That's not bragging, but only to say that I've grabbed on to words like duty and obligation. If I'm responsible, it implies that I'm worthwhile. Likeable. Loveable.
I never heard anyone call my younger brother Mel responsible. When I visited my hometown, he'd promise to come and see me and not show up. He owed me money and often said, "I haven't forgotten and I'm going to pay you back." Even growing up, he'd say, "I'm going to" as the prelude for some action both of us knew he wouldn't take. I don't recall that he ever did anything he promised.
At times I've wished I could have been more like him. I envisioned him as carefree and indifferent. He was neither. Only during the last months of his life did I realize how guilt-ridden he was.
For me, when I realized something was wrong, especially in the family, I was responsible. I'm sure that's part of the reason I was a pastor for 14 years. By then, I liked others depending on me. When I did something right and members praised me, I felt wonderful. And yes, I felt terrible when I disappointed someone or a member disliked me.
As a man who is healing from abuse, I don't want to be irresponsible, but I want to be accountable for the right things and especially for the right people. As I act on being answerable to Cec, it also means that I don't have to accept the guilt for others' unhappiness.
I'm responsible for me.
That's a good kind of self-love.
(This post was adapted from Not Quite Healed, written by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe.)