|The difference between fault and responsibility
||[Jul. 21st, 2014|09:37 pm]
aka, a distinction that people don't make nearly often enough or in the right ways
A couple of relevant excerpts:
"an awful lot of people get themselves hung up on the idea that the party who is at fault Should be the party to be responsible. "I'm not the one who broke it, I shouldn't have to clean it up!"
It's a nice prescriptive principle for organizing morality, ethics, and law: where it can be implemented it makes the world more fair."
"But we don't live in a world like that. One of the fundamental facts of human existence is that you're going to take responsibility for a lot of things that aren't your fault. In fact, the vast majority of things you are responsible for in your life are not going to be your fault, but, nevertheless, you will be responsible for them."
"Taking responsibility feels good because it's empowering. Because it makes you feel less impotent against the vagaries of life. In fact, it feels so good, some people wind up taking too much responsibility, such as codependents on a loved one's addiction, taking responsibility for preserving the addict's lifestyle, or over-protective parents trying to sheild their kids from every averse experience in life, or the battery victim who takes on responsibility for molifying their abuser. It's important not to take too much -- or the wrong -- responsibility, either.
It can be hard to figure out how much responsibility to take, and which responsibility to take, especially if one grew up with people who were bad at it, or deliberately obfuscated issues of fault and responsibility to get away with things (and there is a whole post worth on the topic of what we in the pshrink biz call "parentification" of children and its relationship to assuming inappropriate responsibility.)"
Anyway, go forth and read the whole thing. It's very well-written and lays it all out in a way that an over-responsible person like me can't easily ignore.