Cassandra, one of my clients in joint session with her husband, was fuming. She protested my encouraging her to put in the effort and thoughtfulness needed on how she feels and thinks towards her husband and children. In the light of her choices and behavior, she found her self hurting everyone in her family. Yet she continued to blame, displacing all responsibility into them. Unfortunately, she chose to studiously avoid a deep examination of her self and owning her part in family relationships.
RAD or “responsibility-avoidance disease.” It’s essentially a choice to evade responsibility for what you are and how you think and feel on you. You deny your self-creation. You reject that you are the cause of your own “experience” and responsible for everything that happens in that “experience.” It’s the inability to choose personal responsibility that keeps people stuck in their lives. Only when they make this choice can their life move forward.
A core of personal healing and wholeness is responsibility assumption. You are the sole creator of your “experience” of whatever happens to you. You are responsible for creating the “experience” of your loved ones’ manifesting behavior, your being wounded by abusive parents, your being betrayed by your spouse, your financial bankruptcy, and so on. Do things happen to you and you’re a just mere passive, innocent bystander?
Psychotherapy and responsibility are closely connected. RAD is bad for mental health. Responsibility acceptance and assumption leads to therapeutic recovery. Dynamically, a certain amount of ego strength is necessary if one is to successfully assume personal responsibility. It involves the belief that you have the power to act on your behalf. You recognize that you can create and influence your own experiential worlds. You’re able to see the causal relationship between your own behavior and your outcomes.
Indeed, this shift of mindset is a major key to life change. As William James put it, “If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”