The other day I was at a seminar where the speaker said that many aging men he’s met say, “My life would be good if it weren’t for this one thing someone did back in….” He noted that such comments betray a failure on the part of those men to take responsibility for their own lives.
In his book, The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck speaks clearly about this tendency to avoid responsibility.
“This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness. Since most of us have this tendency to a greater or lesser degree, most of us are mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree, lacking complete mental health. Some of us will go to quite extraordinary lengths to avoid our problems and the suffering they cause, proceeding far afield from all that is clearly good and sensible in order to try to find an easy way out, building the most elaborate fantasies in which to live, sometimes to the total exclusion of reality. In the succinctly elegant words of Carl Jung, ‘Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.'” The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck, pp. 16-17.
Peck’s dead on.