Monday, December 20, 2010

Taking Responsibility

"I'm not good for you." 

How many times have we heard those words at some point in a relationship? How many times have we then proceeded to get involved anyway? 

I'm not judging you for that - far from it. There's a variety of reasons why people say these words. They're scared, they're not actually available, they're not emotionally available, they have no interest in actually committing, they're unsure of their feelings, they fully intend to cheat on you, they don't plan to care about you, they're not ready for a relationship, they have a terrible track record, and many more in the stories I'm sure you've all lived. Sometimes they mean these words, sometimes they don't. Sometimes we're aware of the reason they're saying them, sometimes we're not. 

What I'm sick of, though, is people using those words as a means to deflect responsibility when they've inflicted deep emotional wounds on another person. I'm sorry, but "I told you I'm not good for you" isn't good enough. Not by a long shot. 

It's an old adage that actions speak louder than words. And a simple statement that perhaps this isn't such a good idea holds little weight when paired with stolen kisses, romantic dinners, and loving caresses. How are we supposed to believe you when you say you're no good when your behavior doesn't stand behind your words? When you're two sides of the same coin, are we supposed to simply toss it in the air and hope it lands on the right answer? 

The person who is most at risk is left to determine how much of a risk there really is. And yet, when you stand unscathed over a wounded heart after striking the last blow, you manage to shirk all blame. "But I told you I'm not good enough for you."

If you truly mean those words when you say them, than I beseech you, have the courage and the dignity to leave no question about your meaning. Have the decency to remove yourself from the situation, instead of succumbing to whatever weakness it is that drives you forward with false smiles and comforting arms. If you speak those words to someone, and then proceed in spite of them, either the words, or your actions, are a lie. And when the smoke clears, you should have the balls to stand behind them, and take responsibility for what you've done instead of trying to shrug it off as being the other person's fault, or misunderstanding. It isn't right, and it isn't fair, and it makes you nothing more than a coward. 

Am I trying to say that we deserve no blame when we stay in situations after a warning that it will not end well? Not at all. It takes two to tango. I'm merely saying that we should not be forced to shoulder the blame on our own, or be made to feel as though it's entirely our own fault that we've been hurt, and most importantly, that because of the fact that we stayed, we are undeserving of comfort when we are hurting.



  1. I've been thinking about this a lot recently. Despite my best efforts I always seem to hurt people. Surely telling them "I am not good for you" at the start is better than knowing I'm not and then NOT telling them, right?

  2. I think that honesty is an important quality, but if words are spoken and then followed by misleading actions, it's not quite honesty, is it? Yes, I think putting that out in the open is better than keeping it to yourself, but I also think that if you say that, and you truly, honestly mean it, then it is as much your responsibility to step away from the situation as it is theirs to take that advice. How can you possibly lay all the responsibility on the other person to walk away when you're too weak to do so?

    Those "you's" sounded very accusatory, and I just want you to know that it wasn't directed solely at you, but as more of a universal "you".

  3. Haha I understand the "you". Yeah but don't worry, I don't think yelling out a warning is "enough", just that it's "slightly less bad". I am responsible, I promise, but it would be better to just never do any damage, you know?

  4. Oh, man. I hate those words. I've been on the receiving end, and I usually think it's a crap cop out. An excuse then, or for later. My response is usually, "that's not our decision to make."

    Also, whoever says that is, in part, acknowledging a need to change. Some follow-through there might be warranted. You know?

    Great post.

  5. I think that when people say these things it just leaves no room for changes or responsibility. When you are involved with someone you strive to make your partner happy, trying to preserve the relationship. Its just a way of saying, I will be with you but don't expect nothing more than what you see here. If it does not work out, oh well I warned you ahead of time.

  6. @anaraug - I'd agree, yes, saying something is better than saying nothing at all. But the best thing to do would be to either walk away, or commit to fixing whatever obstacle is in front of you.

    @alwayscoffee - Someone else pointed out something that you did here in a comment on my other blog - namely, that there's also the option of making a change, since saying this obviously acknowledges that a change needs to be made.

    @Richard - You make a really, really good point here - not only does this statement reflect an attempt at pushing all the responsibility of walking away from the situation on the other person, it also carries a hint of "I don't care enough to try" or "This is what it is, I'm not going to put in the effort to make it better".