Community Magazine

Not Your Fault

By Nina
I wrote yesterday that one of my Tumblr followers committed suicide. My first thoughts were, "What could I have done differently?" "What if I had said X?" "What if I'd messaged her sooner?" While there is always room to evaluate how we act and react and to improve our reactions, this line of thought was not healthy.
Then, I remembered a book I read called Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. In that book, she said that we have to take ownership of our actions, but that we must release any and all responsibility for the actions of others. In all likelihood, nothing I could have said or done differently would have made a difference. And, even if it would have, it was her choice, not mine. She still made the conscious decision.
Particularly if you are feeling responsible for the problems, feelings, or choices of others, check out Codependent No More. I realize it sounds irrelevant to you. It did to me, too. But it has been one of the most practically useful books I've ever encountered.
Still, not taking responsibility for the actions of others does not mean that I do not reflect and thoughtfully change my approach. For example, I've chosen to edit my Tumblr to include suicide, self-injury, eating disorder, and other hotlines. (I'll do the same here soon.)
Repeat after me: How someone else acts is not my fault.
Now, believe it.

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