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Thinking Out Loud Tough Talk

Therapy Thoughts: When It is All Your Fault

I’ve figured out what brought me to a halt not just this weekend, but again and again and again: it is not the idea that life isn’t perfect, or that I am imperfect; it is the idea that it is all my fault. 

Speaking of stress… who wants to win a massager….? Enter now!

I am the person that friends come to for guidance, for comfort, and for logical, reasoned, fair, perspective. By nature, I am a problem solvers. My goal in life is to solve the problems of others–that is why I loved Historic Preservation and adaptive reuse: I was solving the problem of what to do with these buildings. I loved algebra because I was solving for x. My clients love to discuss problems with me because I think them through and offer that reasoned perspective that I just mentioned.

So, why did I fall apart this weekend when I hit those speed bumps, speed bumps that are, by and large, not really the biggest, worst events to happen?

Because I perceived them as all my fault. I cannot handle with I am wrong or at fault in any situation. 

In my posts on my anxiety, I have mentioned that my anxiety largely stems from the idea that I have disappointmented someone, that I have been incorrect in my conduct (even just relaying incorrect information that I believed wholeheartedly at the time), or confrontation that might reveal that, quite simply, it is all my fault

I even get anxiety when I don’t react the way I assume I should be reacting to situations because it is my fault (because I have chemical imbalances, and thus question whether or not I will ever react properly). I hope that makes sense…

It is all my fault that I got the wrong degree and wasted my parents’ money and that I now am not in the job befitting my Ivy League education. 

It is all my fault that if one of my athletes gets injured, rather than the fact that sometimes sh** happens. Or maybe they had an extenuating circumstance that I could never plan for.

It is all my fault that I missed my appointment. It is all my fault that I didn’t refill my medications. 

You see, until I got the email from my doctors stating that “it is the patient’s job to make sure that they have sufficient medications and to ask for refills as necessary,” I merely perceived the lack of meds as a problem to be dealt with. Because the blame wasn’t yet on me. But the moment that the blame was placed on me….

CRUMBLE. 

That logical, reasonable, fair and balanced mind? Out the window. 

To provide a comparison: When I opened the door to our apartment to find a flood of black sludge across our kitchen floors, I didn’t freak out. You can ask Alex. I called our landlord, called Alex, started mopping things up, and then started fixing dinner. 

Because it wasn’t my fault, I could deal with the problem. Now, if it had been my fault? I would imagine that I would have had a very different reaction. 

My therapist and I have started to discuss how hard I am on myself, why I am so insecure about my place and my perception of my contribution to the world. And now, I realize more and more the source of anxiety such as that from this weekend is the perfect storm combination of feeling a sense of disappointment in myself, my being at fault for what happened, and culminating in confrontation (regardless of how that confrontation is carried out). 

And I know what we really need to work on. 

Because, as a mother, wife, friend, coach, trainer, blogger, FREAKING HUMAN…. we are going to be wrong. We are going to be criticized. Sometimes it is going to be our fault. Sometimes, it won’t be. But as I have said time and TIME again, life is about reactions. 

Life is about reactions: how do you handle situations you perceive as your fault? #mentalhealth #anxiety Click To Tweet

It is time to work on my own reactions to my own situations so that when I am confronted with self-created problems, I can approach them as I would those of my friends: rationally, logically, fair, balanced, and CALM.

How do you react to situations that you perceive as your fault? Are they more or less anxiety inducing than situations beyond your control?

Thank you Amanda for the Thinking Out Loud link up!

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