My mind naturally inclines to thinking one thousand times about when I have been the victim for every time it naturally inclines to thinking about when I was the perpetrator. I don’t like thinking about when I was a perpetrator. It’s hard for me to face when I have acted unethically. I just want to block that out.
When I work the Fourth Step, I list everybody I resent. Then in column two, I list the harms they have done me. In column three, I list what parts of my life they hurt (my self-esteem, my pocket book, my sex life, my standing in the community, etc). In column four, I think about how much I was responsible for these painful interactions.
If I want to be sane about things, I have to expect that half of my negative interactions with others had a great deal to do with my choices. But what about the rest? What about when others weren’t rational? Weren’t fair? Weren’t nice? What about when others don’t operate according to my rules that others should be rational, fair and nice? The reality is that many people are irrational, unfair and not nice. My belief system is delusional. My tendency to get angry when people act irrationally, unfairly and nastily is irrational. I don’t get to dictate how other people should operate. I don’t get to dictate reality. I get to react to reality, notes HerbK. I can’t change reality. I can’t control it.
“I’m the center of the universe and I get to make the rules. It is ludicrous for me to think the world should revolve around my value system.” (HerbK)
I often misbehaved to reduce the tension around me. That didn’t tend to work. I felt uncomfortable so I acted out. I couldn’t handle how I felt, so I acted the fool.