Being responsible for the suffering of others

Thursday, May 13, 2021 1137 words 5 mins 3 secs
An A Course in Miracles Blog  © 2021 Paul West

Everyone has free will. Which means that all experiences are chosen. And nothing happens to anyone without their consent or choice. If this weren't true, it would be possible that someone's free will could be taken away from them, violated, broken, or completely have no effect. This isn't possible because the free will was given by GOD, and is irrevocably permanent. Everyone has free will at all times.

"The world (heaven), in its original connotation, included both the proper creation of man (souls) by God, AND the proper creation by man (souls) in his Right Mind. The latter required the endowment of man (souls) by God with free will, because all loving creation is freely given."

"It still remains within him to project as God projected his own Spirit to him. In reality, this is his ONLY choice, because his free will was made for his own joy in creating the perfect."

When a person seems incapable of exercising decision making on their own, such as with a baby or a child, a person who you are having to be guardian for due to their disabilities, some group of people that you're supposed to protect, the elderly who have lost their power of thought and seem unable to look after themselves etc, these all create scenarios where someone else seems to have to take "responsibility" for them.

It's interesting first of all that there even is such a scenario where someone could seem to be in a position to be unable to choose for themselves. This alone is the result of ego interfering with freedom. And just because e.g. newborn babies are heavily dependent on their parents for survival and for decision making, this doesn't mean it's natural. To place oneself in a position of having to depend on anyone else to make decisions, for any reason, is an aspect of self denial. Which is what leads to incarnation in the first place. In effect this makes the bodies of babies, a physical "face of innocence", denying responsibility for attacking God.

Beyond that, once you're in a situation where it seems you have "no choice" but to take responsibility for choosing for someone else, there is now a very slippery slope. If you truly are "held accountable" for someone else's well-being, and if anything whatsoever remotely happens to that person, it is now implied that this is "your fault". Whether it be that you are a parent who "has to" look after a young child, or an adult looking after an elderly parent, or an older sibling looking after a younger sibling, the same is true.

If in any way another person seems to lack the power of decision or free will, and you have to "take over responsibility", this is tantamount to forcing you into a state of guilt. Anything that do, anything that happens to them, now effectively happens "to you", because you have now extended the scope of what you are responsible for. Even to the extent that it makes you feel like they are "part of you", and what happens to them even starts to affect you against your will. When they suffer, you suffer, because of this belief that you are bound to them - that you being responsible for them makes them an extension of your self.

It's very difficult to avoid this "double responsibility" in this world. If parents would just ditch babies, the babies would not survive. If we would just let those with dementia or alzheimers or disabilities fend for themselves, they would not last long. The question then is, is it possible psychologically to still maintain a role of "looking after" another person, or seeming to be responsible for them, WITHOUT believing that you are taking over their free will, and without using their suffering as a way to induce guilt in yourself?

It is very difficult to not feel guilty for the suffering of others. If you feel responsible for them it induces guilt and fear. If you feel compelled to protect them from suffering, and something happens, you can potentially go into self blame. If they go through a difficult time, you can possibly feel like it's your fault even if it isn't. And any way in which they suffer, makes you suffer.

If what's happening in your mind is a lack of letting go, a sense of "owning the person" (very prevalent in parenting), efforts to control and coerce, or any other way in which the person's free will is violated, then this will lay the groundwork for your own suffering. Regardless of whether you are acting physically on the level of form to provide for, support, guide, "keep alive" or otherwise be "responsible for" someone else's life, you have to find a way to keep sight of free will. Otherwise you will lose yourself in it and accuse yourself of "irresponsibility", as a result of being overly responsible.

I was guided recently, that "She is God's responsibility, not yours". This was because I kept being overly responsible for the wellbeing of another person. This compels a need to constantly fix and control things. It results in a kind of fear-driven desperation to want things to be different. To try to get someone to make different choices, to avoid certain outcomes. But as soon as we're getting into territory of encroaching on free will, we're going to lose our own peace of mind.

It boils down to the simple fact that you can't retain a sense of freedom if you take over the freedom of others. You become excessively responsible for things you are not responsible for, when you see yourself as "the cause of" what others are experiencing. You move into states of guilt and fear and worry whenever you believe that someone is "not supposed to" or "supposed to" be in a certain state they are not electing to be in. And you cannot retain any sense of peace while you try to coerce anyone in any way.

It's a difficult thing to deal with. You have to continue possibly being physically and emotionally supportive of a person, but without getting lost in it. Without losing sight of your own free will and that of another. It can even seem frightening to entertain the idea of allowing someone to make poor decisions or to degrade or to head towards death. Mainly because this incites reactions of guilt at not preventing it, due to believing it's your fault, based on believing their free will is something for YOU to control.

Always it's about the confusion of who you are, who they are, who is responsible for what freedom, and who is doing what to whom. You have to let people go in order to truly helpful. Otherwise any help is really a combination of help and manipulation. And that can only lead to a special relationship.

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