A wounded or bruised ego often results in placing the blame on someone else. Insecurity and feelings of inferiority feed this as well.
I try so hard not to take things too seriously – in my teaching career and in my personal life. Many of my students tend to come in with a chip (or seven) on their shoulder. It doesn’t matter how that chip got there; it’s my fault, in some irrational way. And they don’t hesitate to treat me as such – enemy #1.
Personally, I’ve been the scapegoat in more ways than I can count. All in the name of wounded or fragile egos. During moments when I have spoken my truth, some of it painful, I get rejected so hard that I can barely breathe. Literally. I have a panic attack.
It seems that all too often, people aren’t willing to claim any kind of responsibility for poor choices or bad behavior. Mostly, the response is, “Well, the way you are…what you said…made me do it!” Or, “I wouldn’t have done it that way, if I didn’t feel like I had to.”
Ladies, what does that sound like? “I hurt you because you made me want to hurt you,” is the tagline for abusers the world over.
It’s interesting, though. Because as humans, we are far from perfect, right? I know I have my annoying things. I’m practical, almost to a fault. I’m a TERRIBLE liar. If someone makes me uncomfortable, I’m fairly certain my facial expression displays it very clear. I can be polite, but it’s hard for me, if I don’t want to be around a particular person. And I’m an overachiever perfectionist, which may seem like a totally awesome thing, but it really isn’t in a lot of ways. People see me as pushy. I don’t do well with micromanaging employers; it puts me in performance mode and I make mistakes that could have easily been avoided if people would just…leave. Me. ALONE!
But, I digress.
I admit that I get caught up in the blame game sometimes. Who doesn’t? But then I think to myself, that position gives me absolutely no power. I can’t change someone else’s behavior or force them to make better choices. However, if it’s in my power to take responsibility and be better, isn’t that great? I gain back my control.
Sure, that’s great. Until you realize you may just have to swallow your pride, own up to any fault, and offer up ways to solve the problem, which includes self-awareness and a willingness to self-improve. But again, isn’t that what we call “rising above”? After all, it’s not about being right or wrong, especially in a relationship. If you have that mentality, that me vs. you set-up, it will inevitably lead you both into the next level of me vs. you: divorce court.
When Freud spoke of the id, I believe this is the kind of thing he was referring to. The knee-jerk, egotistical reaction to a situation. One of the reactions is anger, blame, and a whole host of other toxic feelings and behaviors that only make things worse.
Not to sound too John Lennon-y, but imagine a world where, when people were confronted with conflict, they spoke about it on the same side of the table. The same team, wanting to win the game. Together. But, of course, egos would have to be pushed aside. Taking ownership of bad choices and recognizing each person’s role in the conflict would have to be embraced.
It’s a hard thing to do, but we must ask ourselves: What is the goal? To be right? Or to be together? Because you can’t be both, not in the way you think. The right way is being together, in the end.
Hopefully, you have someone in your life that you look to who makes you accountable for your actions and helps you take responsibility for your role in conflicts. Thank GOD I have mine.