Anytime we are involved in some sort of dispute or drama, our immediate reaction is to defend ourselves and validate our actions. However, in our passionate efforts to prove we're the right ones in a situation, we often fail to see that we're actually completely in the wrong. Here are some stories of when people realized they were the problem all along. Perhaps we can learn something valuable from their humbling experiences:
#1 Not A Necessity
I noticed my friends were all getting happier and advancing in life while I wasn't. They all went to Key West two weeks ago as a last hurrah (one of them has a rare, aggressive cancer), and I learned of it on Facebook. Telling me I wasn't invited would have stung much, much less. I guess I'm just a necessity for them to keep in their lives.
#2 Two Steps Behind
I am a good person, burdened by years of bad decisions and terrible luck. Divorce, foreclosure, depression, etc. I have never had a career but instead have found creative ways to make money, in addition to whatever job I was working. I've always been a dreamer with lofty ideas. They have played it by the book with corporate jobs that paid miles beyond what I was earning.
I guess I just never fit in, and my honest best guess is that they know I can rarely afford to go, so they leave me out of their plans often. I find it hard to believe they just forgot to invite me. My younger brother is also part of the group, and his decision to not talk with me, weeks after learning I found out, has broken my heart beyond words. Things will never again be the same between us.
#3 Change Starts Today
Fairly recently, I realized I'm fat because I'm unhappy and I'm unhappy because I'm fat. Either way, I'm the only one who can fix it and I have to start giving a heck. A lot of things that hold me back are related to my insecurities, and the biggest insecurity I've had all my life is my weight. I won't let it anymore!
#4 Lazy Chestnuts
My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. He would womanize and he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark... Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent, I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really.
#5 Out Of Place
I was insanely shy in school. Like, almost fully debilitated by social anxiety. It was especially bad in high school when the kids I was at least comfortable eating lunch with went to a different middle school. I saw everyone else as being all-knowing and confident, and having some sort of secret script to know the "right" thing to say. If someone tried to start a conversation with me my thought process would be: "Oh God, why are they talking to me there must be some hidden agenda." I'd just try to get out of the conversation as fast as possible.
Then this one graduating senior I was mildly acquainted with for some reason dropped to me that people thought I was stuck up. That was mind-blowing to me. Couldn't everyone tell that they were the confident ones and I was terrified of them? Well no, they couldn't. It was an epiphany that wow, other people are actually worried about what I think of them just like I'm worried about what they think. And if you avoid talking to people, that's actually hurtful.
#6 It's Been Me All Along
Whenever I’m angry at my girlfriend, all she does is apologize. Over and over again. First, it made me think that yeah, maybe I’m justified in my anger because she’s so apologetic when, in actuality, my mood swings are becoming more and more frequent. I’m getting angrier over the dumbest stuff. A few days ago, it hit me why I never see changes in her behavior—I keep finding different and increasingly inconsequential things to get mad about, regardless of what she does. It made me take a couple of steps back and reevaluate MY behavior.
When I got punched and everyone went and shook the hand of the puncher. In my case, I saw myself as a victim because of my parents. They were going through an ugly divorce when I was in high school, plus my cousin (whom I was quite close to) was in the hospital, fighting for his life. I ended up taking it out on other people because making them feel as bad as I did was a momentary thrill. Not an excuse, just another reason why some people are jerks.
#8 Angry, Not Mean
I realized I was the problem a few years back when I had the coolest freaking therapist in the world. She would say how she couldn’t possibly give a heck about my feelings and that she only cared about results for me. She was the coolest lady ever and I miss her so much. Anyway, she told me a saying that goes: "YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE ANGRY, BUT YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE MEAN." My life got so much better after that.
#9 Blame It On Them
Jobs always seem to go south three or four months in. I've been a line cook for four or five years now and I've left every place blaming management or being understaffed or whatever. But at this last place, I started hating it after a couple of months again. It's a small mom and pop place and they really don't know how to run a business, but they aren't the reason I hate the job. I am. I just hate cooking for other people. I realized I think I know how everything should be done and everyone else doesn't.
