Nothing drills down another person’s happiness like constant blame. “The sun rose so it’s your fault. There was an earthquake on the other side of the world, so, again, it’s your fault. Everything is your fault. In fact, I don’t know why I married someone with so many faults.” Blame is verbal abuse.
The most fascinating thing, to me, is that when I confront all these blamers, they tell me that they love their spouse, child, etc. So what gives? What in the world do you love about them if they are responsible for every problem you have?
Now you’re going to ask me, “Well, DrDeb, if they upset me and I don’t tell them, aren’t they going to keep on doing it?”
The problem is that if you do keep piling blame and accusation on them, I guarantee they’ll keep on doing it. After all, you’re making them feel miserable, so what is their motivation to be nice to you? Ever hear the old expression, “You get more bees with honey than vinegar”? Think about it. Bottom line: Your relationship will fall apart, if it hasn’t already, if you feel a need to rehash every thing that went wrong with blaming. You can’t rewrite the past by rehashing it, and you definitely don’t create what those in the business world call “good will.” So put the brakes on that behavior. Pronto.
How Did You Start The blaming Thing, Anyway?
It started three ways:
One: Your parents did it to each other and to you.
Two: You thought as a little kid that somebody has to be at fault for everything that went wrong and that somehow, If only the guilty party were uncovered, it would make the problem go away.
Three: You don’t know how to rid yourself of the uncomfortable feeling that you’re left with when something goes wrong.
Taking these one by one, you realize that just because your parents did something did not make it a brilliant idea. Some parents were wrong, what can I say? And this is one of them.
Blaming Always Backfires
If you look at all the terrible mistakes in life, the truth is that there is, indeed, plenty of fault to go around. But, so what? Finding out who is at fault does not solve or even reduce the problem. Have you found that it does? In fact, if you are honest with yourself, it doesn’t prevent future occurrences of the problem either. Actually, blaming insures that you will get future occurrences of the problem. The reason is simple: The person who got blamed is not going to listen to blame. I mean, do you like listening to blame? So she/he shuts down, doesn’t listen. And therefore nothing is learned from the blaming episode.
Furthermore, just to make matters worse, you have lost goodwill with the person you’re attacking. Goodwill is that intangible thing that allows you to make a mistake yourself once in a while. It’s what you get from being nice a lot. Then when you screw up, the person says, “Oh, well; we’re all human.” But when you’re into blaming, forget it. So without goodwill, why should the person you blamed care if she or he messes you up in the future? You can see how this really, really boomerangs.
Finally, a big reason people blame is the same as the reason they get angry: To get rid of those uncomfortable feelings they’re left with when confronted with some problem. Like, what do you do now? Actually, nothing. But, but, but….I can’t just sit here and not say anything about this awful situation!! Yeah, you can. See, letting it go is very hard. But, friend, that is part of being a grownup. S–t happens, as they say. Just let it go. Once it’s happened, there is no way you can undo it and certainly not by pinning the blame on someone.
So, what to do to stop this awful habit
You need to bite your tongue. Literally. Just don’t say anything. If you can’t seem to control yourself, think of your boss standing there. Or someone you actually respect. God, maybe. Or leave the building for a self-imposed time-out. Think of something you enjoy doing, like going fishing, shopping, whatever. Get your head somewhere else. Get in the habit of letting it go. And then congratulate yourself for being able to do that.