Recently I posted this observation:
And one reader wrote back, “Please say more about this.”
Okay. Here’s a metaphor drawn from my work with victims (the self-defined kind) and blamers:
Think of responsibility as a circle you draw around yourself.
Everything inside the circle belongs to you. Everything outside doesn’t.
By “everything” I mean both bad stuff – problems, demands, risks – and good stuff – solutions, rewards, opportunities.
Some people draw a small circle as a way of avoiding the bad stuff.
It’s their way of telling themselves “Not my fault” or “Not my job.”
They believe the small circle will protect them.
But it’s actually a trap.
Because you can’t solve problems that aren’t yours to solve. So the small circle makes you feel helpless.
And the more demands you avoid, the less capable you become. So the small circle is weakening.
And the more risks you avoid, the fewer opportunities life offers. So the small circle leaves you feeling deprived.
So instead of safe on a cozy island of invulnerability, small-circle folks find themselves afloat in a sea of helplessness, weakness and unmet needs.