I talk about personal responsibility a lot, and many people think that it is an odd thing for a psychopath to have such a strong stance on. Aren’t psychopaths rather notorious for dodging responsibility? Yes, yes we are, and it is easy to do when you feel no guilt. That does not mean, however, that it is the correct choice, and frankly, the lack of personal responsibility is one of the reasons that people are so miserable and the world is such a mess.
First, let’s talk about me and my lack of personal responsibility for a good portion of my life. Being impulsive, having a high occurrence of boredom, and doing a fair amount of thrill-seeking has left me in some rather unfortunate spots of my own making. When I was younger it was easy to point my finger at the most likely candidate to be thrown under the bus in my stead, and it usually worked for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I was taught personal responsibility when I was a kid, and throughout my life, and had a great deal of it when it came to some things. If I say I am going to do something, I do. If I have responsibilities to handle I did so. It wasn’t as though it was a totally foreign concept, and that’s good. Had it been, I don’t imagine that I would have really taken the time to consider it more deeply.
When I met my Significant Other, he wasn’t particularly pleased with that behavior, but I wasn’t particularly inclined to change it, so we were at a bit of an impasse. One of the tactics that he has always adopted with me is modeling, along with logical reasoning that he would explain to me, but only if I asked. However, another tactic he has always used is calling me out on my garbage and holding me to account.
The thing about calling me out, I don’t have shame, and I know that what he is saying is factual, so instead of being apologetic and humbled, him doing so makes me laugh. He takes this, and he runs with it, being as obnoxious as he can be. Mind you, he only does this when we are on our own. when dealing with others he is far more subtle, but he makes his point.
I was not used to being called out. Like… at all. No one ever did before, because frankly, people fell for my sh*t. I was good at lying, throwing people under the bus, I was good at dodging responsibility, that’s why I am not in jail. His constant inability to be fooled or manipulated by me made me take stock in why I did things the way I did, and it was because it was easy. I don’t get anything out of being a victim, but if being a victim would keep me from having to serve time, here comes the waterworks, and believe me, they are a sight to behold.
It was time to reconsider things. I was around this person all the time, and my usual way of being didn’t work. Like all things for me, change came when it was self-serving. There was never a point in time where I said to myself, my manipulation doesn’t work on him. Maybe I shouldn’t manipulate him because it is wrong. Nope. It was, hm, that doesn’t work, and I have to shift gears. I have no choice, so what do I do now?
Then I started to consider how I made myself responsible in other ways, how was this different? It really wasn't. If I say I am going to do something, I do it. That made sense to me. Why did that make sense? I had learned as a child that human interaction is a system. When you state that you will input into that system, parts of that system rely on that input. If you fail to deliver, then the system is crippled. It is your responsibility to fulfill your role.
If I do something, and that something has caused harm, that is causing harm to the system as well. The failure that results is due to that action, and that action is one that I put in place. I input the cause of that failure. It stands to reason that I take the responsibility for it. The system begins to function again. It’s neat, it’s orderly. I like that.
Then I took it further than that. I like a certain way of living. The way that I like to live is dependent on the world being a certain way. My contribution to the world needs to be one that benefits how I want to live. Therefore, my contribution needs to be that of the world in which I want to live. I dislike drama, I dislike disagreements, so being responsible for my actions lowers the number of these unpleasant unnecessary dealings that I have to deal with.
However, what happens when that doesn’t work, and not only do you have to change how you do things, you kind of wonder what other ways there are to do things. It was a slow process, and I learned how to be accountable, and am obnoxiously so at this point. I have no issue saying that I did something, or if there is a need for me to apologize I will do so without the dreaded word “but”. That is always a great way to derail an apology, let me tell you. It basically erases everything that you have said up until this point and then attempts to excuse your behavior. That isn’t well-received by most people.
Then I started to consider responsibility on a larger scale, and what did it mean to not be so? What effects did that have on the world? A lot of really terrible ones, let me tell you.
Just the other day I got a message from someone wanting to know if I felt unfortunate to be a woman. Mind you, this is another woman asking me. When I questioned why I would ever think that way, I was gifted a lengthy explanation about how women basically are the tools of men and motherhood without any ability to be powerful in their own right.
