If I had to narrow it down to one thing I could point to that kept me stuck as a victim, it would be lack of personal responsibility. Always having an excuse or a reason for why "I couldn't" kept me more trapped than any other single thing I can recall. It convinced me I had no power when I really did.
I was talking to my friend, Richard, at the horse show this weekend about that very subject in regards to my daughter and granddaughter. Trying to explain what the problem is between us all seems to boil down to this very subject. Anytime I want to talk to either of them about a problem somehow it always comes back to me. They are immediately defensive before any words even come out of my mouth.
The root of it all in their minds seems to come down to me. The answer to everything seems to be that I don't .........whatever. I don't listen, I don't see what she does do, I don't, I don't, I don't. Yet all the "I don't"s in the world don't change what they do. I know that but do they seems to be the question.
I know that anytime the problem gets blamed on someone else, then there's a problem with personal responsibility. I'll be the first one to stand here and say sometimes "I don't" whatever. I don't always give her credit, because I don't always see what she does do. Sometimes what she does, has no value to me because of the spirit in which it is given. It feels in genuine. I think anything done to manipulate is not worthy of praise. Those are my values and I will take responsibility for them.
I believe the source of our problems are rooted in my daughter's own behavior as a teenager. I think because she has never really taken responsibility for her "antics" then she can't see her daughter's responsibility. In my daughter's mind I think she believes she's still right and I'm still wrong and she didn't do anything wrong. I am not trustworthy because of those times.
How that makes sense about a drug addicted teenager's behavior I don't know but she can justify it in her mind somehow. I think as long as she's protecting those things about herself, she enables the same behavior in her daughter as well. That makes me the bad guy and them co-conspirators.
The problem isn't that it hurts my feelings (although it did before I put those walls back into place) it is that it keeps them both stuck. They are still victims caught in that behavior. It doesn't affect my personal power because they are stuck..........it affects them.
All of the "I can't"s or "I had no choice"s are what keeps them powerless to change their lives. If they can't admit they've made a mistake or could have done it differently nothing will change. Continuing to send themselves that message of powerlessness is a huge detriment to their self esteem. It's impossible to build one's self esteem while continually claiming to be powerless.The two things are at the opposite ends on the spectrum for self nurturing.
That's the really sad part about this. I'm ok here. I'm no longer powerless to control my own life. I have the courage to stand up for my convictions and follow my dreams. But my daughter and my granddaughter are still caught in that trap of their own making.
They might think they are protecting themselves against me but they are really protecting themselves from their own feelings. Not being personally accountable for their own behavior means they don't have to deal with the feelings they have when they feel like they have let someone down, failed..........you name it. As a result they are both stuck in believing that they are powerless when they really do have power that they just refuse to use. All the while they are unhappy and pointing the finger blaming me for their discomfort.
It is so simple yet so difficult. Owning up to one's failures and mistakes can feel like it will kill you, but it won't. You'd be surprised how much lighter life can become once that burden of having to be perfect and prove that you are right is lifted. I sure wish that relief for my daughter and my granddaughter but I know that it's impossible as long as they are using me for their scapegoat.
Thankfully, I'm free of that burden of buying into their manipulations. I can see what is my part of this mess and what is theirs. Maybe sometimes I could handle things better, but even if I could have all the appropriate answer or behaviors all the time, nothing would change because it really isn't about me. I am grateful to have learned that. I wish I was able to pass that legacy on to them. Unfortunately for now, both of them are still caught up in their victim behavior.