Excuses: I Am This Way Because…

Wizard of Oz Dorothy Shoes

I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best. ~ Walt Whitman

Here’s a thought I have had for quite a long time, but have never shared about bullying recovery and one of the worst aspects of how I acted for years. Of course, I cannot regret what I did in my past, for I cannot change it. But as I become introspective in order to change who I am today and make a better me, I learn more about some of the mistaken actions I did. I want to share an important one here.

I like to call this one the “outward blame issue” and you may or may not be consciously doing it. It usually starts with the following sentence beginning:

“I am the (way) I am, because…”

Now you would fill in the next part with the outward reason you are the way you are acting. For me the sentence was pretty much the same.

  • “I am the angry and resentful person I am, because I was bullied as a kid and it created these feelings.”
  • “I am always stressed, because I was bullied as a kid and it created these feelings.”
  • “I can’t do anything right, because I was bullied as a kid and it has always made me feel inadequate.”
  • “I am the way I am, because everyone around me hates me and I just know it.”

Are you laughing at my silly sentences above or are there tears in your eyes, because you understand that we say these things? So what was I doing that was so wrong? I mean, I knew that I had the long-term effects of bullying that caused me to feel sad, inadequate, loss of self-esteem, and unloved. But what is the overarching issue of all these statements?

What I was doing, what I had to stop doing and what you may be doing right now is using an outward excuse for your actions without taking ownership of your own feelings. We are not lower animals that don’t think. This has both a positive and negative (as does all in life) result in how we allow ourselves to think. The problem is this is an excuse for behavior and that denotes that we cannot control our behaviors and feelings.

We now know through studies and recovery methods that this is just not true. I enjoyed having an excuse for my bad behavior or not moving my life forward. It made things so much easier for me and I could pull out an “I am the way I am because…” excuse whenever I needed to, so as not to accept that I had any control of the situation.

Mind you, I did this behavior for 20+ years and at that point, it was pretty much habitual. Are you feeling a bit sad for me? I hope so.

This is what many of us who have suffered with youth abuse or even adult abuse do. In fact, some people do it, just to have an excuse for their bad behavior. And some people use it as an excuse to not work on things they don’t want to. I actually know someone who says they can’t use a lawn mower, because they never learned how and now they are 40 and can’t learn. Wow, I wish I thought of this one to get out of mowing my yard.

But with YouTube and the internet, there are few things you can’t learn to do or even learn to undo. But excuses are easy and many times, when we are in a mental state that is anxious or depressive, we find this excuse method very handy.

Then again, do you really want to get better? Do you want to improve your life and learn to feel good about yourself? Ahhhh, see where I am going? This is what I learned. I had to let go of that youth of abuse and realize that I couldn’t change the past. But the present and the future, now that I could change.

Yet, this handy excuse method actually is an external lie you are telling yourself and I told myself for years. Once I wanted to get better, I had to learn to change my story from “I am this way…” to “I want to be this way…” You have to want to get better from the inside and forgive yourself and those that harmed you to let go and move on. When we gain skills and change behavior, we amazingly gain confidence in ourselves again. Is this a scary proposition for many people? Of course it is, but it is truly one of the only ways to get unstuck from your situation.

You have to stop allowing outside influences to be your reason for your behavior. You have to own yourself. You have to care about yourself. This is the hard part, of course, particularly if you have been habitually telling yourself these things. But I hope that, reading my own excuses above makes you realize that, much like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you have the magic shoes to solve your problem whenever you want.

Click your heels three times and believe that you can control what you feel, why you do things and who you want to be. The end of the rainbow is happiness and a return of self-belief. And once you reach that spot, you will begin to feel a great burden lifted from your shoulders and move forward. ~ Alan

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About Alan Eisenberg

Alan Eisenberg is a Certified Life Coach, Bullying Recovery activist and author of "A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance" and "Crossing the Line". He has been writing and speaking to various audiences about the issue of C-PTSD and Bullying Recovery. Mr. Eisenberg has been featured on several print, radio shows and podcasts on this issue, including NPR and in the Boston Globe. He is currently working toward his Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
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