Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Toxic Personality Week, Day Two: The Blamers

blame (bleym) noun
blamed, blam·ing, blames

1. To hold responsible.
2. To find fault with; censure.
3. To place responsibility for (something): He blamed the crisis on poor planning.

Sometimes it's cute, like when my friend's 3 year old was cleaning her room and knocked over the glass of water that she had put on the floor. The kid knows that mom has a rule - no glasses on the floor. Mom knows that the glass will go unnoticed and eventually get knocked over. So it was kind of cute when the kid kicked the glass over and yelled at mom, "It's your fault! That wouldn't have happened if you hadn't made me clean my room!"

Not so bad, right? Not so horribly abusive. But this attitude can be toxic to the person on the receiving end of a blame tirade, whether The Blamer is a child or an adult. And when the same thing happens on a global scale it brings countries to war, "You made me drop a bomb on you because...," brings society to chaos, "You made us tear gas you because...," and rips relationships apart, "You made me cheat on you because... ."

I think that it is harder to identify The Blamer as a toxic personality (TP) than yesterday's featured TP, The Shamer. When an authority figure places blame on you and it feels bad you might want to complain but don't because you might be accused of shirking responsibility or of just not being tough enough. Society encourages you to be tough, to be oriented on pain as a vehicle for personal growth and achievement because after all, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger - right? This seems like such a backward idea to me, but that's a rant for another day.

The Blamers seem to have the idea that they should be able to float through life untouched by pain. They resent the downs in life, believing that someone or some event is preventing them from being up. Silly silly people. By refusing to embrace the experience of being down they never really fully experience being up. By insisting on Blaming others for the things that they are unhappy about they never take real responsibility for themselves and their actions.

And so in the spirit of placing blame on others I shall point the finger at: Toxic Personalities Day Two: The Blamers

I know what I said. The high level executive who would slam his fist onto the board room table during weekly progress meetings and yell at everyone in the room that he absolutely did or did not say whatever was the opposite of what everyone in the room heard. He would insist that they were all conspiring against him, and had gotten together behind his back to lie about the projects they were assigned and their deadlines. He would insist that people had made promises to complete work that had never been discussed and that deadlines should have been met that were never on any calendar. He also would insist that he had never made any of the promises about his own work that everyone heard him make. By the time I quit that job (to spend a month in Amsterdam - but that's another story) I didn't know if I was coming or going.

But it's not my fault - God must hate me.
The ex-boyfriend who thought that being happy was a sign of being shallow and that the pain of chronic depression showed his true depth of character and is what made him a true artist. I dated him for 4 years and when I finally left him it was like I hadn't felt the sun on my skin in that long. Look I feel for you, I do. I get it -- it's hard being you. I just don't care so much that I am willing to lose myself in your misery. Not any more. It is easy to whine about how hard life is and it is hard to find the good when you feel like crap. Listening to you whine about your problems brings me down, which I suspect is your ultimate goal. A discussion on the existence of God as metaphor, metaphysical being, or myth is a conversation for another day. Today I am going to tell you right to your computer screen face that God is not holding a rain cloud of despair over your head. Really. It just is not happening that way.

No one understands how hard it is to be me!. Why are your problems so much worse than everyone else's? Because they're yours that's why. Things are tough all over and you are not the only one who thinks the boss is a terrible manager, or a manager who thinks that your employees don't work hard enough. Or that the bus driver is rude, or your parents didn't get to know the real you. Your parents did the best they could and maybe their best was crap -- I believe you when you tell me that you had an unhappy childhood or an abusive husband, or any other really horrible life experience that might have come your way. But you don't have a right to force your self-pity on anyone within earshot. Save it for therapy.

When The Blamer is a child. It has to be said -- people we are raising a generation of whiny brats and this is a much bigger threat to the future of our country than our waistlines. Manufactured victimization does nothing for our self-esteem. I'm gonna let an expert say it, "Charles Sykes argues that educators' emphasis on egalitarianism and building self-esteem have caused an eroding of true learning in the American classroom." A Nation of Victims.

This goes for adults tooI am a fat woman. I am not thin. I do not blame my mother's encouragement to finish everything on my plate as the reason for my being fat. I have a thin friend who felt guilty as a child for not eating more and she forced herself to eat as much as she could to please her mom. Her mom would pinch her tummy and tsk and say, "too thin" with a sorrowful expression on her face. My grandmother would pinch my tummy and say "zaftik" with a sorrowful expression on her face. Regardless of the outcome in our comparative weights these women who loved us were not abusive.

How to Deal with The Blamers. The idea that life would be peaches and cream, butterflies and sunny days, a non-stop Gershwin romantic musical if only someone else hadn't rained on your passion parade is beyond ridiculous. I believe that my life is absolutely perfect. A perfect life consists of joy and misery, loving myself and having low self-esteem, feeling pretty and feeling ugly, physical health and illness, sharing laughs with friends and fighting with someone I love. Life is an enormous menu of experience available to me at all times and I want it all, even the bad stuff. Walk away my friends, you gotta walk away.


Anonymous said...

You know, um ...

I don't think you offered this caveat prior to starting your series, Corinna --

that we might -- just might -- see little, teeny, tiny, infinitesimal pieces of ourselves somewhere in here?

Well, it's healing. Like a laser. I'm not sure I'm not afraid to come back tomorrow. :D

Corinna Makris said...

littlem I believe that every person we come into contact with is a mirror in some way for ourself. We won't always like what we see, but then again sometimes we see our greatness.

Unknown said...

Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon absolute truth. See the link below for more info.