Friday, November 2, 2012

Whose fault is it?

Lately, I have been thinking about victims and offenders in certain situations. Don't we all rather like to see ourselves as victims? It is so much easier to blame someone else for things that go wrong in our lives. 

I mentioned this in several posts, I have never had a good relationship to my parents or to my brother, due to things happening that I have no words for.

There is this idea that in some cases it is not only the offender’s but also the victim’s fault because the victim lets it happen and doesn’t defend himself.
Let me explain. When I was a little child, I was rather shy. Actually that is an understatement.  I was very shy, I almost never talked to strangers, and in particular I avoided talking to adults. I think I was afraid of doing something wrong. I was also a compliant child, I did everything my parents asked me to do, although apparently often doing it wrong in their eyes.
My brother, in contrast, was quite revolting and whenever he didn’t get what he wanted, he created terror. Besides, he had a talent in lying and ingratiating himself with others, especially with our mother. As a result, it didn't matter much how I felt about certain decisions, which was kind of my own fault.
For instance, there were these humiliating situations my brother liked to spit on me, literally, just because he thought it was fun, or because he knew I didn't like it, or without any reason at all. My parents decided I had to endure this because they didn’t want to have troubles with him and I, on the other hand, didn’t cause so much trouble, so it was easier that way.
This was only a little prelude to things he later committed.
However, I remember exactly this one moment when again my mother decided it wouldn’t matter what I wanted because my brother wanted something else and all of a sudden my father said: Why does she always have to back down? This was the moment I decided he was right and I began to express my own opinions and to disagree with my mother. As a consequence, our relationship became even worse with every year that passed.
Anyway, I never really defended myself much when I was young, so I made it easy for my parents and my brother to take advantage of that. On the other hand, I was just a little child and all I tried to do was to make my parents love me or be proud of me.
But shouldn’t my parents have known better?
One thing that I also considered is, what if my brother was made the way he is now? Is it even his fault? Are maybe my parents responsible for the way he behaves? Was he taught to behave ruthless?
I consider that possible. Nonetheless, even though he might not have had the right education, he should know some basic things, he should know things like sexual abuse are wrong. Or can he have lost the ability to feel someone else's pain?

If someone was raised thinking that he can just take anything he wants without any consequences, is it his fault when he continues thinking that way once he is an adult?
It almost seems as if he is a victim.

So whose fault is it really? Who is to blame?
Is it the one who does something wrong? The ones that didn’t teach that person what is wrong? Or is it the one who didn’t defend himself or herself enough?

In my opinion, you can’t just make someone else responsible for your own decisions. Even if it might partly be my parents’ fault, even if they partially made my brother the way he is, you cannot blame them for everything he does. I mean, wouldn’t that result in going backwards more and more? What if my parents were treated badly as children? Was it then their parents’ fault?
At some point, you are responsible for your own actions and you cannot blame someone else for committing a crime. At some point, you just have to decide to leave the vicious circle, you have to know about your responsibility for your own actions. A difficult childhood is so often used as an excuse for behaving badly. In my opinion, it might sometimes explain some behaviors, but it doesn’t excuse them.  
Finally, at some point and in some cases, it might also be important to stop whining about your victimhood and start seeing yourself as an independent being.


  1. Absolutely agree with your conclusion. Ultimately, it is our own actions which determine who we are and what we get out of life. "One must first learn to live oneself before one blames others."-Dostoyevsky

    1. Yes, I think in the end we are responsible for our own actions.
      Thank you!

    2. I totally agree with what NP has written here.

      Even if we were taught or allowed to do wrong and evil as children, when we then become adults we will learn very quickly what is right from what is wrong in society and will bear the consequences of our actions. I hear very very often how people blame absolutely everything on their childhood and it becomes a vicious circle never taking responsibility. Some people tend to just use it as an everyday excuse for any wrong-doing but what a way to live?ie: having a victim mentality all the time.

      Some people will go as far as to portray themselves in a victim status in order to manipulate people into giving them what they want, beit time, money, food, clothes, etc..... I have seen this being done time and time again. It's like feeding off other people's emotions. Once they have got what they wanted they move on to the next person.

      Loved your post as usual Kleopatra. Keep it up.

