Addicted to your own toxicity?
There is an addictive quality to playing the victim, power tripping, yelling, blaming, also guilting and shaming someone else. There is an addictive quality to making someone else wrong and responsible for your feelings. You think it will make you feel better, but it never does in the end.
A place where this is played out all the time is punitive parenting. Kids are the perfect target and pawn in this terrible game.
It was evident in myself and when I talk to parents who are trying to transition from a punitive “Power Over” kind of parenting to a more conscious kind of parenting. There’s a moment at which people realize that I’m suggesting things can be done completely differently, and that it is a choice: Their choice… to continue on with hurtful behaviors…or to take responsibility and stop.
There’s a moment when the “addict” gets scared that he’ll never be able to get the hit again. I hear things from parents like “but surely we can’t just let kids get away with anything and everything. But there must come a time for consequences. I have to be able to put my foot down. But but what about when safety is on the line…You can’t tell me I can’t yell then. I can’t be expected to control myself ALL the time. There has to come a point when…”
When what? Finish the sentence and then deconstruct it. For me it was: There has to come a time when I get to lose it and power trip and blame.
😲 If I’m honest that was it.
Defending harmful parenting behavior is like scrambling, bartering or angling to still be able to engage in harmful behavior and to justify the behavior…like an addict.
But what exactly is this behavior addiction, what is the hit?
This is going to sound strange but there is something satisfying in pointing a finger, blaming and abdicating responsibility. There is high of righteousness that feels lustfully satisfying. There’s something unrestrained, something freeing even, something powerful.
For me, there was an addictive quality in going from victim to aggressor in the blink of an eye. There was a hit, a rush. The hit and the rush feels good in a way. In the moment. But then later, if I allowed myself to survey the damage and take stock of my behavior…it did not feel good. Just like an addict.
And here is the kick in the junk – the truth is that I hadn’t actually changed my position at all. Just like an addict. I hadn’t even gained more power or gotten any sustainable relief. I was still disempowered, only now I was yelling about it and blaming someone much younger than me for being responsible for my feelings. My temporary high was fleeting.
I might as well have been yelling: “I don’t like how I feel. I don’t exactly know why I feel this way. I don’t know what to do so I’m going to blame you because I have the positional power to do so and then maybe this time I’ll feel like I finally have some control over my life.”
It’s a ruse. The hit is just that, a hit. No more. It’s drug, and the effects fade.
The truth is that real power resides NOT in blaming or abdicating responsibility, or in unregulated and triggered responses…but in Self regulation, Sovereignty and alignment with your own integrity.
The cure to the “blaming addiction” is to acknowledge and feel your own feelings. Maybe it’s fear or powerlessness. To sit with those feelings before you pass them on as anger or blame.
This is hard to do. It’s a tender thing to do. To allow yourself to feel fear or powerlessness. To recognize where this might have originally come from.
It’s not about playing victim or creating a disempowered story. It’s a way to take responsibility for what is going on inside of you. The idea is that when you sit with how you feel, express it and make sense of it, it gets metabolized.
If You Do Not Transform Your Pain, You Will Transmit It