I don’t like playing mind games, blame games or dealing with manipulation.
I am who I am. I make mistakes, I know I’m flawed.
I have no desire to control or change other people. Who they are is their business, and I respect people for their personal and unique view of the world.
I truly do not blame others for simply being who they are. But I will also not allow myself to be the target of their anger, ridicule, assumptions, mockery or any sort of overt abuse. I will speak my truth, I will live my life, and I don’t expect anyone else to understand, relate or sympathize.
Here’s the thing. We cannot know how other people truly think or work. We cannot truly know what makes another person tick. Everyone is a vast collection of experiences.
I know it frustrates me when people assume to know me. When they think they’ve got me figured out. When they assume they know the intent of my actions. Far too often, they are mistaken, and it saddens me.
So this is why I labeled this post blame game. I think it’s easy to point fingers, to assume we know what another person is thinking. To blame others and assume that their intent is malicious. It can be downright toxic.
Self-blame can as well. If all we do is see our own faults, blame ourselves for every action or reaction, it can be devastating. Personally, trying to ‘fix’ myself, to change myself to suit the needs of others causes a downward spiral of anxiety and depression. If I worry over every little thing I do or say and blame myself for what happens, for how other people react to me, and who I am, I suffer needlessly, act irrationally, emotionally and flounder to just keep myself from drowning in self-loathing and doubt.
A while back, I mentioned narcissism on my blog. It’s always been a sticky label for me. But in the context of my experiences, understanding how other people work, for making sense of another person’s actions that I could not wrap my mind around, this label fit.
I know not many people fall into the DSM category of truly having Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The Diagnostic Manual has changed over the years, labels are subjective and malleable. Just as with any words or aspects of language, what a label means is dependent upon your understanding of the label.
I rather like the idea of narcissism being a spectrum, from healthy to pathological much like CZBZ outlines on her blog, The Narcissistic Continuum. Narcissism isn’t an insult any more than depression, anxiety or is autism is.
I began reading up on narcissism after being directed to Pete Walker’s site and his views on Complex PTSD. In his writings about the Fight Type and the Narcissistic Defense. It got me thinking about many people in my life and how they react to situations.
My husband, for example, fits into this defense style. As have many people in my past and present. Personally, I have a more freeze response. This is due to my processing and communication issues. When I’m conflicted or triggered, my mind sticks and I have to work a lot harder than the average Joe to process it.
In order to better understand this type of defensive reaction, I began researching narcissism. What helped me the most was seeing the pattern of the Narcissistic cycle of abuse. I’ve been bullied and treated poorly by friends and peers in the past, and quite often there were variations on this pattern.
I find it hard to blame them. We all have defensive mechanisms, some are healthier than others. We cannot truly know a person, and a label is just that, a label. It is a way of categorizing something in order to better understand it.
What I do buy into is understanding that I can use this pattern to understand and separate myself from a toxic cycle. Other people’s view of me is not who I am. I will not buy into and believe things that others tell me they think of me when I know it is not true. I will not be defined by the perceptions of others.
My roots run deep. There is so much more to me than meets the eye. Though my abilities to communicate may be hindered by my processing difficulties, that does not mean I am unable to communicate. Those who wish to get to know me can.
I will give others the same courtesy and allow them to be who they are. I will not judge, will not assume. I will simply appreciate each person for their individuality and uniqueness. I will do my best to hold space for those I care about, as they have often done for me. I will work towards eliminating my own narcissistic traits, and not beat myself up when I fail or have a set back.
I will have set backs. I will make mistakes and I will do things that may hurt or anger others. I will apologize, I will admit when I have done something wrong. But I will not waste time begging forgiveness or attempting to please those who are unwilling to accept mistakes and missteps for what they are.
I will forgive those who I feel have wronged me. I will not harden my heart with hate or anger. I will do my best to not mock, belittle or look down on others, even in my own mind, in passing or in private. Every person is deserving of love, and harboring resentment, focusing on another’s failings, and seeing myself as above or better than anyone else is not healthy or productive. We do not build others up by tearing them down.
Optimism and the pursuit of happiness is my goal in life. I cannot achieve that if I’m wrapped up in trying to please others, blaming them or focusing on anger. Forgiveness, respect and growth, each in our own time, in our own way, is the path I will work to follow. Even if I stumble of fall from time to time.
Featured photo by Photographer: Kevin Sequeira