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#10 Second Time's A Charm
My best friend used to joke that I was creepy, pathetic, and worthless. Then, one night, they got tipsy and confessed they had really meant it all the time. I decided I needed a new best friend and went out and found one. After about a year they let me know I was needy, boring, pathetic, and worthless. The second time was the charm.
#11 Smart But Unmotivated
The world is built around average people. If smart people aren’t ever encouraged to put their gift to use, they get away with the bare minimum and fall into “average” territory. Frankly, we don’t have to try very hard. I 100% also dealt with this. I went from being the super-smart know-it-all in a class of 300 to just another smart person in an industry filled with smart people. I’ve really had to put the time in to make my work stand out. I’ve worked harder in the last five years than I ever did through my late teens and early 20s. I wish I had applied myself like this then.
#12 Gifted Child Syndrome
As I approach 30, I realize that I have "gifted child syndrome" and my success in high school and college theatre productions mean nothing when I'm not putting in the groundwork to have a career. Part of that was depression, and another part of that was liking to get tipsy every night. As they say: "The bad thing about being smart is you never really have to use it."
#13 Becoming Better
I realized I have a hand in every situation in my life; that I am always responsible for myself. In any situation I encounter, I have a choice as to how to handle, respond, and perceive it. I was probably 17 when I realized blaming everyone else for my issues is what my parents do and I don’t want to be anything like them, so I took a step back.
#14 Letting Down My Walls
I used to blame every issue I had on anything and everything I could find. Every apology was filled with excuses diluting and justifying my conduct until one day, I realized that people don’t want excuses, they want apologies, and so then I learned to fix that. Then I realized, people don’t want apologies either; they would prefer if problems and arguments didn’t happen in the first place.
#15 Working On It
Realizing I was very toxic towards my significant other. I broke up with my partner after having the same discussion for two months without getting close to resolving it. My main reason for breaking up was that he was not able to have constructive conversations in order to work conflicts out. When we decided to meet up two days after the break-up and have one last conversation, we both realized that the topic of our fighting has not been the issue, but that our way of interacting with each other had become super toxic. For me, it was a shock that my behavior was very problematic too. So we got back together, and are working hard to be in a healthy relationship with each other.
#16 A Rough Cycle
When my therapist told me I overreact when I feel rejected, even if it's a little rejection, due to lack of love my parents gave me when I was little. Mostly, I get mad at the person who rejected me and sometimes I cope with it by showing my anger. Other times, I cope with it by simply isolating myself. It's a rough cycle.
#17 Overthinking Things
I have this in spades. I overthink a lot. The biggest thing for me is people not meeting me on time. My stepmother would say she would pick me up from someplace and show up an hour or more late. She just didn't care. Now if someone is at all late to meet me it is a huge deal in my head. I feel they don't care about me, etc.
#18 Put Yourself First
I'm admittedly still working on this. I had a huge amount of childhood trauma and abuse and I cut the obvious abusers off in my teens. The real progress didn't happen until I cut off the less obvious toxic people as well as the people making excuses for them. After I stopped allowing others to mistreat me, that's when I realized I was making myself unhappy.
For a long time, I THOUGHT I'd learned that I was the reason for my unhappiness, but I still continued to complain and make excuses for not doing what I wanted, and being who I wanted to be. It felt impossible to stop indulging in self-pity. It's taken a lot of practice to learn to identify when I'm entertaining that victim thought process as it starts. I still slip up sometimes, but I've gotten a lot better at it.
#19 Tough Times
When I got fired from a volunteer position teaching at an inner-city elementary school that I’d moved across the country for. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets greased. It was City Year, an Americorp program. I moved out there after college to get some direction and do something for the country since I am not cut out for military service. I lived on people’s floors and in my car for the first couple of months while I worked at this elementary school in north San Jose.
