The Blame Game
It started out just great. Another phone call with my son sharing the events of the day. I was so happy, so thankful because I know it's fleeting. Isn't everything? My son's addiction has caused many days of unknowns and fear. Is he alive? Where is he lying dead without identification? What else can I do? He needs to do more to beat this! The imagination knows no bounds. Either do drugs! They're not selective, they love anyone who's going to use. And they're so generous too! They love to give more and more and will make themselves available to anyone who seeks them. It is so easy to blame them, blame the addiction, blame someone or something. Something has to be responsible for this insanity, right? I just can't put a finger on one particular thing, it's such an enormous issue. I think I need to point the finger of blame somewhere so that something will finally change and relieve these struggles. But, all fingers eventually lead back to me anyway. It's my recovery, it's my imagination, it's my experience of it all and it's got to be my intention to take care of what I can. This blame does me no favors. I could think it might inspire my actions but really I don't need blame to act, and it surely doesn't feel good to be in the energy of blame. However, until I get mentally clear, I am stuck!
I started out thinking (and believing) my son is stuck in resentments: bringing up the past again, blaming me, self-pity. That phone call, like many others, took a nose dive. There goes my happiness, again. Just like that! Definitely time for Inquiry! He's stuck in resentments? Is it true? I'm not even sure he's so stuck. It's a phone call that started out just fine. I didn't think he was stuck then. How do I react when I believe he's stuck and blaming me? I can surely see where I am stuck. As soon as he blames me for that one thing that triggers me, I am stuck in attaching it to a string of stories and even more thoughts: he should stop talking about it, stop bringing it up, focus on now and not the past, on and on and on and on. Back on the roller coaster and it's a wild ride! Whose blaming whom? Yes, I am. There's plenty to go around. But, I'm the only one who can take care of mine.
So I do. He blames me for sending him to a therapeutic boarding school. Really though, was he? Who would I be without that thought that is wreaking havoc in my internal and external world? In the stillness of looking for the truth and questioning all this, he didn't blame me. If I just stay in the present, I see he's talking about his experience. I also see that when he's talking about his regrets, I go into self-blame. Ouch. The almost immediate reaction is to turn this off, stop this conversation, we've already had it so many times before. I go into defending my decision way back then, I interrupt so I can teach him and change his mind. As Bryon Katie says, "Defense is the first act of war." Boom! Way, way off! Control, trying to change someone else, blame. It hurts because all I really wanted was to connect with him and let him know I love him. That can never happen when I'm trying to change him, and not listening (to him or to a clearer me). It's all so enlightening, lightening, light coming into dark places. When you know the truth, it sets you free. Yes, it really does!
What happens when I do start really listening ... to truth? Who would I be without all these stories, without all this blame? PEACE! I become available with compassion that of course he, like all of us, have things we wish went a different way. We've been touched by circumstances and we get confused. I am now connected with him. I can be still and listen. I can hear that he's upset because I'm not listening and not understanding that he's just trying to explain why he feels lousy. I now can listen to the fears I have about this becoming an "enabling conversation". In that, I open up to observing me and my thoughts. I can stay on the phone and in this conversation until I'm moved naturally to remain available or not. It will unfold. It might give me more thoughts to question, but on that call, I'm on it with him and with me. Not wasting precious time in blame. Through it all, I become a kinder listener. I'm hearing his story, his story and my love to hear it. In that place, I can also hear any more thoughts and stories for me to take to Inquiry, because peace is far more preferred to the war.
Even deeper, in this self blame and with more Inquiry, I come to see that at the time of that decision to send my son to a therapeutic boarding school, I really did do the best I could. It was with great resistance and fear that he would not survive the years until graduation, much less graduate. I believed we were in a downward spiral and the costs would be too great to not intervene. The threat of arrest and expulsion loomed, the threat of unchecked substance use and peer involvement complicated matters, and I did the best I could with a motive to give this boy a chance of a different way. No blame, we were all doing the best we could at the time. That is really how it goes all the time. More peace, forgiveness.
So, when my son talks about the complications and confusion of that school, I can absolutely understand him! What's not to listen to? I get it! I can now listen in silence without feeling threatened and speak my truth. Yes, son, I understand. I hope I get another chance to practice this. I sure need the practice. With a clearer mind and a softer heart through Inquiry, the game is LOVE.
Weeds or Wishes ?