    3. Unfortunately it is right that there are so many people who never take responsibility for their actions and use their childhood as an excuse for everything.
      I really think that one has to overcome this victim mentality.

      Thank you so much, RPD!

  2. I see you answered your question and you did it right.

    I still can't figure if some of us behave certain ways because they inherited certain behaviors from their parents and grandparents but in the case of your brother he's a victim in the eyes of his parents, but he's should look as a victim in your eyes. The way he behaves is due to your parents lack of parenting. When I'm saying that he shouldn't look as a victim to you I meant that you didn't turn out as he did, therefore all the blame cannot be assigned to your parents, most of it yes, but not all of it. Your brother is a grown-up now, he should know better, apparently life didn't kick his butt yet, but the past will catch him up and he will get exactly what he deserves, he will pay for what he has done, just wait for it. And yes, you have the chance to leave the vicious circle and start everything from scratch.

    You turned out to be a wonderful person and everyone who comments here occasionally will agree with me on that. And that's not because of your parents, that's despite them. They don't deserve any credit, you should've been protected and they failed to do that. You may not hate them and rather forget, but I can't do that, I despise them. Amazing people like deserve better supporting parents. I'm not worrying about you turning a great person, you already are. I see a bright future for you, a loving husband, amazing kids - a wonderful family. And lots of great friends and me being one of them :)

    1. I'm not sure if he will pay for what he has done and the only reason I wish for him to "get what he deserves" would be that he learns of it and doesn't do such things again.
      You're right, he is a grown-up now and should know better. That's why I think you can't blame my parents for everything.

      Thank you so much!
      But I have to say, you think too highly of me!
      Thank you! :)

  3. I agree! The victim mentality and the blame game are two very counterproductive mindsets...there's nothing to be gained from either.

    1. Thank you! There is absolutely nothing to gain, but humans seem to like to blame others for their faults and for everything that goes wrong.

  4. hmhm.... you have raised a very pertinent issue. one that almost every one of does, mostly without even realizing it. And the ending you have given to it- is very apt. hmhm.. There is this one thing I would like to tell you.

    And yes, I know it is not exactly the most knowledgeable in the issue and consider it just as a opinion of someone who after reading your post- wanted to tell you something to help-

    1) I don't know how you can write so freely about your abuse as a child- for everyone to read. I have always found it extremely painful to write about -- my true break downs and pains -- Yes, everybody has them. Their intensities vary, magnitudes change. But like myself included, I think people guard them- not allowing to see where it really hurts them.

    I can understand that. And I understand that what you have suffered is something that is going to take time and human kindness to heal. But I have never felt writing to be cathartic. And hence, I rarely reveal myself in my raw emotive states when I write. Whatever is being posted on internet - is posted forever. Its bits and fragments stays there- even if you delete the post.

    I would like you to consider once more when posting stuff about your painful past. Its just that- I don't it to be some grim reminder when -- you have finally healed.

    2) Also, you have a very inquisitive and a sharp mind. I would love to read your dissertation about whatever is happening around you - socially, economically, environmentally, politically and what not. You have a very precise and a logical voice and I think it would suit great for the purpose.

    3) Kindly know that- It doesn't really matter, what people think about you, as opposed to how you perceive yourself.

    4) I would would like to suggest that you travel- meet new people- write about such stuff in your blog. I think that would be great.

    And, with regard to both your parents and your brother, I don't know what to say. I want to say - that forgiving can be healing. But putting myself in your shoes, I know that I will not be able to do such a thing. It would suffocate me. But -- all would like to put forth is -- you can overcome. You will over come.

    1. I'll reply in the same order.

      1) I do by far not share everything, I only write as much as I feel I can. I tend to share only few details and not the whole matter, I don't explain too much and sometimes I write it from another point of view because that way it's easier for me and feels more distant.
      And I always share it in a wider context, it's just my experience I have in regard to certain topics.

      2) Thank you so much. I have to say that I don't like to write about economic or political topics. I already have to write and talk about these things a lot at university, I already write papers and essays about that so I don't feel like having to add anything there. I started to blog in order to write about things that I can't share somewhere else, things that I want to share but can't at university or when talking to friends.

      3) Thank you, you are right.

      4)I would honestly love to travel. Unfortunately, right now, I do neither have the time nor the money to travel. I intend to go to China for a semester abroad in a year, but there are not much chances for me to travel before.

