Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Cover Up Reveals it WAS Intentional

Here is an excerpt from the article, "The Three Rs of Accountability", at Luke 17:3 Ministries.

Many offenders are fond of saying, “But I didn’t mean it that way” or “I never meant for that to happen” . BUT INTENT IS NOT THE ISSUE. RESULTS ARE...

...Everybody makes mistakes. Where most of us begin to lose our patience is with those who never LEARN from their “mistakes”- this tells us that these are not really “mistakes” at all, but rather ongoing patterns of behavior. If something is truly accidental or inadvertent, an accountable adult has no problem sincerely apologizing, doing whatever he can to fix the situation, and moving on. Mature adults do not have a problem apologizing for errors in judgment, or innocent mistakes that caused harm to others. There is no guilt or shame attached to a truly unintentional offense.

Those who feel guilty and ashamed avoid taking responsibility. One who did wrong deliberately, selfishly, or with malicious intent will be ashamed when she is caught or confronted, so she will not admit what she did. She will try to hide it, make excuses, or in some way weasel out of being accountable for her own behavior. She will be angry and flustered at being caught when she thought she was getting away with it. She will not admit she was wrong, she will not sincerely apologize, and she will not try to rectify the damage she did.

The reason guilt or shame is felt is that, despite what the offender might say, her words or actions WERE INTENTIONAL, or at the very least, SELFISH. One way or the other, she knew what she was doing and the effects it might have, but she decided to do it anyway, and hope for the best. Otherwise she would have nothing to feel guilty about and no problem acting in a responsible manner and making amends. Her ego would not be at stake, and she would not react with the shame of someone who was “caught” doing wrong. One who feels guilty or ashamed will lie, deny, cover-up, blame others- anything but admit that she was wrong and take responsibility for her own words or actions.

Someone who is not ashamed of herself has no reason to deny or lie about what she did. She will acknowledge her actions, apologize for the pain she caused EVEN THOUGH SHE DIDN’T MEAN TO, admit she was wrong, used poor judgment, or made a mistake, do everything she can to make restitution, and NOT REPEAT the same offense in the future. She may feel embarrassed about her actions, but she will not feel the shame that leads to covering them up. And she understands that failure to take responsibility would be an even greater reason to be embarrassed.

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I know I'm sick to death of hearing about the pure intentions of the perps in my life. How about you? How do people who never have an bad intention so often end up abusing you in some way? Anyone who chooses to plead to their good intentions rather than immediately making things right is guilty as hell. They are lying about their malicious intent by pretending its opposite.

12 comments:

krl said...

The point you made here is what has finallyfinallyfinally become so clear to me in the last few months. Thank you for drilling it in once more, Anna.

I think to come to accept that those who abused me were NOT 'innocent' nor 'unintentional'..nor 'simply human'.. has helped me more than anything. To accept that there is EVIL....that 'knowing-ness' about what they were/are doing....leaves me with no patience and understanding anymore for the bullshit. I can actually 'smell it' now.....and recognize the reek. I'm not at the point that I can openly 'confront' it...(and perhaps I don't need to)...but I sure as hell can steer clear of it for now.

And the best part? This helps ME know more of what I need to be....how to go about making amends and restitutions for MY f***ups in the course of any given day. Clear, concise, responsible, honest behaviours toward my fellow man. Steering the course of MY behaviours! Thank you.

krl said...

Back to my comment....

I think what I was trying to say in my last paragraph re: 'setting the course of my own actions' etc:

Being with Ns most of my life meant that one could never apologize or make amends in any true fashion. You could NEVER make up for your petty crime. You OWED forever! They wouldn't LET you move on. I found myself in a double-bind....never knowing exactly what I was apologizing for...and if I knew...I had to shape it to fit what they wanted to hear...and they weren't happy unless I was working overtime to justify my miserable existence. The NeverEndingStory....ubiquitous guilt. THAT is what was expected of me...and that is what I felt as long as I was with any of them.

krl

Anonymous said...

