You made me do it (DW#423)

objective productivity Jun 27, 2018

As human beings we mess up and make mistakes. Quite often. We sometimes behave badly with those who matter most to us. 

And when we are confronted about our poor behavior or judgment by a loved one, it feels uncomfortable and it is anxiety provoking. It can be tempting to deny our role in making someone upset by denying responsibility, or worse by blaming them for our own behavior. 

For those of us who are parents, our children can sometimes really push our buttons. We may lose it from time to time and get ashamed by our behavior. At this point, we say things like "You made mom/dad mad". "Look what you made me do". We may believe that we are hiding the fact that we fell short of our own values and we feel ashamed. But lets not kid ourselves. Our children can pick up on the fact that we are shirking responsibility. And the lesson they learn from this is NOT the one we want them to learn!

Similarly, in adult relationships which are abusive or severely distressed, there can be many variations of "You made me do it" being expressed.

By saying "You made me do it", we try to escape responsibility and often add insult to the injury of the other by blaming them for our own lack of control. 

Not surprisingly, if we say this often enough, we will destroy a relationship. Trust and respect is earned when we can admit to making a mistake and do what needs to be done to clean up the messes we make for ourselves. 

So let us acknowledge the fact that we have free will: that no one can really make us do anything. That we always have a choice on how to act and how to respond in the face of provocations or outside stressors. 

And when we do fall short, overreact or otherwise misbehave, please let us be grownups about it, accept responsibility and apologize. 

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