Blame: Take Two
I guess, like anyone, blame and shame are my biggest issues. In reality, I would never blame a child for the atrocities of its parents; I would see him or her as innocent, and a victim of their parent’s wrong doings. Yet, when it comes to me, I cannot. I blame myself and no matter how much the evidence is stacked up against my parents, I cannot change it. If I even try, it feels like lies.
One of the factors of blame, is understanding the’ why’ question, and because that is almost impossible to answer, the only conclusion a child can draw on, is that it must be their fault.
For those who read this blog and don’t know, I study Psychology and during a recent lesson, we studied a Psychologist named, Stanley Milgram.
He investigated why Nuremberg war criminals in WWII, carried out acts of genocide. Was it simply because Germans were made different and, therefore, cruel?
He believed they were, and tested his theory with an experiment. He asked ordinary people to volunteer as teachers and had actors as the learner. The teachers thought they were simply there for a memory test, but that was not the case.
Milgram set up the teacher and the learner in different rooms. The learner was strapped to a chair and attached to a buzzer that gave them an electric shock. The teacher was in another room and asked the learner a question. For each question they got wrong, the teacher would administer an electric shock. These shocks went along a scale, starting at nothing more than a quick nip of volts, to 450 volts, which was fatal.
In the room with the teacher, was an experimenter, (an actor) who appeared to be taking notes and watching. The teacher could not see the learner, only hear them.
However, what they really heard, was a recorded voice. They weren’t really electrocuting people, they just believed they were. Eventually, as the voltage got higher, the voice would plead, asking for no more, and eventually it went silent, leaving the teacher not knowing if the learner was unconscious or simply not responding.
Of course, as the cries or the silence got worse, the teacher often became stressed, but the experimenter in the room would simply state that it was vital to the experiment and to please continue (they did have the right to leave at any time).
Milgram found that over 60% of people went to the fatal 450volts and, when asked later, he concluded that like the Nazi, it was not down to ethnicity, but rather obedience. If people did not hold the blame, they could continue.
My father, like many the same, told me, it was my fault. I wanted it. I asked for it. I liked it and his personal favourite that I gained everything in my life through sex. It would seem the case, even using it to gain my father’s love and attention. The way he worded thing caused me to take the blame because what he said was logical.
What if Milgram’s theory applies here? My father convinced himself that it was what I wanted. He believed his own lies, removed blame, and gave it to me. He believed he was doing what I wanted, what I liked and what I offered. He was being obedient.
Making it my fault and not his, made it okay for him to do what he did.
You are likely correct in that he passed the blame on to you instead of him…but it’s his perception that’s flawed, JD. He chose to lie to himself and pass morality onto the shoulders of a small child forcing abuse onto an innocent and then telling them their temptation was at fault not his own inability to control nightmarish urges. A normal man does not look at a child and think “he’s asking for me to do this.” A normal man looks at a child and thinks…this is a child, still learning right and wrong, still innocent to the world. I need to protect this…What your father wanted isn’t normal, rational, or in any way your fault. He’s a coward who refuses to take blame for the wrongs he committed, using an obedience scapegoat.
I have read about those experiments, and their surprising, yet disturbing results, and yes, they seem logical… to a point. Whether it is because of greed, fear, guilt, the need to please, etc… I believe we are all “obedient” to some extent in life.
However, whatever the reason/excuse, I cannot agree with those results when they pertain to a child.
Just exactly who was he trying to please, other than himself? In my eyes, there is no reasoning with someone like that. Someone who erased any and all boundaries of decent, humane morals. Someone who should’ve put your welfare first. Someone who should’ve been a father to you, not a predator.
You know what he did. He consciously, purposely, selfishly and cruelly made those choices. You know what you did. You reacted to his choices. Your reactions were conditioned, forced, (yes, they were… mentally) and manipulated, all under the guise of guilt and blame.
There is no valid excuse. He is indeed a coward. You were a victim, and now you are a survivor.
~ Hugs ~
This is very good. I agree with everything you wrote. Someone who not only was a pedafile, but also a sadist on top if that who enjoys inflicting pain, both mental and physical. I believe after reading the 3rd book in the series that he was training a “sex slave” by some of the things that were done to you James.
I don’t know if I agree with Milgram’s theory applying to your father. I don’t think he has convinced himself that he was doing what you wanted or what you liked. You can’t not know that a child is not enjoying what you’re doing to them when they’re crying and vomiting as a result. Unlike the experimenter, you never asked him to continue what he was doing. You also never asked him to start what he was doing in the first place. That was entirely his perverseness.
I do, as you said, believe he is trying to remove the blame from himself and put it onto you. Maybe because he now has an adult facing him, not an innocent, little boy any more. It’s not so easy to look a man in the face after what you know you did to him as a child. The only way to get over his own shame would be if he could try convince you that you wanted it, you asked for it. And if you believe it, he wins.
I had a strange thought while reading what you wrote. It was that by convincing himself that you wanted it, not only did he remove the guilt from his own conscience (if he has one), but it fed his EGO to believe it. Just a passing thought . . . .