It's always been a "proper" or courteous way to explain away an offense in our culture, by saying, Oh, I didn't mean to hurt you." That saying has been imbedded into our culture for decades. It's an excuse. I wish people would stop and think about every word they say before starting to apologize. My mother has never apologized for anything, when she did issue an apology, it was always with a tone of "I'll be a BIG person and give you what you want, even though we both know I am right".

If an apology towards me still manages to squeeze guilt out of me, then I know the apologist definitely is a narcissist.

Anonymous said...

Anna, thanks for your awesome blog!!!

I've just read your past few blogs and the selective amnesia article and I'm speechless. That's BIG for me. :)

The excerpt talking about how it's not necessarily any one thing they did but rather them and who they are really struck me. That fits my N perfectly. I've been NC for nearly a year and every day is better.

I've had trouble trying to put my finger on what exactly they did that was the worst, but now I know why, it was ALL the worst, a composite, a HUGE waste of my time and life.

And now I understand what to do with another family member who just can't stand that I've gone NC and keeps calling me with news about the N. I'm going NC with that one, too.

You know what Anna? Life's too short. And it's very sweet and precious w/o them around.

Wahoooo!!!! To paraphrase Shakespeare, Out, damn N, out!!!!

Anonymous said...

"I didn't say that."
"Well, that's not what I meant."
"You must have misunderstood."
"I don't remember."

Reminds me of the Far Side cartoon, where all the cat hears is "Blah, blah, blah."

Words are words. They mean what they mean. And frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to ask, are the three "Rs" of selective amnesia reduce, reuse, recycle? Cause that's what N'omine did.

Anonymous said...

This is right on the money. I am so SICK of hearing about their pure intentions. We have been deleting NMIL's emails, but someone just sent us an email yesterday with hers attached. Blech. There is a list of "prayer requests," and right there, at #1, is "Prayer that (Renewed's DH) will contact us and let us know he and his family are OK." Double blech. Like she CARES! NOT! And they KNOW we are "OK." Triple blech.

Renewed

Cinder Ella said...

This excerpt explains it so well. As I think about different episodes and any "apologies" received, this fits exactly. The focus of the so-called apologies was always a "good" reason why the offense took place, something external to the n, beyond their control that actually made THEM the victim. The buck always stopped someplace else.


If an apology towards me still manages to squeeze guilt out of me, then I know the apologist definitely is a narcissist.
Yes! Anonymous, you put this perfectly.

Writer in Washington said...

"The reason guilt or shame is felt is that, despite what the offender might say, her words or actions WERE INTENTIONAL, or at the very least, SELFISH. One way or the other, she knew what she was doing and the effects it might have, but she decided to do it anyway, and hope for the best."

This describes the Ns that I know to a "T". They do what they do because they are in the all-consuming and vapid pursuit of their own self-interests. They hope they can clean up any fallout and, when they can't, they can always slander and defame you!!!

Thanks for this post and all the others you've put up recently. I'm sorry about your sister, though. It must be painful for you.

Bonney boys said...

The N in our life crossed a major boundary (birth of a child) and when confronted by people, kept decrying "it wasn't my intention, i didn't mean, etc. etc." to which my brother-n-law calmly replied, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

BADI said...

Someone can hit you very badly and it could still be unintentional.

I think what matters are the circumstances: if someone who's allegedly supposed to love you spends all of their energy on hurting you in the most painful ways: well that's great injustice and it can't be anything but intentional.

UnmotheredChild said...

my EX narcissistic friend would always tell me how 'sick' i am and how others can see that in me, how envious I am of her "but its OK darling, you cant help it" and so on the list is endless. She will put me down so when I am on my knees she becomes the rescuer to 'care' for me. i never dare to stand up to her because when I do we end up in a mega argument where she is "being pushed over the edge" by me. When I dare to stand up to her and ask her why she calls me that she becomes literally hysterical and says she wont talk to me about it and that i "cant help it I am sick" I then get mad and write her an angry email explaining how she has hurt me. She then says that I tried to intentionally hurt her and attack her in that email. And whatever she did was done out of care and un intentionally.