I knew a person who was deeply unhappy because her son was going down the wrong roads of vice and misbehaving very badly, especially with her. This mother often confessed how unhappy she was. But she defended herself by claiming that her son was solely to blame for her unhappiness. Consequently, it was her son who had to change so that she could start to be happy, at least a little. Entrenched in these thoughts, she felt it was her right to abuse her son with sullen attitudes and hurtful reproaches. In her heart of hearts she was convinced that this harsh way of behaving was right and proper. But then, of course, the inevitable happened: the son, thus mistreated, reacted by increasing his consumption and becoming increasingly rude and defiant. The situation sometimes became unbearable.
The habit of “blaming someone else” is so common and so harmful that it is worth talking about. For it is the habit of attributing our negative feelings – anger, annoyance, annoyance, rage… – to the behaviour of others. As if to say: “I suffer, but you are to blame. So, for me to stop suffering, you have to change. If you don’t, I give myself permission to hurt you. It’s fair and reasonable on my part. Besides, it’s my only defence“.
But, on reflection, doesn’t this seem like an absurd way to proceed, isn’t this mother abdicating her responsibility, giving the child this tremendous power over herself? The offender not only makes himself dependent, but hands over to the other person the most precious thing in his life: the source of his happiness in this life. And this consequently only fosters incurable resignation, scepticism and helplessness.
The opposite of blaming the other seems to be to “let him be what he is“. What the other does or says should not condition my happiness. I do not allow myself to be manipulated by him. We can say: “Do what you want, behave as you want. You are free. But also – I want you to know – I am free“.
That doesn’t mean disregarding or being cruel to the “apparently weaker”. It means to discover oneself free in front of the other and submitted only to God who is Love and not a tyrant who can enslave me. Because this is the only way to help him: without manipulation or trickery. Let us think about it carefully: When we allow others to manipulate our feelings, do we not become our own jailers?
Juan Carlos cmf
(FOTO: Wesley Tingey)