WHY IS IT ALWAYS MY FAULT?
No matter what I do, it’s wrong!
PREVIOUS: Self-Hate – #3
There is a lot of talk in the ‘spiritual’ community about forgiveness – ie – that we should not be blamers. Not blaming ourselves (S-H) or others (an attack) is a good rule for us in the present – now that we’re adults. And that’s a discussion for another post.
However, those same teachers & preachers never talk about what was done to us as kids – that among many other types of harm, our parents unfairly, inappropriately blamed us for all kinds of things – and what that did to our tender & vulnerable developing sense of identity! This post is about what happened TO US as children. A hallmark of alcoholic (& other emotionally unhealthy) families is the mistreatment of their children in all 4 of life’s aspects: Spiritual, Emotional, Mental, Physical.
➼ Parents blaming their children for ANYTHING is ABUSIVE. Blaming us is the same as holding us responsible for their deficiencies & unhappiness.
Remember – abuse is not just physical, in all its forms. It encompasses all the ways people harm others – especially their children – by injuring another’s rights, self-esteem, mental clarity, sense of safety, emotional equilibrium & boundaries. So Blame fits into 3 categories – S, M & E.
1. IN OUR CHILDHOOD
Our damaged parents blamed us for things which :
a. were NOT our fault (difficulties because of a learning disability, like dyslexia or ADD; the illness or death of a parent; a parent being left by a lover or spouse…)
b. was a projection of what the parents are guilty of (being fearful, irresponsible, lazy, feeling unlovable, risk-averse….)
c. we were not doing what they’re being accused of (being a ‘whore’ when she’s too young to have had sex at all OR seducing a parent’s lover/ spouse, when that adult is actually sexually abusing the child; using drugs, when the kid never has…)
d. we couldn’t do, especially without any instruction, & is accused of being stupid – when he/she legitimately can’t know something (fixing a car or other machinery, shopping by themselves, ‘getting; a hard school subject, expected to know how to fix a parent’s personal, sexual & financial problems or forced to take care of a drunk or crazy parent, alone…)
e. were actually no one’s fault (an act of God, getting sick or having an accident…
f. one of our siblings or other child did, but we were held responsible for, especially if we were the Hero or Scapegoat (start a fight; steal or break something; get into trouble at school…)
g. our parents were jealous of, because they couldn’t do something we could (a natural skill or gift) & so they made that ability a bad thing
h. was mostly not true – like: always lying (“Kids always lie so we can’t believe anything they say”), always being stubborn, selfish, too sensitive, difficult, disobedient, stupid….
➼ This may be a group of normal childhood characteristics which:
— sick parent cannot tolerate because of their own issues
— occur sometimes as a defense in the child because of family abuse & neglect…
— happen occasionally because kids are human ie. imperfect. Those behaviors & attitudes then get demonized – which make them both a ‘sin’ and more likely to continue, while we try to be perfect. We CAN’T WIN in a sick environment.
SOURCES of Parental Blame
a. Projecting their own self-hate, frustration & inadequacy onto us
b. Copying what was done to them – without any self-awareness, considering the effect on us or questioning if their behavior made sense
c. Automatically reacting badly to normal child behaviors which trigger their own old pain (their denied traumas, still unresolved)
d. Another way to take the focus off of themselves – making us responsible for their unhappiness allowed them to keep their denial in tact, thus perpetuating the ‘disease’ of alcoholism & narcissism
e. Parental Narcissism – seeing us as an extension of themselves, rather than as separate individuals, & their need for us to be perfect – in order to keep up the illusion of their personal & family OK-ness.
Kids are too young & vulnerable to fight back, stand up for themselves or even understand exactly what’s being done to them – only that it HURTS! And when they’re old enough to try – if they dare – they’re punished without mercy!
➼ Pushing away intense S-H & shame —> creates the need to BLAME someone or something else for ones own fears & lacks.
2. IN THE PRESENT
Now when others blame us (if were victimized that way as kids) :
a. we believe what that person is accusing us of (boss, parent, lover, friend…) because it agrees with our Negative Introject
b. we take that blame on, which feeds our self-hate. We feel terrible, & try to ‘be/do better’ BUT we may not have been at fault in the first place and one can never win, anyway, when dealing with a blamer!
c. we continue to choose (unconsciously) those people as friends, lovers, bosses… who already have the habit of blaming others – TO:
• keep us connected to / locked into our family system, from a sense of loyalty, love AND denial about how much that system harmed us
• validate our self-hate: after all, if our family told us over & over that we’re a mess – and see – all these other people tell us that too – then it must be true !
➼ THAT WAY we never have to hold our parents responsible for their verbal & emotional abuse, because it feels ‘safer’ to keep blaming ourselves, even though it’s self-destructive! (review: “They did the BEST they could” post, #2, b, ii.)
NEXT: ACoAs’ need for revenge