Who is Responsible?

I’ve been having a discussion regarding the idea being responsibility for other people’s thoughts and feelings. Our society pays lip service to the notion that we all must own our own thoughts and feelings. Yet, when it comes to things that grate against what we hold is true for ourselves such as the freedom to wear or not wear what we want really don’t believe in freedom at all. We want to control, we need to control others. And when they don’t obey, they become our enemies. We abhor different. “Remove the hijab, the niqab, the burka. Don’t be naked. Don’t dress like white trash. You are making me angry. It’s all your fault!

For some reason, call it insecurity and self-doubt, we believe others when they tell us we are responsible for their anger, their sadness, their happiness, their very life. With the exception of being responsible as parents to care for our children until they can care for themselves, this is not even remotely true.

If I, as an adult male, smile at a child (I am a grandfather and father and not a paedophile), the child invariably smiles back. I didn’t do anything but smile. Yet somehow, if the child cries (what wound has the child suffered?) I somehow am responsible for that response. Why did the child cry when a hundred others smiled in return? If I am to believe that I am responsible for the tears and the smiles with the same action, logic gets thrown out the window.

How you respond to any stimulus is your responsibility. Of course, since most of those responses are unconscious responses based on complexes that grew out of your adaptation to life, it becomes easy to understand why you would blame others for your feeling responses. Society is nothing but a collective of this individual unconscious response, magnified. And it shows up in our laws, in our phobias, in our responses to others who appear different, behave different, think different, pray differently, and even eat different foods cooked in strange ways. These others become our scapegoats the ones we blame for our own fear and confusion. The last person we would expect to be responsible for our bad behaviours towards others would be ourselves.

She deserved to get raped. Did you see what she was wearing?” We blame the victim. If a child suffers abuse, we still have a hard time with the child turning his or her parent in to the authorities. In the end, the child gets blamed for ripping the family apart. If a man gets raped, he is to blame for not having the balls to stand up for himself. He is punished for being weak.

And finally for this post, this last image spells it out clearly. “Somebody is at fault and it sure as hell isn’t us.” [Yes, this was said with a bit of sarcasm]

About rgl

A retired Canadian educator and psychotherapist living in Mexico in the winter and in Canada the rest of the year.
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