Responsibility is a big word; it means to take ownership of something. Often, when we pursue our recovery, we think it’s about getting others to accept responsibility for what they have done to us and everything that happened as a result of those injuries. The truth is, however, that while they bear ownership of the wounds they caused, you must take responsibility for the choices you made as a result of those wounds. Your behaviors are just that: yours.
Many people are big on such things as discipline until they have to accept some themselves, and many people advocate taking responsibility until it becomes personal. Recovery is not just about who has harmed you; it is also about who you have harmed. So while you’re making that list of injuries that someone inflicted upon you, be open to the fact that you, too, have hurt others. You’ll find that you need to forgive some people, and you need to seek forgiveness from some others.
As you approach your past with a mature mind, you may find it hard to reconcile that you are not just a victim, but a perpetrator as well. Be assured that others have fallen victim to the pain you’ve carried from unresolved issues; this is why the road to healing is a process that will take some time. It is time well spent, however, if it frees you from self-defeating and sabotaging behavior. When you look at all the years of bad relationships you have endured, and in some cases caused, then the alternative does not seem so forbidding.