use the disorder as an excuse"! "Take responsibility
for your actions"! "Saying that you have Tourette
Syndrome is just a convenience".
are phrases that I'll wager we've all heard more than once.
As we should. These are important principles to abide by -- ones
on which it is easy to slip, I can well attest. It is tempting
to assume that, because we can now actually point to the things that
are not working properly in the TS brain, this means that the person
with TS is powerless to effect change and is thus not responsible for
his/her actions. For example, how many times have YOU caught yourself
beginning an evaluation of yourself or something you've done with,
"Considering that I have Tourette Syndrome……"?
topic this time around IS about responsibility for your actions.
However it is not actually directed at Touretters. It is directed
at everyone else.
We Touretters are very visible in our numerous demons, and our requirement
to be responsible for them all is obvious. Perhaps because we
project the need to be responsible so blatantly, some feel free to drape
all of their own ownership in a situation onto us as well. And
perhaps because we are so used to hearing that we must take responsibility,
we are also quick to accept all ownership. In that way, people
with TS can sometimes become very convenient "coat-hangers"
onto which others shrug their accountability. After all, Touretters
can always be relied on to amplify a reaction. In doing so we
conveniently provide the means for others to move the focus of the situation
off of themselves and onto the overreaction.
It is only too effortless to obscure your own behaviour behind ours.
We are easy to blame, and of course we have our share of blames to shoulder.
But remember that even OVERreactions are still VALID reactions.
We are still reacting TO something. It is simple to remember the
Tourettic response. It is a little bit more difficult to remember
that there was a REASON for that response, no matter how disproportional
the cause was to the effect.
any situation, both people involved are responsible for their own part
in it. Sometimes, however, the person who is made to be wholly
responsible for the situation is merely the person who was second-fastest
in recognizing the OTHER person's responsibilities….
Don't assume that OUR need to take responsibility for our own actions
somehow supercedes your own. You'll be surprised how quickly
a TSer's escalation can end when you admit your own faults in a
situation. To those with TS, I also suggest that self-esteem and
respect from others can begin with the decision to carry your own weights,
but not those of others.
Until next time, my friends!