      Thank you!
      And thank you so much for your advice and for trying to help, I really appreciate your opinions!

  5. I think people are responsible for their own actions. I lived the 'victim' role for many years albeit privately and internally because I felt with all the things that were going on in my life that that was the role I was meant to play. I also blamed my mothers actions away on her life, upbringing etc (much as how I based my victim role on my upbringing) in order to reconcile that the way she was acting towards me was not entirely within her control (because it was not nice). I spent many years convincing myself that if she got stronger then she would see what she was doing was wrong and she would love me like she should and I would no longer be a victim either. However, as I have grown up I am finally getting to the point where I realise I can not change peoples behaviours or be responsible for them and I also need to take control of my own life and stop living the life of a victim just because I think thats what I am. I have found my own inner strength and I am moving on and life has never felt better. I do not forget, forgive or remove the blame from others for what has happened, but I am choosing to move on. I think sometimes we spend so much time wondering why things have happened and who is to blame when we have been wronged instead of moving on from them. I have found it just prolongs the pain. I am starting to learn you cant change the past, but you can change your future.

    I spent years wondering why I was abused as a child, why my mother didnt show me love, why my ex husband treated me so badly, but it didnt change any of it. It all happened and its all over now. I am not going to let it define me anymore. I think the only part that is our fault is if we take these bad things and allow them to form our opinion of ourselves and to control the way we behave because of it. That is the small part that is our fault, if we allow it to be.

    1. I am happy to hear you found a way to get out of that role.
      And I really agree, I felt the same way when I was a child but I started to take control of my own life when I was grown up and moved away and also for me, life has never felt better.
      I just said that to a friend a few days ago, I can't change the past, but I can change the future. :)

      Thank you for sharing this!

  6. Wow you sound just like me with my brother who is bipolar and have ADHD. He is still have terrible tantrums when he doesn't get his way but he always knew what was right and wrong. I have always blamed the people who he kicked it with. They always ask him to beg my parents for money (something our family found out later) and he did whatever his friends asked to be part of the group, really sad. I say he was a victim and these things that people do is taught by's just human to not care about the consequences and just do what is selfish and wrong. But spitting at someone is never okay! Your parents was wrong about how to deal with that...for sure.

    1. Thank you. I'm sorry to hear about your brother. It is definitely not right to take advantage of your brother that way, making him beg for money so that he can belong to the group.

  7. It's really sad when thinking of home violence which happens everywhere. My heart goes out to the little kids who suffer a lot due to the abuse of their parents or siblings. I just can't imagine the little hands which try to avoid the strong hands of their parents from hitting them, for instance.

    Parents should be the pillars of strength in a family. Their responsibility is to bring up the children with good care and love. And the love for their children shouldn't be biased; everyone should be treated equally which in the long run contributes a lot for the children's self-esteem.

    Kleopatra, yesterday had gone. Keep moving forward, even if it has to be one step at a time. I believe in you that you could make it and you already are! There are wide spaces out there which offer many more good things in life. :)

    1. I totally agree with what you say about parents and their role in families. Unfortunately, this is not reality in many homes.

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Balqis. :) I will definitely keep moving forward.

  8. Anonymous4/11/12 04:34

    I am not an expert in these serious and complicated things. The first thought that comes to mind is to look for help of skilled specialists.
    Anyway, my short experience in the subject is as follows:

    One of the most dangerous game in existence is the "blame game".
    This simple way to disseminate guilt around is born into the black balloon that live in our essence and we call, following the initial idea of Dr. Herbart, our 'subconscious mind'. Later psychiatrists changed its name, as Dr. Freud, who called it 'unconscious mind', and others as Dr. Jung tried to be an explorer of the deep subconscious mind. This subject is interesting enough as to be developed, but here the central point revolve on other interesting matter: "Guilt", and "Blame" as its cohort.

    The curious thing is that we cannot be sure the subconscious mind exists, while we are very much aware of the existence of the "blame game" or the circular search of a "guilty party".

    The second curious thing is that there is no such a thing as a "guilty party", since the trend of the game is to plant different seeds to all the involved parties in such a way that "nobody" is "wholly" responsible, but "everybody" has a "part" of the blame.

