Never hold yourself accountable for what you can NOT control.
Always be accountable for what you DO control.
People who do not fully and properly evolve past their traumatic past will sometimes weaponize their trauma and their past.
Remember that an unhealed trauma survivor might take their victim status to a point that is to a completely and totally off-the-charts level of manipulation.
In an unhealed traumatic abuse survivor, this will always happen to whomever is “next” in the relationship. Instead of healthily associating the responsibility to the person who hurt them, they will associate their unhealed pain onto whomever comes “next“.
That’s when you need to stop, take a look back and ask yourself what you could and could not control.
Can I control how often she thought there was an affair? Nope. I kept the the zipper shut for only the one I loved, just like I was raised. Do I control myself? Yes. Do I control the accusations? No. When the significant other has been freely given access to bank records, GPS cell info, chats, text messages, Facebook, email and anything else, then when the other person’s paranoia still persists, then it’s their responsibility.
Am I in charge of what triggers someone to go into a delusional state of panic? Nope. What do I control? I can control my own situation-specific capacity to deescalate the anxiety. Someone else’s lack of desire for healthy healing is not my responsibility.
Do I control how many times someone else calls police & then subsequently instigates others to call police? Nope. Do I control how many times I make public records requests. Absolutely! How many times someone pranks the police is not my responsibility.
For Honest Accountability, you need to make sure that you keep a very clear understanding of what IS and what IS NOT your responsibility.
A person’s trauma can become both trophy and weapon. An individual’s vengeful anger from unhealed traumatic pain is never a justification for you to feel guilty for something that you cannot control.
Here’s a great phrase that you might want to use when deescalating a situation:
In your opinion, what should they have done less of to not __(insert claim here)__?
It’s a quirky question, but sometimes it works. Quite often, it might help spark the other person to really listen to what they are saying. Notice in these examples, you never approach the sentence with a denial. Roll with the accusations as much as possible and see if the other person will independently spark or initiate their own understanding of what they’re saying. It might seem odd at first, but follow along.
- What do you think your significant other could have done differently to be ‘having an affair’ less? Could you think of a few actions they should have done to have less affairs?
- Just to make sure, when you mention that your spouse was ‘gas lighting’ you, is there a possibility that actually your partner trying to deescalate moments of grandiose anxiety attacks? If not, then what should he have done differently, or less of in your opinion, so that he wasn’t ‘gas lighting’ you?
- So, your under the impression that he was harassing his ex-girlfriend and his mother. Help us understand what it is that he should have done to be harassing them less?
See where that’s going? Again, it might seem a bit odd at first, but try it.
The next time someone wants you to be accountable for someone else’s rumor / lie / accusation / or gossip, simply listen carefully, validate their claim, and ask them, “So what is it you feel I could have done differently?”
Sometimes people need a bit of a little spark to get them out of their cognitive bias, gender bias, or pre-conceived notion, or their ill thought out conclusion. And, it’s actually pretty simple to help them see things for what they are. You just need to try.
If your mom is dead, and someone is blowing through their restraining order, you really don’t necessarily need to get mad at the person accusing you. Simply ask them, “Look, I hear your anger, and I know you’d really like to be right in this scenario. However, if ___ has a protective order and a restraining order stating that she should stop instigating, and mine and my sister’s mom is clearly laying in the grave, in your opinion, can you explain what it is that I should have done less?” And, simply pause, wait, and listen to the person’s reply.
Should there be an obsessively paranoid spouse proudly boasting to others that there’s been elicit loads of affairs, simply ask that person, “I’ve shared every login possible, and freely given access to anything and everything she could possibly want. Can you think of anything else I should have done to be accused of elicit affairs a bit less?” And, simply let the other person ponder that for a few minutes and patiently wait for a response.
If the words don’t add up, it’s usually because the truth was not included in the equation.
Always be accountable for what you alone can control. Nothing more & nothing less.