#20 Over The Hurdle
I was insanely shy until I was about 15. Someone told me that everyone thought I was stuck up. Then I decided I'd rather have people think I was an idiot than arrogant and just started talking to everyone. Now I'm in my 30's and I still have my panic moments of "Man, I'm going to say the wrong thing," but I get through it and now people comment on how friendly and easy to talk to I am.
#21 Emotional Maturity
My excuses made less sense out loud than they did in my head. I started to realize that even if something was partially someone else’s “fault” I was responsible for whatever was left of the problem. My actions and reactions were my choices. No matter what, I always had a choice and consciously made a choice to act on it. Emotional maturity is a real thing.
#22 The Cut Runs Deep
I realized I was the problem when I almost ruined my dad's surprise party by staying in my bed and making my family late. In my mind, I was always thinking, “They deserve this for what they’ve done to me.” They weren’t always there when I was a kid but now they try to be and I push them away. I’m trying to be better with them, but it just hasn’t been the same because we got in an argument that day. Some tears were shed.
#23 Not Just Bad Luck
By the time I'd been fired from like 20 different jobs, I realized it wasn't just bad luck or just happening to get a bunch of jerks for bosses and coworkers—I was genuinely incapable of competently performing at any job no matter how hard I tried. Anyway, then I went on disability. I also have a chronic illness that caused me to miss a lot of work, but most of the problem is that I'm autistic.
When my boyfriend (now husband) told me he had a hard time handling my mood swings and they were emotionally exhausting him. I’m so afraid of losing him that something clicked inside me that I needed to get myself figured out. And I’m still trying my hardest but things have improved so much since then. Sometimes, all it takes is someone to tell you you're being difficult.
#25 Letting It Happen
My ex was horrible to me, mentally abusive, and possessive. I was estranged from my family and friends, so I was alone. Ordered me around constantly. But I was the one letting that happen. Yeah, there are horrible people in life who deserve nothing. But you don't have to live with them, do you? You don't have to marry them, have kids? So I didn't. I left. I was the reason I wasn't happy.
#26 Finally, An Answer
When I kept having the same cycle relationship-wise... Unfortunately, I was being abusive and ungrateful. I kept getting into fights. I finally took a stand and am going to see a psychologist tomorrow. Update: I just got evaluated and I got diagnosed with depressive disorder. My abusive tendencies are attributed to my childhood trauma and they recommend more therapy. I guess I have my answer.
#27 Help Is Available
I used to think people were super harsh because criticism always made me cry. Of course, I quickly learned (like, in third or fourth grade) that I was just extremely dramatic and that I also have very extreme anxiety. It's definitely something I've been working on fixing and I'm a lot better about it now. I've actively sought help and my life has been slowly improving ever since.
#28 Overwhelming Negativity
I’ve been told my entire professional life that I’m difficult to work with. I always chalked that up to having to develop a thick skin as a woman who cooks professionally. About three months ago, I started taking SSRIs after yet another bad year-end review and missed promotion. The pills changed my personality so drastically that I realized the negativity and bad vibes that have been the biggest inhibitor of my career all stemmed from depression and anxiety. If I had started antidepressants earlier in my life, I would’ve saved myself a lot of heartaches.
#29 The Three Exes
When three exes back-to-back over the years were the ones who broke up with me. They couldn’t handle my mental breakdowns and self-victimizing. They broke it off because they were tired of it. One after the other, it fueled my self pity until I got tired of the same old story myself. I’m currently with an amazing woman and we’ve been together for a little over a year now, the longest relationship I’ve ever been in. Her patience and unconditional love and support with my depression and episodes help me try to be better and catch myself self-destructing because I don’t want to lose another person in my life. I’ve gotten a lot better over time but I know I still have a lot of work to do.
#30 The Intellectual Muscle
If you're naturally smart you rarely get intellectually challenged, so you never learn how to work hard. It's like a muscle that you never learn how to exercise. In my case, I flew through school at the top of my class for nearly every subject but eventually hit a level where my natural intellectual resources were no longer sufficient. But I had never learned to study. I didn't know how and it was too late to learn. I couldn't. I just fell apart and flunked out.
