taking accountability in relationships

Good Intentions Aren't An Excuse For Bad Behaviour |Taking Accountability In Relationships|

I believe that we are all inherently good people, and we just make mistakes from time to time - but wait, hear me out - we ultimately reach a point where we learn what was right for us, even if it wasn't what we needed in that unfortunate moment.

Now, for some background context, I am surrounded by mostly emotionally mature people (say hey to my team!) and they do leave me in awe most of the time. Yes, I know, I have very healthy friends who are inherently kind. 

The point of this wasnt to brag, but if I do have to, I can say that I am winning in life. In fact, I count my blessings every day (daily gratitude for the win!).

But then again, with all good things, there has to be some balance. I do know of one particular individual who I’m very close to, to the extent that I feel like somewhere they’re a part of me. However - and this is where it gets interesting - our relationship is a weird flavour of chaos. We’re almost always on different tangents, have different life goals, etc. It makes me wonder why this person is even in my life if we are so different. The truth is that this person is kind, loving and charismatic. I know that they are inherently good. We may have grown slightly apart, but that's not the point here. 

Which brings me back to the actual point. I was recently watching this show Ramy and it’s such a brilliant show. I fell in love with how humanly flawed all the characters in the show are and how they manoeuvre life just being…flawed. Ramy, in particular, is someone I relate to the hardest because of his belief that he wants to be good and tries everything to be the best, but unfortunately, always falls short somewhere. He is an extreme version of falling short. That's what makes him so endearing as a person, that he tries and fails and repeats that cycle. 

Although, this is the point where I must clarify that the more seasons I watched, the more distance I found between his character and myself. I hate this distance especially since I really liked the show. 

Something strange happened right after. The more I stopped relating to Ramy, the more he started to remind me of the previously mentioned (and perpetually unnamed) individual. I think Ramy's struggle is an extreme case. But in the case of my friend, it was more casual. Ramy’s journey in the show highlights his struggle with the fact that the world does not exist to make him a better person. He avoids taking personal responsibility, and somehow switches it with him morally improving himself. I don’t want to ramble on too much about the show because I will ruin it if you’ll have watched it (go watch it and make your own conclusions!)

On the other hand, I could now see a completely different version of my (former) friend. The version that Ramy could highlight. Here’s the thing, they’ve always been trying to be a good person. But no amount of validation helps them see it. The thing that I realised the most is that this person would never take accountability for their actions. It was always someone else who was responsible for their bad mood or (frequent) lash outs. I would often beat myself up for not maintaining boundaries with them or being taken for granted. 

The weird part is, I started to realise that people also held me accountable for their actions,  because I did take the responsibility to be there for them and dig them out of every bad decision. Until it reached a point where I couldn’t. I was exhausted.  These were decisions that I wasn’t even making. My friend would often ask for my advice and I would spend days trying to help them figure out how to be better for themselves. It would become cyclic where we hatched a plan and then end up not following through. 

The most Ramy thing about this person was not their inability to take responsibility for their actions, but continuously using their good intentions as an excuse for their mistakes. It’s vital that we genuinely know that our intentions aren't malice when we hurt other people. But that can't be the end of it, can it?  Where is the accountability for the hurt caused? 

I am no saint, because I may have done something similar on multiple occasions. Dismissing someone’s hurt because it wasn't my intention. But like most faults, it’s always easier to see it in others. 

Here are a few things that helped me reflect on:

  • This person’s struggles are real, but that doesn't mean that my struggles aren't. One does have to be bigger than the other. We all are struggling and we can allow ourselves to be more compassionate. 
  • We might have the purest of intentions, but that doesn't mean we are free of accountability. 
  • When intentions become our excuse for our mistakes, it turns more towards blaming other people for the uncomfortable feeling that comes up. 
  • To add to the above, we also end up making empty apologies as we don't really need to take responsibility for the hurt caused. 

I can definitely say I’ve been some version of Ramy and have also  been around some version of him. The only thing that I can say is that taking accountability and responsibility for your actions, regardless of how good your intentions are, doesn't make you a bad person. It definitely means you have some flaws, but the best part is that we all do and we all struggle with them. 

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Malvika Lobo


Malvika, a seasoned therapist with over 7 years of experience, specializes in Animal Assisted Therapy and Arts Based Therapy. She is the smother of animals, a chai enthusiasts and has a hot take on all things.

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