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Finding the balance of "personal responsibility" - December 11th 2016, 05:58 AM

This may fit better somewhere else, feel free to move to a better place.

The idea of "personal responsibility" has been driving me crazy lately. There seems to be two sides to this. There's the "victim" side for lack of a better term, where things happen to you and people hurt you and you react, and there's the opposite where you have complete control over yourself and you're reaction so no one can make you a "victim" There are problems with either side.

If you control nothing that happens to you, then there are constant excuses, you never have to change things that aren't working, you don't have to accept, or work through things that happen to you, and you are just miserable and it's everyone else's fault. We probably all know at least one person like this!

On the other hand, if you're responsible for everything, then other people are let off the hook. It's like saying anyone can do anything they want to you and get away with it because it's your fault they hurt you. I think part of taking responsibility for yourself is to treat other people like human beings, but a lot of times I think this concept gets used as an excuse by people who hurt you so they can avoid responsibility for whatever they did. I actually had someone tell me "Everyone is responsible for their own behavior, so it's your fault I'm treating you this way." Umm. no?!

Tell me there's a balance here. Sometimes we are victims and I think it's okay to acknowledge this and to blame, or hold someone else accountable for what they did to us, but at some point, you have to "take responsibility" and start dealing with it.

Somewhat unrelated: I also struggle with this in terms of disability. Like how much of someone's behavior or obstacles are legitimate because of their disability and when is it used as an excuse; "This is the way I am, it's not my fault I (fill in the blank) and I shouldn't be held accountable"?


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Re: Finding the balance of "personal responsibility" - December 14th 2016, 12:16 PM

I totally understand the point you are making, but also think it's not so clear cut as that.

I think everyone has some level of responsibility, although there are occasions where things unfortunately happen beyond your control and you can't possibly be held responsible and hence being a 'victim' of the circumstances.

At the same time, being responsible for everything that happens to you, is also a lot like being a victim, in that if there is someone else partly responsible, taking the whole responsibility is not fair. More so if the person hurt you. I really don't understand what that person said to you...it sounds like they wanted to avoid responsibility for their own actions, and blamed you instead.

But yes, I firmly believe that there is a balance and sometimes we are victims, but other times we do have to acknowledge our own responsibility as well as others.

Adding on to the disability, I can see why you would struggle to figure out how much is your responsibility, and how much is beyond your control with your disability. I'm not sure how to deal with that, but if there is something in particular you struggle with that comes from your disability, I think it's fair for you to take less responsibility in that aspect. Or if you feel there is a situation that you can't change e.g. if you can think of ways you could learn from the situation to avoid it or do better in the future, that would be seen as taking responsibility, whereas if things are unavoidable because of your disability, then you can't really be held accountable for it. If that makes sense.


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