#31 Turning It Around
In middle school, I never went to my classes or did my work. I stayed in the office all day and would nap in the sick room. I still ended up going into high school because of the No Child Left Behind Act. I proceeded to do what I always did and ended up being held back in my freshman year. I ended up actually getting myself in gear. I balanced both my freshman and sophomore classes and passed both. I’m now a junior and have a 3.5 GPA.
#32 A Rocky Relationship
About a week before my ex broke up with me. Our relationship was rocky because of my anxiety and stress. She had her bad moments too, but a lot of them were spawned because I couldn't accept that someone could have strong feelings for me. When I decided that I wanted to change things around and make up for the issues I caused, she had already decided enough was enough and to end it. I'm still not over the breakup and I'm struggling to move on.
#33 Hopeful For Change
My friends seem to form strong bonds and have each other's back. And I'm just there. We graduated from high school this past year and I'm pretty sure no one will even message me. Problem is, I hate social contact and can't bring myself to even answer a message in less than four days. I just like to spend my days at home, working out and watching movies or reading. The fact I can't form bonds with people is completely my fault. Hope this all changes when I move to a different state in the next days. A new college, new people, new me, hopefully...
#34 A Harsh Realization
I was physically abusive towards an ex of mine (I'm female). I tried to justify or pretend it never happened for a while then a good friend came to me after his girlfriend had hurt him and I realized I was just like her. I hated myself for years, but with therapy and stuff, I'm way more willing to admit my mistakes and work on making sure it NEVER happens again.
#35 Closed Off
When I was growing up, we didn’t have anything. I always wanted to be able to support myself, so I moved to Colorado a thousand miles away from everything I knew so that I could learn to be self-sufficient. So many years of being by myself and doing it all by myself made me somewhat bitter in certain aspects.
One aspect is I get paranoid that people are taking advantage of me or using me very easily. I don’t trust people like at all. It’s a wall I’ve been dealing with my entire life. I’ve become somewhat toxic to the people I’m around the most and that I care about the most, not always but I can be very cynical.
#36 Attachment Issues
In high school, I would always get really annoyed with the guys I dated and I'd want to break up quickly. I thought it was because all high school boys are annoying, which, let’s be honest, most are, but it was because of my own attachment issues and anger problems. I didn’t even know I had these problems until recently. I would always flip out over small things, like being touched too much or if they were too nice to me.
#37 Narcissistic Tendencies
I would not take the blame and I had been conditioned to narcissistic characteristics. From my lenses, it was a normal way to act. My significant other explained to me that this was not normal. It took a while to change but I became a better person. I am more emotionally mature and enjoy helping others. I am glad someone believed in me, otherwise, I would have ended up all alone.
#38 Reevaluating My Life
When my former best friend outright told me I was gaslighting her and I realized she was right. That was a reality check and a half. I had an abusive mother and never realized how much of her terrible behavior I adopted and engaged in. Knowing that I had become so much like the person I hate most in the world really did make me reevaluate my entire life. It took me too long to realize how terribly I treated the people I love, to the point where every relationship/friendship I used to have is over.
#39 That's Life
Growth. Aging. Meds. Life experiences. I think we all realize at some point in life that we're the problem, it just varies what and when it is. For me, it's been realizing that my anxiety and depression are the cause of a lot of life problems. But I think for a lot of people, it's good to start with a visit with a good friend who you can trust to be honest with you, or with a therapist.
#40 Total Exhaustion
I was really tipsy one night, lying in bed and trying to sleep... but all I could hear was insane traffic noise. Sometimes, I can hear the road through my window, but this was crazy—sirens, people shouting, tires rumbling. I couldn't understand what they were saying but the shouting got louder and louder. I opened my eyes to look outside. All I could make out was a police car blocking the road and a policeman running towards me. I'd fallen asleep on a mini-roundabout.
#41 Honest Mistake
I got fired as an after school coding class teacher. I did this in my last semester of college but did this at an elementary school obviously. The kids liked me, the staff liked me, I taught them a bunch and everything went great. For some background, I have a roughneck personality sort to speak. I'm a dude with tattoos, I like to drink, and I cuss like a sailor.
