I didn't ask to be born!
For some reason, trying to sleep in the early morning, I think of this adolescent wail. And I think, all around this world -- probably across the galaxy -- people are born into poverty and abuse, slavery and illness, hardship and brokenness -- and none of us asked for this. Of course, some philosophies and religions suggest that we did, but set that aside for the moment.
When I worked with sex offenders, their victims and their wives, the wives (especially wives of men who abused their own children) would often claim the blame for the abuse. There are, of course, some wives, mothers, girlfriends, who do know -- even condone -- their husband's crimes. But usually, not. Yes, it is possible to not know; or to suspect, but deny.
After awhile, I began to see these assertions of guilt as a rather sophisticated avoidance of responsibility. As long as a mother blames herself for her husband's behavior, she is distracted from her own. She did not abuse the child. But perhaps she did ignore the complaints of her children; refuse to hear. Perhaps she feared change; feared how things would be if the denial stopped. Feared what she would lose.
She can't change his behavior; she can only change her own -- and that means, often (usually) great upheaval for the protection of her children.
Why am I thinking of this now, and why am I posting it here, on a blog about illness?*