I’ve been musing on the issue of blame lately. Not too long ago, someone accused me of blaming others for my problems. I really don’t think I do that. But if you think about it, it’s not so illogical. Like, “Hey, you just totalled my car! What the heck?!” Well, whose fault is that? Not mine. But the whole issue, I guess, of blaming others is that you should take personal responsibility for fixing your own problems. Like, yeah, someone else totalled my car (hypothetically), but I’ve got to get Carlene to the junkyard (curse the thought!), call the insurance company, etc. But still, though, as for the blame, I’d blame the person at fault! [Shrug.]
I think it’s more of an issue with childhood wounds and lifelong issues, and that sort of thing. I was talking to Sonya of deep things–issues, and trauma–and I told her how someone had accused me of blaming others, such as my mom. (I’d made a glib comment to this other person along the lines of, “If you knew my mother, you’d understand.”) So Sonya asked, “Well, do you blame your mom?”
And my answer was, no, I don’t. She’s a loving person whose personality became rather warped in hard-to-diagnose ways due to a horrific childhood. She was a terrible mother to me, but she doesn’t stand by those things, and she has deep regret. It’s palpable almost every time I talk to her.
Now, on the other hand, if my mom was a diehard abuser who stood by her abusive acts and spoke like she’d do it all over again, then I believe I would blame her. So I’m not sure if it’s particularly virtuous of me that I don’t blame her for my problems, or if it’s situational. It’s similar with my dad. They’re both filled with guilt and remorse and the strong desire for do-overs. So I believe it would be pointless of me to blame them for much.
But what came out when I was replying to Sonya is that I’ve been way too hard on myself lately. Like just above and beyond. I wrote to her about how I expect myself to “get over it [the child abuse issues] already,” and how mad at myself I am that I’m not at that point.
(Actually, I might be at that point. It’s sort of hard to tell. Go figure. What does healing look like, anyway?)
But, anyway, I’ve been hard on myself in other ways, too. You all saw how undone I came when my shin splints grounded my exercise efforts. And thank you all for the support! You all are the best!
My omniscient inner voice is saying, it’s a sports injury, Meg, so why are you blaming yourself?! You can’t use the treadmill without aggravating the injury! But it’s not your friggalutin’ fault! Blame the sports-injury fairy, why don’t you?
And then I’ve also been too hard on myself in a third way, but I can’t quite recall what it is now… Hmm… my memory’s so shot! I think it’s the psych meds. Heck, I hope it’s the psych meds.
Hmm… what’s the third way I’ve been hard on myself? Well, I recently put pressure on myself to go down on Seroquel (with the goal of weight loss), and I kept trying and trying to sleep soundly through the night on less Seroquel (200 mg instead of 300 mg) with supplements, and I wound up just coming undone. Um. [I’m shaking my head at myself right now.] It was fine to try, but to keep trying, at the expense of my own sanity? I should’ve given up after two or three nights, tops.
Maybe this isn’t about blaming myself. Or it is, but the other issue is that I just put undue pressure on myself because I’m so freakin’ stubborn, and when things go wrong, I blame myself for it, albeit irrationally. I know logically that it’s the right thing to let my shins heal from the overexertion, and I also know logically that it’s not my fault that I need 300 mg of Seroquel to sleep soundly–it’s the whole reason I started taking it in the first place. But I put pressure on myself to change things that are out of my hands.
Why? Why am I beating up on myself and putting pressure on myself like this? Hmm… it just seems ridic. I’m usually nicer to myself and more aware of my human limitations, but lately, I swear, my psyche feels fractured. I have this awful feeling that I’m not living up to expectations. (Whose expectations, Meg?) (No clue.)
Huh. Well, a lot’s been going on, and I feel stressed. Today I’m like a zombie. I’ve been overdoing it on the treadmill, and I’m afraid I can’t handle the exertion. I’m toying with changing the goal to forty minutes twice a day instead of fifty. I could do something like that. My dad says I should just go once a day, and I was like, “Yeah, I’d only lose five pounds all year if I do that.” I’ve realized that for weight loss, especially with my appetite, I’ve got to get hardcore into exercising. But I’ll figure something out. There should be some moderation between not doing enough to make a difference and exhausting myself. Hmm….
So anyway, I’ve been putting insane pressure on myself. I should quit doing that!
Today’s advice column from Miss Manners was priceless:
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I attended a meeting at work where a co-worker had a very embarrassing moment. I thought her recovery was remarkable, so I wrote an email about the incident to a friend:
“Melissa farted during the presentation to the exec committee. Yikes! And of course this would happen in front of the whole team in the first-floor conference room. She stood up, introduced herself, and let one rip. Of all the things!! NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED. Instead of dying of embarrassment, she said, ‘Oh, wow. Excuse me! I wanted to finish with a bang, not start with one.’ Everybody laughed! She and Mark were able to get through it all with no other, ahem, ‘hiccups.’ Mr. Hartley said the presentation was terrific and thanked her for a ‘memorable morning.’ Maybe it was good luck!”
I sent this email to the wrong person, who then tweeted it out for laughs. I didn’t mention her last name or the name of the company. Should I tell my co-worker what happened, or just hope she never hears about it?
GENTLE READER: To what end? To show that you are repentant and will never do it again? Look up. That boat has drifted.
Miss Manners hardly sees any purpose in going out of your way to point out the tweet to Melissa now. If she does find out, you may say that you are sorry and meant the summary to be flattering. To further soften the humiliation, you can let her know that Miss Manners commends her on her graceful recovery — if not performance. (c) MISS MANNERS
I’m speechless. But I’ll give this a solid 5-stars for content alone. Big thumbs-up!