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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Blame Game

These days it seems many are only too anxious to blame others for their own short-comings. Nobody wants to accept responsibility for their own problems. Many don't even want to admit they have a problem, but if they do they sure are quick to point out who is to blame, then want a quick fix in the form of some sort of modern day snake oil.

Take the mortgage crisis for instance...the banks are quick to blame the borrower, "they shouldn't have taken out more than they knew they could afford." True perhaps, but then here we have the borrower blaming the bank, " they shouldn't have let us borrow more than we could afford." Who is correct? Both are to a certain degree I am sure, but neither is willing to admit their own fault. The borrower should have bought that cute 3 bedroom they could truly afford rather than the 6 bedroom McMansion when they only have one or two children. The bank on the other hand shouldn't have been so greedy and knowingly put people at financial risk for their own financial gain. But meanwhile pointing fingers at each other isn't going to solve anything. Change will only happen when each accepts his or her own blame for the situation.

Then you have people who are quick to blame a failing economy for not being able to get a job. Sure, times are tough and you may not be able to find another position as important as what you once had, but I am sure Wal-Mart and other retailers and even fast food joints are looking to hire. But no, you wont take that job because you're above it. What is better? A measly eight bucks an hour or no bucks an hour? I happen to know a very well qualified professional who lost his well paying job and took that job at Wal-Mart. I am sure it was tough on his pride, but I have way more respect for him, than those others who refuse to work at all because they are "above working at Wal-Mart." By the way, that person who swallowed is pride and took that job, is now in upper level management making a nice paycheck!

Got problem kids? Surely it isn't your fault, they have some sort of labeled disorder and rather than do the hard discipline or practice tough love, lets label it and give them a quick fix remedy in the form of a pill right? Don't misunderstand me, I do know there are children out there with true chemical imbalances that will only respond to proper medical treatment, but the lines at the nurses office at school for kids waiting on their "meds" are longer than the lunch lines these days! Even for those true few who are suffering from a chemical imbalance, as a good online friend of mine says " it explains the behaviour, it doesn't excuse it." They still need to be held accountable for what they do!

Can't function properly as a spouse or parent because you were abused as a child? Again, your childhood could help explain why you do what you do, but it doesn't excuse it! Many of those who were abused take a different route and choose to overcome rather than excuse their behavior.

Overweight? Again, it's never any ones own personal fault is it? It is their childhood, or a problem with metabolism or medical or.....again, some of these things hold true for some, but for many of us it is simply a matter of eating more than we're burning. But rather than eat less and move more, many try to blame it away and search for a miracle pill.

I guess it's just easier to blame others or our situations for our problems rather than fess up to them and have to do the hard things to make the changes we need to. I am sure we are all guilty of it to a certain extent in one area or another of our lives, I know I am sometimes. I am just concerned that this seems to be such a growing problem in general for our society and worry about where it is going to lead us, especially as we are allowed to continue to do so. I guess like many things in life, it starts when we're young, and the remedy is to start with ourselves than our children. We can't expect our children to do what we can't ourselves, but once we are on the right track we have to teach our children to accept responsibility for their own actions and accept the difficult consequences of them. If we don't I am really worried about our society in the upcoming generations.


Red said...

I am so going to reply to this, but I am off to my own garage sale. But for right now, you are my hero Tara!

Bill Cooney said...

Great post, Tara. Thought-provoking, as usual.

Regarding the mortgage crisis. I kind of don't get it. Yes it is wrong to want to borrow more than one can afford to pay back, but the whole point is that banks neglected the regulations already in place requiring them to determine whether or not a loan applicant could meet repayment terms. Why did they overlook these regulations? Does greed come to mind? I blame the banks.

You are correct about explaining rather than excusing. The number one goal my therapist and I have in place is precisely for me to accept responsibility for my own behavior - not make excuses for bad behavior. The obscene abuse I was subjected to as a child lends understanding to my plight, but correctly does not serve as an excuse for bad behavior. I must suggest that achieving this understanding about why we are they way we are and do the things we do is precisely what facilitates the leap of accepting responsibility. We tend to blame others when we don't achieve understanding.

Problem kids? Again, the goal is to identify and treat any health anomalies that may be at work to the end that it not only improves their health but also emotionally enlightens them as to why they may be struggling. The reason this is important is that it counters the sadistic practice of simply telling children they are bad, worthless or irredeemable.

Weight problems? I reject oversimplifying this issue. Even for those who appear to simply take in more calories than they burn, so often there are emotional considerations to work at before the tide can turn. My suggestion is that for the vast majority of people with weight problems, mental health issues are likely to be found. We have to be careful when simply labeling someone "lazy." The mental health approach would see this as a "motivation" problem, something well within the purview of mental health professionals.

Alcoholics are not "bad" people; they are sick people - people with a serious mental health problem. Likewise, overweight people are not simply "lazy" people; they are people with a serious physical health problem which likely has its genesis in some serious mental health problem.

From my own personal experience, I can say that I do not want to blame others for any problems I may have had, but I can now accept greater responsibility for myself precisely because I invested in my mental well-being - in order that I might achieve that understanding prerequisite to accepting responsibility.

Boy, I can sure be long-winded, can't I? ;-)

Red said...

I said I would respond, but sorry it took me so long to do so.

It is difficult for me as a thin built person to understand how people can over eat. I am the first person to say that I truly love food and have no problem admitting it. But I also know when to push away form the table.

I am also married to a man who has yo-yoed with his weight our entire marriage. He says it is the same as if you were an addicted addicted to drugs or alcohol.

And my question is if you are that much of an addicting personality, then why aren't you addicted to everything out there.

I have a drink once in a while but I may not have one for months. And I am OK with that. But my husbands says you can live without drugs and alcohol, you cannot live without food. And he does have a point. But due to the fact that I do not battle weight I have a hard time swallowing the fact that it is a disease. The same goes for alcoholism and drug addiction. I just can't stomach that. And I will explain why.

I have MS and my son has autism. Neither one of us asked for these disorders/illnesses. So how can anyone compare us to someone who makes a wanton choice in what effects their lives. I never asked for MS and my son never asked to be autistic. So for me to be lumped into the same category as a person who shoots heroine...I have a problem with that.

As for the mortgage issue, I put the blame mostly on the banks. They are thee experts in number crunching. and inasmuch as it would be crushing to hear we do not qualify, at least we would know where we stand in the financial realm.

I am unemployed, but I had surgery and was recovering for 6 months. I have applied at places that are most definitely not my cup of tea, but when push comes to shove, you take what will put food on your table.

Don't even get me on problem kids. I lay nearly all blame on to the shoulders of the parents for letting their children run wild...end of discussion. (Refer back to my reference to my son being autistic, and he was never on controlling drugs. I just dealt with him.)

Thank you for a great post and now I feel the need to post on one your subjects as well.