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  Who is in control of your life?                    by Helen Selenati

A hallmark of self-sabotage is the tendency to blame others when things go wrong.  People who sabotage themselves generally take very little responsibility for their lives. We all do some blaming. Itís part of our nature to not take the rap when things donít turn out as planned. Blaming others serves the purpose of temporarily ridding ourselves of feelings of guilt or responsibility.  However, it also reinforces the idea that life is out of our control, and that others can determine how things are going to go for us. This causes much inner turmoil, leading to anxiety and feelings of helplessness.

To stop the downward spiral of blaming others and becoming the innocent victim of circumstances, we need to ask ourselves how we have contributed to our problems. This does not mean that we have to go overboard blaming ourselves for our troubles and getting stuck in a mire of guilt. This self-blaming will also render us powerless to change our lives. 

I am not suggesting that everything that has happened to you in your life is necessarily your fault.  However, if your past continues to haunt you, a tremendous amount of emotional energy is invested in things that cannot be changed. Therefore, letting go of the past will go a long way in helping you feel empowered.  It is helpful to create a personal responsibility statement for yourself that will put you back in the driverís seat.

Hereís a good example: ďBad things have happened in my life, some of which I have had something to do with and some I was a victim of.  Either way I need to learn from these experiences and be responsible to find ways to overcome the difficulties and negative consequences.Ē Having your own personal responsibility statement will help you stay in control of your lifeís circumstances whenever you feel tempted to step into the victim role.

Helen Selenati is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Coach. She has a private practice in Redwood City and can be reached at helen@selenati.com or by calling 650-596-0807. Also visit www.selenati.com



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