So recently, for no reason at all (coff) I’ve been thinking that if there were a way to create the worst possible fictional villain it would be to create someone who always exonerates himself of all blame: if he lost a tennis match, the sun was in his eyes, even if it was at night.
This has never been one of my problems. Even when the game is rigged, I tend to assume I should just have played better. Yeah, I say that politics played into my career puttering in place for years, but only because compared to some of the extreme-left “luminaries” my production quality and amount are astounding, not because I was/am entirely blameless.
No matter what is arrayed against you, you can always work harder. And I did not work nearly as hard as I might have in an ideal world, because my priorities were different. Sure, I want to work, and I want my writing to do well, but I could never convince myself that my career or progress in it was more important than the raising of my kids or the happiness of my marriage.
I don’t regret those choices, but from the point of view of career they are unfortunate. (And if truth be told probably the reason that, to the extent this happens — and it’s not as much as the usual suspects maintain — women tend not to reach the very top in many fields. Because the very top demands a single-minded devotion that frankly isn’t good for you or your relationships, and which men– for whom the social script is to do well in career — are more likely to abuse themselves with.) If I had a dime for every time a male colleague told me “You should just lock the door, stock the freezer with pizza, write like the wind and let the guys take care of themselves.” And from the point of view of career they were right. From the point of view of me, they weren’t. So, now that I have a little more space, and the guys can at least cook for themselves, I’ll do what I can. And if I don’t reach as far as I could have, my fans will have to forgive me.
Forgiving myself is a little harder, because the broken part at the back of my brain doesn’t understand I’m human, I have limits and there’s only so many hours in the day. Though I’ve achieved a healthy (not) splitting and mostly I’m mad at my body for breaking down all the time.
This is possibly not the sanest thing in the world, but at least it doesn’t make me hate everyone else, and lock myself in a castle of paranoia.
When you do that; when everything that happened to you was the fault of someone else, you lose your ability to self correct and to figure out how to procede.
So, say, if you descend to the point of blaming four men you left to die for sabotaging your political career, you should seek help, and by that I don’t mean “financing for a future political run.”
Look, the feedback in this world isn’t perfect. As we’ve been told, sometimes the wicked flourish like the green bay tree. But I suspect that flourishing is illusory. I suspect if you truly give in to your inner egotism and assume you’re perfect and anything you fail at must be someone else’s fault, it slowly eats you inside.
There’s only one way to raise someone to be unable to admit ANY fault in their own downfall, except for humble brags. You have to raise them in the absolute certainty of their own perfection and invincibility. I know a lot of people like that. Personally and closely I know one other such person, who fortunately didn’t turn her ambitions to politics, but who, instead, has a string of broken marriages and infidelities between those marriages whose only admission of fault is that she thinks she might be “too giving.” Having seen the way she screws exes to the wall, and not in a good way, the only thing I can ask is “giving of what, heartburn?”
In that case, I happen to know the person was raised to believe herself utterly perfect. If something went wrong, someone was found to blame for her failure. If she didn’t perform as expected it was always something else.
What she became is only logical. When you think you’re perfect, then everything that goes wrong must be someone else’s fault, and everyone MUST be to blame for your failures.
Kind of like communism, on a society level. When you’re almost a religion and believe your form of government is absolutely perfect, then when it fails it must be that people failed the government. This is what fills graves.
On a personal level it rarely gets that far, unless one of these critters manages to get a post of responsibility and power, like, say, Secretary of State.
Most of them don’t rise that far. At worst they are incompetent, self-righteous bureaucrats, many of whom make our bureaucracy a living nightmare, because there’s at least one of them per department of anything you need, I swear.
The thing is, knowing how you create these people, and knowing how prevalent “self esteem” education has been in our system the last thirty years, we’re going to see a lot more of this.
Only the left could decided that instead of teaching people to be good at things, we should just teach them to have supreme confidence in themselves, as though actually learning skills were an incidental, painless thing, requiring no work.
As usual, they were precisely wrong. And though the creature that inspired this post was ahead of her time, there’s a lot of her kin on the way. Some of whom will get power, sooner or later.
The only way we survive this is for a lot of us who know we aren’t perfect to study and work, and find ways around, over and under the institutions they’ll cause to collapse.
Oh, and teach your children well. If you can, teach them to see the factors that go into their failures, and to forgive themselves when they fail.
But if you can’t do that, at least teach them they aren’t perfect.
As someone who tends to shoulder all the blame and try to lift all the worlds on my shoulders, it’s not a healthy way to be. BUT with all that, it’s infinitely more healthy than blaming everyone else, and being eaten inside with hatred and paranoia.
Teach your children well. Don’t trust the schools to do it for you. And remember self-esteem is the result of pride in what you’ve done or achieved. If it’s not that, it’s just insanity.