University of Houston research professor and author Brene Brown describes blame as the discharge of pain and discomfort. We already know what happens when we’re uncomfortable in our bodies. There are many physical strategies we use to change how our bodies feel. Blame is a mental strategy that allows us to alleviate our discomfort along with any responsibility.
The amazing part is there are so many variations of blame. Let me introduce you to a few of them:
1) Self-deprecating blame: You blame yourself when something bad happens … even if it’s not your fault.
(How often do you apply this form of blame?)
2) Political blame: You blame another (out loud) when you need to own your part in a situation. (Just look at the U.S. Presidential election…)
(Are you & your partner using this form of blame?)
3) Suffering-in-silence blame: You blame another, but you don’t say anything out loud. Meanwhile,you’re fuming inside as your blame slowly transforms into resentment.
(It’s possible you & whoever you are blaming now had been using this form of blame in the past or still with certain authority figures in your lives? Self-reflect instead of using #2 blame on each other. Ask yourself who else in my family of origin uses this type of blame?)
What Game Are You Playing?
Did you play “musical chair” at parties as a child? When everyone stands around a roll of chairs (short one) and when the music plays everyone walks around the chairs as quickly as possible, hoping they’ll land on a seat when the music stops.
When the music stops, the person left standing without a seat is eliminated from the game. No one wants to be left standing without a seat. It means “You’re out!”
That’s exactly what we do with blame. It’s an endless game of landing for the metaphorical “seat” of responsibility onto another person instead of owning how we may have contributed to a situation. Once again, it’s more comfortable not to be “out” (so to speak.)
It’s natural to be able to see faults in others more easily than we see them in ourselves. Projection is a type of blame that focuses on some one else’s contribution to an outcome rather than on one’s own. Many of us learn this skill at a young age.
For example, if you had siblings, you quickly learned a game of survival called “pin the blame on your brother or sister.”
It’s no wonder that as adults, we recycle projection on others with thoughts like:
• It’s your fault.
• You shouldn’t have done that.
• You messed it up.
• You made me do it.
• If only you’d change all will be well.
The reasons people project blame onto others is self-protection. They want to create a sense of control or safety, and they do this by making someone else bad, wrong, or 100 percent responsible for an outcome. This manifests in several ways. Sometime blamers are direct about their projections and say them out loud to the person they are inconflict with. A majority of the time, however, blamers voice their grievances to somebody else. Blamers can also simmer in silence, as you’ve already learned. But just because someone doesn’t voice blame out loud doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
(Please self reflect whether you applied the above in both how you communicate & behave with others.)
Now, the next logical question would be:“Why would you waste so much energy on this type of behaviour?” Blame is seductive. It’s enticing. There’s a short-term (false) sense of power you get from blaming another. A sense of righteousness; a sense of justice; if you blame somebody else and you don’t tell them about it, it can turn into loneliness and — depending on how important this relationship is to you — sometimes even resentment, isolation, and depression. (Now you know why you’re not happy & feeling depressed at times.)
If you blame somebody in a repetitive, persistent, or aggressive manner, it can be considered intimidation, bullying,or badgering. These are more intense forms of blame and commonly occur in emotionally charged disagreements or in legal disputes. The blamer thinks that if s/he absolves her/himself of responsibility in a situation, s/he will somehow feel better and get more of what s/he wants.
But here’s the problem. Blame is an illusion, kind of like a mirage of water in the desert. In reality, what happens is that the person blaming feels a false sense of power while the other person ends up feeling unfairly accused — they carry a disproportionate share of the blame.
This results in disconnection and distance,and, if it continues on both sides, ultimately a stalemate; (does this sound familiar?)
Why would anyone choose to be in a stalemate? Because in reality, they don’t realise that they have a choice.
My dear “Light Workers”, now that you can no longer claim “I don’t know what I don’t know”, what would be your conscious choice? Keep the blame game going or own up your side of the street and make conscious changes? The choice is yours!
If you could resonate and interested to learn more … feel free to leave a comment; I welcome your questions and will answer them in due course.