The first thing I consider when I get messages like this is what part of the world are they writing me from. I have gotten many a communique from people that are in countries where their opportunities are extremely limited and they are at high risk for victimhood. I check, we are not dealing with that sort of situation. This is a person who has every opportunity to be powerful in their own right, but instead has decided to ingest this victim mentality and believe that women are second class underprivileged people.
I am sure you have figured out by now that a feminist I am not. I have no interest in any of that noise, and find myself to be extremely powerful in my own right. I have no need for anyone’s opinion on my life or my choices, and I am certainly not second class to anyone.
There is a line in a song by The Hu. The song itself is titled, “Woman’s Song”. It is a phenomenal piece of work, and you can hear it below:
The English part of the lyrics to the song are thus:
I am bones and I am skin
I am home, where life begins
I’ve started wars, I’ve given peace
Across the ocean, I carry the seed
I’m your lover
I’m your mother
I’m your sister
I’m your daughter
When Kings fall to their knees
They sing a woman’s song
When birds scream in the trees
They sing a woman’s song
The sunrise in the east
Sings a woman’s song
Every heart that beats
Sings a woman’s song
I am fire
I am water
I am empress
I am thunder
I am flower
I am wonder
I’m the object of your desire
I am beauty
I am grace
I am faith
The song concludes with the line, “Every heart beats a woman’s song”, repeated several times over.
The entire song makes my point, but the line in particular:
“When Kings fall to their knees they sing a woman’s song”.
is that point encapsulated neatly. Women have been powerful participants in history for all of humankind. Women have always been powerful, but recently there is this mentality that they have always been oppressed and beaten down. If that is the lens through which you see history, you are extremely limited in your understanding of how we got to where we are.
This is just one example of how people will see themselves and place unnecessary limitations on themselves to provide themselves absolution for their inaction or their bad actions. I see this so very often in the people that write as though they are psychopathic when they see psychopathy as a shield to do whatever they want and pretend that they are dangerous.
What does that provide for a person in the end? It provides them nothing. It gives them a rut that they can rest their bones in until they rot away from stagnation. Nothing has ever prevented me from doing what I want to do, and I have never thought to myself that because I am X, Y, or Z I am unable to do something.
There are plenty of things that I am incapable of, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t another way around. There is always a way to succeed, but if I believed that I couldn’t why would I ever bother trying in the first place? In many cases, it is easier to just complain. In others being a victim feels really nice, and sympathy is like a drug. Sometimes it is self-pity that makes a person halt themselves from living a good life, sometimes it is actual bad circumstances that stand in their way.
I am the first to admit that some people get a really raw deal. Remember, I have a friend that works with severe abuse cases. I have seen truly evil acts, and the aftermath of those acts on the people that were there. You might think that the people there have a right to complain, to stagnate, to blame, to be victims. Do you know what I saw there most often though? Deference to someone else’s circumstances.
If you had two boys, and each of them suffered terribly, each would say about the other, “I have no place to complain. What he went through was so much worse.”
“It wasn’t that bad, I can get better.”
That was what one of them used to say to me all the time. I would say back, “It was that bad, and yes, you can get better.” To which he would smile and nod. There are a lot of things in life that are unfair. There are a lot of things in life that are hard, and some nearly impossible. There are some things in life outside of your control, but as it was once said by Haruki Murakami:
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”
People have invested so much of their time and identities into suffering. It defines who they are, and if you remove it, they will find more just to keep the status quo. It is the blanket that they surround themselves with that keeps them from having to be the one that is responsible for their own lives and where they end up.
I get it, blame is easy. So much easier than having to do something about how you messed up. It is easier to give an excuse than an owed apology. It is easier to insist that you are right in the presence of all the evidence to the contrary instead of accepting that you might be wrong.
So, where does this leave us? It leaves us back at the beginning. When our lungs first start to rise and fall with breath, it should be our first lesson that our lives are our domain. Commanding them is both our privilege, and our responsibility. We have to be our own keeper, and we have to accept that our actions are our own and to be there at the beginning, the middle, and the end. We have provided too many excuses for people. We have given them too much cover to hide behind. Our world is one of concessions instead of account. It benefits no one to be in a country surrounded by opportunity, but all they see are impossible obstacles.