But when I was with those kids, I didn't cuss, except one day I wasn't paying attention and I said a bad word when something happened to one of the computers. A few of the girls said "Aw...you said the S-word," and I apologized, but they told their parents and I got fired. At first, I thought it wasn't fair, but then I realized that some people have the personality to be around kids and some don't, I don't.
#42 Dota Lessons
When I learned how to get better at Dota. Hear me out. One of the big things in that game is rank climbing and people always cry: "Everyone is always bad, my teammates are always worse than me and that's why I never climb the ranks no matter how much I play or how good I do!" The short of that is this: everyone is in that same situation, you are not a special snowflake who the universe hand-picked to just always have awful luck.
Maybe not all your shortcomings are 100% your fault but life is a struggle and part of playing that game is knowing the rules, knowing what to expect and preparing for it. When I wanted to get better at Dota I had to look at what successful people did to climb, and the short version of that explanation was (with a lot of little intricacies omitted) you have to strive for every little bit of improvement and try to better than when the attempts (games) before.
#43 Starved For Friends
A lot of people lose interest in what I'm saying like halfway through me telling a story or trying to carry a conversation. Sometimes they just walk away or start talking to someone else. It really hurts and makes me feel invisible. I started asking around for honest opinions and apparently the way I talk is "overwhelming" and my stories are too long. And one person said I talk too loud. Apparently, I have no idea how to talk to people. And man, that hurts. Because I have no idea where to begin changing and I'm starved for friends that I can't make.
#44 Just A Bad Situation
It was the opposite for me. For years I kept blaming myself for every wrong decision I made when I had to learn that I was just living life, and I did what I thought was right at the time and was being too hard on myself and blamed myself because I didn't find anything else to blame. Sometimes there's nothing to blame. Sometimes the situation is just bad and you're just doing your best.
#45 Seeking Counsel
When I went to counseling because I was so unhappy with my husband. I learned how to not nag, how to understand that "no" doesn't mean "I don't love you," and how to stay calm when he was being selfish. It took maybe eight sessions to completely change how happy we were alone and together. We've got a long way to go, but I'm extremely hopeful for us.
#46 A Tipsy Fool
When I realized that my boyfriend and I are fighting almost always when I am tipsy. We have some small disagreements from time to time, but when I'm tipsy, those are full-on awful fights, and I blame it on him mostly because he doesn't understand me or he doesn't want to listen to me. But then I realized that I wouldn't listen to a tipsy fool who just yells in the streets, so I am really trying not to drink anymore or cause such troubles. It is quite nice.
#47 Accepting Who I Am
I realized I wasn't "letting myself feel my emotions" like people told me. They'd always say I needed to do more of that. I was wallowing in my own misery whenever I got sad and wasn't making an effort to cheer myself up and move on. I'm just not an emotional person and it's okay to not require a lot of emotional processing. I'm just learning to accept myself for who I am.
#48 Jerk Motives
I'm going to be extremely vague. I was dating a girl in high school and the circumstances were difficult. When she moved away things became far more complicated. I was a jerk about the situation because I had a hard time accepting that things just weren't fair. Bad things were involved in my end and I was just an all-around monster as far as I see it. At the time, I didn't realize I was the problem. Eventually, I saw the light and realized that I absolutely was.
#49 College Drama
I was in college and had a serious of unfortunate events. I called a few friends to complain and we all commiserated on how life was so unfair. For some reason, I had a moment of clarity when I realized all of my problems were of my own doing. It was a really important time for personal growth in my life that I’m glad I met, but the following months were hard and I lost a few friends. As it turned out, I’d surrounded myself with people who also didn’t take responsibility for their own actions.
#50 Listen To Your Friends
When all my close friends told me that I was partially in the wrong and when even some of them deaded me temporarily. Moral of the story: listen to your friends when they tell you that you're making a mistake by seeing a married woman and then cry over losing her back to her husband and when they tell you they told you so.