It’s Not My Fault! Blame My Parents!

Stereotypes are often portrayed as something we push on others.  But people frequently apply these stereotypes to themselves and hide behind them.

“I have a fiery temper because I’m a redhead/Latina/Italian/etc.”  No, you’re just an asshole who refuses to take responsibility for their actions.  If you lash out at someone when they don’t deserve it, you’re not doing it because of the way you were born; you’re doing it because you’re a prick.

“I like to drink because I’m Irish.”  No, you like to drink because you like the way it makes you feel.  It’s really that simple.

“I change my mind frequently because I’m a woman.”  No, you’re just indecisive, and you believe the baseless myths that society perpetuates.

I’m a big advocate of personal responsibility and owning your choices.  You can’t pass off your lousy behavior on the way you were born.  Your behavior is a conscious decision.  As such, I will hold you accountable for it.  Trying to pass it off because you were born a certain way is immature and evasive.  It also makes me less likely to trust and respect you.

These stereotypes are even more dangerous when we impose them on other people:

“You’re a man, so you should want sex all the time, 24/7.” 

“You identify as a slut, so that means you want to have sex with me.” 

“You’re submissive, so you’ll enjoy it if I try to boss you around.” 

“You have a penis; therefore you have the emotional availability of a rock, so I can treat you horribly and you won’t care.” 

This is all the nature side of the nature vs. nurture thing.  The nurture side is only slightly more valid, but not much.

“I act this way because I was brought up this way.”  How you’re brought up does have some bearing on how you act and think.  But once you realize that you’re basing your behavior on the way you were brought up, it now becomes your responsibility.  You know there’s a problem.  If you choose not to fix it, that’s entirely on you.  That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to fix, of course.  But it’s still your choice to continue that behavior or to do something about it.

One Response to “It’s Not My Fault! Blame My Parents!”

  1. Quietlisten Says:

    One of the joys of maturing is accepting responsibility for everything about you. Children — and I use that term to describe most people under 30 — don’t know enough about the world or the difficulties of living and parenting to understand how freeing responsibility really is. The dodging and weaving to cast it anywhere else is a waste of time that one cannot understand until the effort causes a fundamental weariness. Owning the burden makes it no longer a burden, and shortcuts no longer sound appealing.

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