.

    I look back my own divorce where Ii was also left in utter poverty with a kid on each hip, and I can definitely identify with your PTSD state. I can see in retrospect that I also was in a state of PTSD at that time. I hardly even remember the first 6 months after he left us, homeless and destitute. I too lived on $445 a month child support ( which was a lot more then than it would be NOW) and worked cleaning houses for “rich folks” with a friend of mine, and gardening, and milking goats, butchering our own meat,e tc. but I can also see that even though the start of that “adventure” (an adventure is defined as THE RESULTS OF POOR PLANNING LOL) was terrible and painful I did gain some strength and eventually finish up my APN degree and certification and have an avenue to support both myself and my children.

    But I didn’t gain enough insight to prevent my enabling of Patrick from the time he was 15 or so…so again I was driven to the brink of “insanity” by my OWN CHOICES to enable him and others as well.

    Okay, so if my theory is right, there is a genetic predisposition to being a “victim” of other more dominant individuals, as well as the environmental training I got as a member of a dysfunctional family (a family I did NOT realize was dysfunctional) so I kept on allowing Patrick and others to victimize me.

    Now I realize I ALLOWED this just as my Red heifer lets her sister push her around rather than fighting back. The two of them will always remain dominant and submissive now that the pattern is established, but they won’t kill one another, except for bulls fighting, cattle don’t do that.

    But hopefully I am a bit smarter than the cattle and can use my BRAIN to stop myself from being victimized in the future, by recognizing abusers for what they are and getting them out of my life. Protecting myself, and not just submitting to whatever treatment they desire to dish out. Whether it is a “friend” who borrows $5 bucks and never pays it back, or someone who wants to steal from me or verbally or physically abuse me.

    Yep, personal accountability is what allows us to live a healthy and drama free life.

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