    There is no way out of this, unless we reasoned that all the blame reside in one and only one party, which is not as preposterous as it seems. Once we have the blame game stopped we can decide the way we will react to the event that started the game, no matter if there is some injustice committed in the process.

    This may seem an unfair way to work the situation but time and again it was proved that no other solution can be used, because the merry-go-round of guilt will prevent an individual to take a final decision with the ensuing feelings of never know who started it all and paralysing segments of our life forever, unless we find satisfactory to blame Eve for his eating of the apple, or whatever other reason that could justify evil on Earth.

    At least, in this way we can stop the psychological play up and maybe find a way to let the past be the past, and start anew in a healthier present.

    I want to end this comment in the way I started it: I am not expert, so it is possible that I had not expressed the ideas in the post as rightly as the seriousness of the subject demand, so I want to make it very clear that this is the way I honestly believe the situation must be managed but in no way I pretend to say it is the only way, nor the best. Still I think that a specialist will be the best option.

    1. Hmm... Let me try to explain my experience. I have thought a lot about it when I was a child, and a teenager, although I am not so sure it can be called really thinking because, of course, there were so many emotions that maybe didn't let me think reasonably about it. Also there were a lot more questions than there are now, like Why do they hate me so much, why does my brother do these things, does he not know how much it hurts me? What did I do to deserve this, is it all my fault?

      Then for a year or two I tried to repress the memories and almost forgot it ever happened, but they came up again, of course.

      So I thought about it again, it really dragged me down for a short time but I was moving forward and of course I don't forget, but nonetheless it is past now.
      I kind of made peace with it, as much as I can, and live my life and that's it.

      I'm not sure whether I need to find someone to blame or whether a specialist would do any good now. I believe that would have helped a few years ago but now things have changed.
      Thank you for your opinion on this!

  9. Anonymous5/11/12 00:16

    You are perfectly right, Kleopatra.

    In the comment above I tried to express a totally aseptic point of view since I do not know anything near the problems and experiences that can develop into a human being enduring what you describe.

    I am totally in the dark about how I would react in such a circumstances since nobody can guess what will be their attitude facing evil. Probably in that moment all my words would be a silly bag of air.

    Thank you for your understanding of my feeble arguments!

    1. Those were not at all feeble arguments.
      What you said was actually very logical.

      But you are right, one never knows how to react in those situations.

      I appreciate your comments greatly! Thank you so much!

  10. Ahh haa I see why we have similar "ideas & opinions" ..cause we hv similar experiences ! One of the reasons why I had my blog too , to hv somthing I can be proud of for myself . Well I can't even answer cause I myself I'm caught up between who is to blame's really hard to determine but what I do know is that I plan on giving my future kids a life that I myself wudv loved . And not repeat same mistakes in my generation :) . Thanks for sharing ! That was real genuine :)

    1. Totally agree with that, I do know that I'll do my best to be a great mother for my kids and have this family I never had as a kid. :)
      Thank you! :)

    2. U r welcome :) . Then I can hv one of those mummy blogs ...hehe

  11. To answer your title question, in a perfect world, it would be your parent, and your brother. In a ideal world, maybe its everyone or no one.

    But in reality, its your fault. Since you were the victim but you didn't or couldn't do anything to protect yourself. ;))

    Who's guilty doesn't matter. But victim suffers, that's what really matter. Hence, if you can prevent it- do it. Learn it. Next time, handle it-

    It seems to me, your parent not really understood your brother effected you that much- This is almost a story about most families if not all.

    BTW in case you do have hard feelings about your family, you should know none of the human are perfect- but they are your family. Its nice of you to look back- do it to learn from it only!

    Do not regret- it'll kill your spirit. Accept the lose and move forward- :))

    1. You might be right. Certainly, it is partly my fault.

      I'm sure they didn't understand the whole impact he had on me.

      I don't have hard feelings about them. But past showed that I cannot have a good relationship to them. I didn't explain everything that happened, just hinted at some things. But those are the things I can't forgive, even if I want.

      But I do move forward. :)
      Thank you!

    2. It is nice to know, Kleopatra. :))

      Things changes over time, you know. Knowing you're only on your second decade, many more you'll pass and enjoy your life- :))

      Thank you, for talking about it.