Recently I have had to endure the constant finger-pointing in my direction; the conversations and accusations from someone who simply refused to entertain their culpability in the goings-on in their life, choosing instead to attempt to avoid their responsibility by placing it at my feet. Sadly, this practice is neither a new or unique one; there are a lot of us human beings out here who are either unwilling or unable to be brave enough to own up to the mess we have solely created in our own story; choosing instead to convince ourselves that constantly looking outward for the answers or accountability rinses us of our flaws. The joke is – there is nothing more laughable or that shines the spotlight more brightly on someone unable to own up. The transparency that develops after the first few, “What did you do?” becomes as gossamer as a spider’s web.
But as with so many other annoying qualities we humans can participate in, this one is not only infuriating, it is destructive. It can be abusive. Yes, I said it. Let’s address this. Being held accountable for actions that are not your own is irritating to say the least. No question. However, when one is constantly being accused or blamed for the actions or lack thereof of others, the effect on one’s emotions, mental well-being and psyche can be damaging. The blows to one’s self-esteem, when being falsely berated (especially by a (supposed) loved-one or someone in authority) are not to be negated. Having to process false accusations, being forced to take on the responsibility of another’s refusal causes wear and tear. Think about it… how can one defend oneself against someone who has so mastered the art of a lack of personal accountability? That sort of flagrant disregard for one’s own fingerprints on the landscape of their lives takes years of practice and a host of blinders. Finding suitable proxies has become the only thing they attribute to themselves, or will take credit for.
Our culture is better able to identify (not to be mistaken with acknowledge) physical abuse; the physical manifestations of a monster’s presence are left behind. But even with the proof oftentimes we train ourselves to look away, or to deny we see what we see. So, attempting to get emotional or psychological abuse to rise to a level where it stays in our consciousnesses will take many more years and many more conversations. I understand that. Meeting people on their levels, looking them in their eyes and sharing the words that reject any attempt at dismissal or bullying will eventually make more of us stop, listen and respect. Refusing to accept that certain tones or levels of conversation, certain words, bullying, lack of accountability, accusations are okay, normal, “just the stuff of jealousy because he/she loves you soooooo much” will eventually force change.
“Abuse is never okay.” No matter the form. Whether someone puts their hand on you in anger, in force or attempts to brow-beat you into believing that all the negative things that happen in their life are a result of your, not their actions… it is all abusive. We need to stop sugar-coating things and shying away from those things that either make us uncomfortable or ashamed. In those spaces the abuser hides – between your silence, discomfort and shame. It’s high time we go to Home Depot, Lowe’s, Woolworth’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Pier 1, Best Buy, etc etc and purchase all the lamps, spotlights, torches, flashlights, outdoor pits… anything we can find that illuminates and shines a light on this debilitating epidemic.
“Abuse is never okay…”