Do you find yourself going around grumpy all the time? Is everything always everyone else’s fault? Are you a chronic blamer? Do you hang out with people who are always ready to cast blame?
If you’ve never stopped to think about this, it’s worth turning inward to explore our own habits and attitudes. After all, we can’t become better versions of ourselves until we’re honest about the ways we relate to others.
If you don’t think you’re a blamer, or you’re not sure if you are or you aren’t, here’s a quick test to take.
When something goes wrong or a problem crops up, what do you do first?
- Do you try to figure out “whose fault it is?”
- