04 January, 2012

January Posting Challenge - Day 4

I hope you're following along with TinaJeanKrista, and Kat. If anyone else wants to play, just let me know and I'll stick you on the 30 Day Challenge blog roll. :) My list (with links to each post so far) is here.

Today's topic is to post about a habit I wish I didn't have.

The problem is picking just one.

I could choose something safe and simple, but instead I'll go-for-the-real-clunker and wish I didn't blame myself so much. I blame myself for everything, and it just happens. I try to stop it, but slam! I screwed up. I know it, deep down. If only I'd done better, been better...

None of this (whatever this is) would have happened.

My husband says that reaction is egotistical, and maybe it is, but I see it as more of the opposite of ego. For me, it's a learned avoidance behavior from a lot of years spent helpless and blamed. Brother tore up his leg doing something stupid so I get screamed at for letting him do it. Didn't matter that I tried to stop him, didn't matter if he'd snuck away while I was taking care of some other crisis. It was my fault. Not his. Mine. And I was the one punished for it, screamed at for it. Hit for it.

FYI - Kids shouldn't have to cower.
(image from thesmartlyanonymous.com)
Your sister hit her head. Slam.
Your dog tore up a book.  Slam.
Roof leaked on the TV all night and it shorted out. Slam.
Your cat pooped on the floor in the middle of the night. Slam.
All the money's spent on you goddamn kids. Slam.
You goddamn kids ate all the food. Slam.
You lost my car keys. Slam.
You didn't paint all the way up that wall. Slam.
Something's broken, lost, stained, cracked, dirty, crying, bleeding, or financially out of reach, shutthefuckup it's all your fault!! Slam.

You get the idea.

I spent most of my pre-marital life expecting a stone to land on my head or a boot hit my butt for something I genuinely had no control over. That shit gets imprinted on a kid's brain. It just became easier, safer, and much less physically painful to accept blame. Immediately. And express repentance. Preferably by cowering. For whatever troublesome or inconvenient crap happened to erupt because, surely, it's my fault. Like everything else. The fists and boots and screaming say so. Must be true, right?

Anyway, I really wish I could stop blaming myself. I still catch myself doing it, even now that I know better, and it sucks.

My sister's always sorry, too, and my brother's mostly silent. Shocking, isn't it?

Hopefully tomorrow's post will be cheerier. And I'll try to quit chewing my nails. ;)


Jean said...

Quitting chewing my nails was easy. One day, when I was around 14, I decided not to, and, mostly, I never have since then.

The blame thing? That's not so easy. Way too many years. But you can do it. {{{hugs}}}

Anonymous said...

Yeah, sounds more like learned behavior rather than an expression of ego. Like Jean said, many years to deal with but you can do it!

Krista Heiser said...

Given your childhood experiences, I would have to agree with Jean and Tina K.

Knowing its a bad habit, though, is a good step toward defeating the tendency to blame yourself for everything.