Search This Blog

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Life's misfortunes: No one is to blame

I was playing the song, "No One is To Blame" the other day by Howard Jones and realized that it applied to circumstances in the lives of a few people currently or in the last few years (as well as my own).   The quote above in a way captures the concept.

(Post originally written 3/5/15)

We make many choices in our lives:
  • Without the luxury of hindsight and often under pressure.  Hard to change a flat on rolling car, isn't it?
  • Without ever having had a positive example in the matter.
  • Without an 'instruction book' (at least that we know of).  That is to say, on very limited information.
  • That often seem equally as good or bad as any other.
  • Often in a lose-lose situation.
The point is that we do the best we can with limited resources and not always having good options.  We attempt to do the right thing, but are often restricted from or don't have enough time to see the bigger picture.  

In my own life, my marriage was failing and at the same time, my brother was struggling with his own demons.  Could have, should have, would have and the like.  In a better situation, I would have had the freedom to let him stay with me when he was struggling.  He asked me not to tell others in the family about the 'place he was'.   I made a judgement call that a)  doing so would shut him down to me and b) very likely would not have led to the help or support he needed anyway.  Due to the train-wreck that was happening in my own situation at the time, I had to step away.  I got the call that he was found deceased of a likely suicide.  I questioned myself: Did I do the right thing? Did I let him down?  If I'd hadn't temporarily stepped away would he still have been alive?  So many questions, so few answers.  Guilt abounding.  He was the one closest to me in personality and I had a beat on him, I had a bad feeling, I had bad vibes.  Yet, I couldn't save him.

I've come to realize that at best I would have bought him a little more time, but I was not equipped to deal with his level of hopelessness.  Beyond that, I'm just assuming that I could have made any difference.  Sometimes circumstances are what they are and the sooner we realize it the better off we are.

In the song, "No one is to blame", the implication is that the narrator is in a disconnected relationship.  He is bemoaning, the temptation of infidelity and the frustration involved.  "And you want her, and she wants you, no one is to blame" is the key phrase.  Through no fault of his own, it is likely that due to issues in his own relationship, someone else caught his attention.   Ultimately, it doesn't sound like he truly acted out with this other person.  I don't think he's condoning infidelity but more or less saying the temptation of it sometimes sneaks up on people.  He will not feel awful about being tempted, that these things happen.   In this case, his partner has a role in the disconnect and he likely has a role in the disconnect.  So, in a way, they are both at fault, but yet due to their imperfect relationship knowledge/experience, perhaps the disconnect that led to his outside temptation was inevitable and unavoidable.

There are many possible circumstances in life in which it is easy to blame, but if you step back and look objectively in a way, no one is to blame.  Below are a few examples:
  1. A person close to you ends their life, even if you had a sense of trouble, it is easy to blame yourself for not being there, even if on many occasions you had been. 
  2. Someone you know has health issues and you blame yourself when something bad happens.
    • They don't take care of themselves properly and you finally stop hounding them to and something happens to them.
    • They refuse to see a Dr. or go to the hospital and you relent and something happens to them.
  3. An unexpected/unforeseen illness/tragedy happens to someone in the family.  It tears the family apart. 
  4. In a marriage, for one or both partners, demons from long ago such as abuse/neglect have not been dealt with properly.  The coping mechanisms which were crucial in helping us survive the abuse/neglect were never shed in adulthood, never allowing us to develop effective positive relationship skills.  Over time, this leads to friction/damage in the marriage, perhaps to a point of irreconcilability.   Sure, blame could be tossed, but what good does it do?  In some ways, it might have been inevitable.
The way I see it is this: you do the best you can with the information/strength you have at the time, You hope and pray for the wisdom/strength to make the right choices.  For perspective, you keep in mind and are grateful for the good that has come in life, but are aware that misfortunes do happen, which are out of your control.   Mourn those misfortunes and realize that at times trying to control/fix/avoid these is like trying to lasso the wind.  In other words, reflect on, but don't get stuck on the misfortunes.  In short, sometimes everyone is to blame, but at the same time "no one is to blame".


* If you like this post, you may also like this one: