Before the summer of 2005, I made ‘everything’ about me – that’s anything that went wrong that I could find even the most minuscule of reasons to take the credit for. Something great happening? Even if I acknowledged that I had a part in it, I’d be waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Absorbing the blame for stuff and wondering what the hell was wrong with me fuelled 28 years of believing that I’m not good enough. While being a Florence wasn’t my M.O, at the heart of most of my relationships was a need for the other person and ‘things’ to change, or even changing myself. I must have thought I had capabilities that veered between being a Transformer, Inspector Gadget, and a Messiah with healing ways.
I’m clearly not alone because millions of people seem to claim the credit for other people’s behaviour with the ease of breathing.
If you have low or even zilch self-esteem, despite not loving and liking yourself enough, you have ‘inverted’ ego issues. Just like getting an ego stroke, collecting attention, serving your own agenda at the expense of others, and at the extreme end of things, being a narcissist are ego issues, so is low self-esteem.
If you spend your life being a blame absorber, feeling ashamed over crappy things that other people have done, wondering “Why me? Why wasn’t I good enough for a jackass or even an abuser? What was wrong with me that I was turned down in 1983?” and other such things that basically say “I know there is something wrong with me why all of this stuff is happening”, you’re on the flipside of the ego issue – you make everything about you to persist in an identity that says “I’m not good enough.”
‘Everything’ is made into a confirmation of the fact that you’re not a worthwhile valuable person.
‘Everything’ points in the direction that you weren’t and aren’t being and doing enough.
You see a dark side in ‘everything’ – you just can’t believe it hasn’t got something to do with something being wrong with you.
You take full responsibility for the failure of the relationship while also taking full responsibility for trying to make the relationship a success.
You take responsibility for other people’s actions while blowing smoke up their arses on a pedestal.
It doesn’t matter who and what a person does; because you’re in the picture, you wonder what you could have said, did, and been for it all to be different.
When it’s an exes birthday or a major event happens, you ruminate about getting in touch with them because you’re worried about how you look and what they will think of you if you do or don’t.
You worry about being the Good Girl/Guy so much that you do stuff that completely erodes your own boundaries and become a doormat.
But do you know what focusing on others, absorbing all of their actions and making everything about you does? It completely avoids accountability and responsibility. By you taking responsibility for their actions, you unwittingly imply that others act because of others, hence anything that you’re being and doing that detracts from you in the process, isn’t because of you but because of them and the situation.
Not everything is about you.
While you may not like or love yourself, you’re letting your own ego not only rule and blind you but completely obscure your interactions and the other person.
Do you know what’s about you? YOU. Your actions, or lack thereof.
Do you know what’s about them? THEM. Their actions or lack thereof.
You can go up, down, and round about it but their actions have never been about you. Their actions are about them. You can only enable existing behaviour and character by offering yourself up as a doormat and staying instead of walking.
When you have inverted ego issues, you persist not only in trying to be the exception to the rule but also in pursuing love against the odds. For you, love has to come from an unlikely source for it to feel like it’s love and that you’re worthy.
That’s like saying: Only someone that’s had to change from what I recognise as inappropriate or downright dangerous is capable of loving someone like me.
It’s like you’ve gone to the Pity Shelter and said “You in all your broken down dysfunctional glory that I recognise as being someone lacking in character, are gonna love me. No person that likes and loves themselves is gonna want someone like you. You could try but it wouldn’t last. Now while we’re not the same, I’m a decent person that doesn’t like and love myself a lot – we could strike a deal and if you change, and love and validate me, which will help me realise my potential, I’ll make you into a good person.”
That’s why I don’t believe in trying to force people to change and knowingly taking up with people that have code amber and red behaviours and feeling like it’s your right to impose your values because ‘no person should want to be this way’.
It’s not about you. The only person that has to be and do anything because of you is you. In fact the only person that is being and doing anything because of you is you.
Anything that anyone else is doing is because of their own personal agenda. Unless you have a mutually fulfilling copiloted relationship, which in itself means including stuff like commitment and responsibility, until then, you’re both doing your own thing for your own agenda. Even in that relationship, by having shared values, you put two personal agendas together that share common ties, commitment and direction and co-pilot the relationship. You’re still independent, valuable entities.
It may surprise some of you to know that everybody’s boundaries get crossed – great self-esteem, low self-esteem, we all experience it, it’s just that how you feel about you governs how you’ll deal with it.
It doesn’t matter what you say or do, if someone is unavailable, they and only they can change it. If they hang around dipping in and out of your life, getting an ego stroke, shag etc, after they’ve said that they couldn’t give you what you want, their lack of commitment isn’t down to you. What is down to you is the fact that they can still do it with you.
It’s not about you. To continue to make it about you is like having an incredibly strange codependent relationship with the universe while having delusions of blame-absorbing-grandeur. Your personal results from your actions are the mirror that you need to hold up to yourself.
If you’ve ever blown a gasket and told someone all about themselves and how their actions impact you and been greeted with a blank face, it’s because they’re likely thinking:
“Er HELLO! I’m being who I am because I’m about ME. I didn’t do this stuff because I think you’re not good enough. I did this because I can, it’s who I am and I would’ve done it ANYWAY”.
I remember being told that my parents aren’t infallible and not everything they were and did was about me – they had their own problems going on. My kinesiologist was looking at me like I was on crack for carrying that burden and suddenly I saw it through someone else’s eyes. I walked out of that room thinking “Jaysus Natalie! Get over yourself! Not everything is about you!” and I looked at my whole life differently from that moment onwards.
Yours could be too if you put the overactive ego on the back burner and get some balance. Own your stuff – leave everyone else to own theirs.