G is for Guilt (and B is for Blame)

abcalphabet-letter-gI’ve started and restarted this posting about ten times now. The fact is I’m not so sure that I can do what I’ve challenged myself to do. You see, my counselor told me that one of the ways I can get beyond some of my issues is to talk about the situations that caused those issues in the first place. So I was going to use this forum to start to tell some of those stories.

The problem is I’m scared to tell some of them. Crazy as that sounds, considering what I’ve already disclosed on this blog. Maybe it’s because the stories I have to tell are not only about me. They’re about my parents and my brother. Relatives and friends. Persons both innocent and guilty.

How do I tell stories of what happened to me without making people I love sound like monsters? By the time I explained why they did such things my blog posts would be millions of words long. And the purpose of telling my stories is not to explain them, it’s to explain me. Me. The person I hate the most. And the person I can’t get away from.

Ultimately I suppose what I’m dealing with here is guilt and blame. I’ve always resisted the impulse to blame people for what they do. In an attempt to make sense of the world I’ve often tried to figure out why people do things (this person stayed with their abuser because they were afraid of being alone. That person abused their partner because that was the behavior modeled to them as a child. And so on). In my head I thought that if I could figure out why a person did something than that meant they weren’t a bad person. If it wasn’t their fault, then they weren’t evil, and ultimately I wasn’t evil.

But the older I get the more I realize that why a person does something doesn’t remove the fact that they have chosen to do it. And just because they chose to do something bad doesn’t mean that I have to find a way to excuse it if it hurt me.

The guilt, however, of it all still gets to me. I feel guilty for making something a person’s fault. If, for example, I say that it’s my mother’s fault for withdrawing her affection at a time that I really needed it, then, in my head anyway, it’s like I’m saying that my mother is a bad person. Then I feel guilty for thinking of her as bad. Because she wasn’t bad, she was just a human being.

What I don’t know how to do is rearrange the thoughts in my head so that I don’t have to place blame. So I don’t have to make everything so black and white, good and bad, blame and guilt.

Can I do it? We’ll find out.

Coming up next post, my first memory.