I don’t know when it became clear to me that everything was my fault but I’ve lived nearly my whole life believing it to one degree or another. Looking back, I can see a few instances where it was indeed my fault – I was responsibile for behavior that was mine and mine alone. However, somewhere along the way “I’m sorry” became such a mantra for me I began to believe everything was really my fault. It was my fault my step-father beat my brother when he didn’t do his yard work – I can’t see that nexus today, but at 15 or 16 you’d better believe I knew it was my fault. And of course when a fire destroyed our house and my baby brother was lost I took on the blame for that as well: “I should have put him to sleep in the playpen in the living room!” ( I almost did because the living room was warmer.) Seventeen is a hard enough age without the weight of such guilt on one’s shoulders.
Today my guilt is still a companion, though not as constant or opaque. It frequently becomes quite transparent, allowing me to see through its veil to the truth – it really isn’t my fault. This understanding is new enough to me that at times I still have trouble accepting it. I am not responsible for everything! How arrogant would I be if I believed that I was? It isn’t my fault I got to the parking space before the guy who tried to cut me off to get it! It isn’t my fault the IT department didn’t set up the overhead projector and tie it into the boss’s laptop after I requested they do so. It’s not my fault I didn’t hear a neighbor calling for help after falling early one morning. (That one was hard to accept; I should have heard him!)
I’m not sure where this post is going except I needed to acknowledge if only to myself, that I am not always at fault. It’s important because a LOT of the time it is my fault. I’m the one who put the diesel in the Suburban that took gasoline. The lemon motor home was mostly on me. I backed into our new-to-us pickup truck in the dark. It was me who broke the 100+ year old wine glass etched with Hubs’ family crest.
Gee, after re-reading this it’s quite clear that it IS my fault. Sigh.