This begins with children, but it ends with adults. When children are not taught that their actions have consequences, as adults when that reality becomes clear it is a very uncomfortable reality to wake up in. When children have been taught that a tantrum nets them results it is thought, they will learn when they get to the real world. The parents shove off that responsibility thinking that it will be someone else’s problem, but the real world is becoming one of coddling the victim and encouraging them to complain. Those complaints are then answered with more concessions, and the world becomes more difficult.
Personal responsibility should be what being an adult is about. Why people want to nurture the victim instead of the victor in others is vexing to me. A world of victims are looking for villains, and that creates tribalism that cannot be undone. If you are constantly the downtrodden, you are looking to see who the boot is on your neck. Instead of seeing your own, it is much better to say that it is someone doing it to you.
There are plenty of excuses that can be given to me to justify why people think the way that they do. I have heard so many, and all of them coming from people that are unhappy in their lives. What I ask them, and they resent hearing is, “How’s that working out for you?” The answer is never, “good.”
I could provide myself with a thousand reasons why I can’t do something. I could waste all day making a list, then condemning that list for oppressing me, but then what would I ever get done? How happy would I be? I have the simple version of this. If I don’t do anything then I’m still more or less content. I won’t get angry at myself, I won’t feel like I wasted my life, I’ll just be a different version of myself.
Neurotypicals, on the other hand, you guys have regret, and if you do nothing in your life because you tell yourself that you are too much of a victim so why bother trying, you’re going to hate the life that you lead, and it is self-induced suffering. That seems like a waste to me.
Instead, start looking for your opportunities. Start thinking about the world in the sense that you just have to find your way through it, instead of it being a weight sitting on your shoulders. Sitting alone, thinking about how you can’t because someone is holding you back, you’re right, someone is. That someone is you. If you identify as a victim, your abuser is looking back at you steadily from the mirror.
There was once a great quote that said:
My dad always told me and my brothers this:
Hard work wins. You get out of life what you put into it. You can’t control the outcome, but you are one hundred percent in control of the effort. And before you get mad at someone else for what you think that they have done to you, go to the nearest mirror, look into it and say; What could I do to change the outcome. And he also said, no matter how good you are, no matter how hard you work, sooner or later bad things are going to happen. How you respond to those bad things is what is going to tell your mom and me whether or not we raised a man.
That’s personal responsibility.
Note: I will not be publishing next week. I wanted to make sure that you all were aware.
Do you know how elephants get tamed?
Through learned helplessness, at an early age. It's much, much harder to undo than to set in. It's arguably the exact same process used to train victims.
Once the elephant grows, it will be help in place by a puny string of rope that it could very well break off - if not for the underlying conditioning.
Once the victim mentality takes root, removing it is like trying to remove a pebble from your shoe. You remove the shoe and shake it upside down - only to realize the pebble is actually stuck inside your heel.
Except it's not a pebble - it's your personal irresponsibility. It was handed to you victim as part of the victim taming process.
It was given to you in place of the scalpel of personal responsibility that could have empowered you, and made you better suited for life. And you have grown blunt and accustomed to that uncomfortable pebble you never knew was there. Injury was added to insult. So now what?
Now you need to do something about both the insult AND the injury AND get yourself a scalpel.
My point: personal responsibility is indeed the secret sauce to overcome a victim mentality... but there are obstacles that shouldn't be realistically ignored.
One who sets out to such undertaking still needs to excise the deep-rooted irresponsibility from within, they still need to at least grab hold of a scalpel, and they still need to learn how to use it properly going forward.
It won't be easy. It could be the hardest, most daunting thing one has ever tried doing. But it will also be the most worthwhile.
And here I thought you were just going to talk about being sick of NTs crying about stupid crap they created themselves! I'm not a psychopath, but I have noticed that emotionally my temperature is a lot cooler than other NTs I know and I think about that all the time. I spent many years trying to get my friends to realize things that would have been obvious with some objectivity. (I was an asshole in my own right, and I know it.)
My mom felt like that about women and how men are so terrible and selfish. It took me years to rid myself of that crap and do things my way. I've wasted a lot of years afraid she was right.