One of the truly hardest things I’ve had to face in my life has been taking responsibility for who I am and not continuing to hide behind the abuse of my childhood or my mental health diagnosis as an excuse for bad behavior. I lived at one time under the impression that because I had a horrendous childhood the world owed me, and I shouldn’t be held accountable for anything bad that I did or said. Wow, was that ever messed up thinking and it got me nowhere fast. There are three important lessons I’ve discovered for me to live an honest and growing life. One, accepting responsibility for my actions. Two, being accountable for the results of those actions. Three, taking ownership of any mistakes I make along the way.
Let me go into further detail as to what I mean by each.
No, I did not cause my abusers to harm me and I am in no way responsible for their actions but I AM responsible for my actions today. If I tell a lie or steal something today, even if I am in a dissociated state, it is still me who has done this deed and I am solely responsible for that action. At one time, I would say to my therapist, “so and so did this” or “so and so did that” talking about the parts of myself that I was refusing to take control of or to own in any way. I lived in victim fog that kept me making the same stupid decisions over-and-over-again. I even had an encounter with a police station once and I lived under the impression that I should be immune from judgement because these actions “weren’t mine”. That’s rubbish. I am responsible for whatever I do or say, whether it is as myself or one of my alters. They are me, and I am them. We are one person even if we are compartmentalized. This was the hardest thing I had to learn, and unfortunately, I had to learn it in many hard stages. Once I got it through my thick skull that I and only I am responsible for my actions, things began to improve. Healing began to finally take root. It’s too easy to hide behind a diagnosis and say, “Oh I’m too sick to be responsible”.
Be Accountable for My Results.
God I hated this lesson. The results of having a life where you don’t take responsible for your actions is chaos. I even got married in a dissociated state, something which was very unfair to myself and the man I married. True, he was responsible for his part, but he walked into a situation he had no understanding of and I didn’t even try to explain it to him in any depth. The result? Eight years of hell for the both of us until we finally divorced. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion and the results were very traumatic to the both of us. What are the results of taking responsibility for the results of my actions? Well, a great many tears of frustration at first and a great deal of soul searching and self-loathing, but slowly I have learned that I’d rather say “I did that” than to try to hide from my mistakes and blunders. There is a great amount of personal power in being accountable for the results of your actions. I don’t feel out of control anymore and other people are not getting hurt. It makes me look like a lot less of a nut case I’ll tell you that much.
Take Ownership of My Mistakes.
Yes, it was an alter who married my ex but she is me and I am her. I have owned that mess for some years now. Not only that mistake but the tons of other mistakes I’ve made along down through my adult years whether dissociated or not. You know what? That’s okay because NOBODY goes through life without making mistakes. It’s not humanly possible! I’ve learned how to say “I’m sorry” and mean it. I’ve learned that it’s okay not to be perfect. I’m a flawed human, well, imagine that.
Three important things to remember and not to try to avoid in personal responsibility. Maybe I’m too honest at times, especially in my writings on the Internet, they may come back to bite me in the butt someday, but I feel free because I’m taking responsibility and not hiding from life or my own past anymore. Being responsible is true freedom!
“Man, is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give your life a meaning.” – Jean-Paul Sartre