The Blame Game
Aah the Blame Game; what fun we're having with the world these days! Gone are the days when we just thought everything that happened was our own fault, now we think its everyone else's fault instead. That's quite a trick to pull off isn't it?
Love and Relationships
How does blame play such a large part in love and relationships? Firstly it sabotages any real chance of happiness that you might have. Why? I hear you ask. Well, if you're always seeking to pass the blame on to someone else then you really aren't taking any responsibility for your own actions.
Once you begin abdicating responsibility you also lose autonomy and with that goes control. Not control in the sense that you make everything happen exactly as you would like it to, but control in the way you influence the natural course of your relationships. This can include minor things like what you'll eat for dinner together to larger life choices like whether or not to have children or to get married.
It's really interesting how blame robs you of control. It's a myth to assume that blaming someone else for everything is a sure fire way of retaining control.
This is how it happens: something goes ‘wrong', perhaps you have a row about something really insignificant like leaving the cap off the toothpaste tube. You blame the other person, you do so without really considering who left the top off or indeed whether or not it's even worth “arguing” about. When you're living in a blame environment (and let's face it, most people are) your main priority is to establish who is to blame and your instinct is to make sure it isn't YOU. At this point, facts aren't at all relevant, it's simply a fight for survival. Protect yourself at all costs. BAM!! There you go, blame takes control and with that, rational thoughts and behaviours leave the building (and with them goes YOUR control).
A great way to think about control and blame is to look at it from the perspective of your response. Jack Canfield talks about E + R = O (E is for Event, R is for Response and O is for Outcome). I encourage all of my clients to memorise this and use it as a guide to help them make great decisions about how they will respond to events in order to positively influence the outcome. You can read more about Jack's formula HERE.
The Past is to Blame TOO!?!
Another way I see people use blame to make themselves feel better about things is to say that it was the fault of someone or something in their past. For example, they blame their parents, or siblings, or the bullies at school or an awful teacher for the situation they now find themselves in.
The rise in self help has had an interesting impact upon blame and how we ‘use' it. As self help encouraged us to look at our past as a way of identifying patterns in our adult lives it was more or less inevitable that we might want to apportion blame.
It seems very much part of the human condition to rely upon blame, it happens without realising it. Once you start listening for it, every conversation you hear is peppered with blame, some more subtle than others but there nonetheless. When it comes to blaming some part of your past you're immediately on to a winner because mostly it's your personal, faded and filtered memories that you're reviewing. You only have to ask three people to describe an event they each witnessed to see how subjective our own memories are.
So whilst you're busy blaming your parent (for example), the parent most likely has no idea or even recollection of the event you've fixed upon. Even if that experience did play a huge part in shaping who and where you are now, only YOU have the power to change things. Blame does very little to change anything, it simply helps you abdicate responsibility and thus change becomes impossible.
Your Ex Was a $/&*@% Thus All Men (or Women) are $/&*@%'s
How many people do you know who are so hurt that they can't get past blaming their exes to be able to enjoy a great new relationship? I get messages from a lot of women who say they don't want to be on their own. Women who want a great man to share their lives with. Many of them are ready to face the future, but some are still stuck in the past.
The women who are blaming their past talk about how badly they've been treated in the past, about how they believe there are no good men out there and how all men are a**-****s etc etc etc. Sadly, it's unlikely I will be able to help these women. They're often too deeply entrenched in the blame game. Everything I say to them is met with resistance, and when that happens nothing can change. There's no longer a light at the end of the tunnel for anyone who refuses to stop focussing on the past.
Blame actually has no part to play in life at all. It doesn't ever really matter who's ‘fault' something is. We all do bad things, we all make mistakes, mostly people are good rather than malicious. Perhaps the world would be a brighter place if we focussed more on the now instead of the past. If we let go of the instinct to blame, then a whole world of opportunities appears before our eyes. By thinking about the life we want we can begin to work out how to create it and that way we can make more informed decisions about our future that will ultimately bring us greater joy and happiness.
Could the secret to real love and lasting happiness be a world without blame?
Blame colours your difficulties and makes disagreements spring from nowhere. Blame can be more subtle than you realise, you might not be aware that you're doing it. You might not even notice that it's going on everywhere around you; in the workplace, on tv and in media, and often in loving relationships (via the conversations you have with girlfriends about their partners). Blame is damaging.
When you can live your life free of the desire to blame others, or even yourself, you'll find that you can really live fully and love openly and honestly. You'll attract more suitable partners. You'll find more joy in everything that you do. You'll experience more success. You'll cultivate real love and lasting happiness.
How Can You Start to Eradicate Blame?
If you'd like to banish blame in your relationship here's a little tip:
When you've had a row with your partner, instead of focussing on what you believe the person did wrong, simply accept that you had a disagreement. Don't dwell on the disagreement. Allow the disagreement to be done with. Speak your truth without fighting or name calling, let the person know how they hurt you and then move on together. Don't get wrapped up in being right, or winning. There are no winners in arguments.
Thanks for reading!
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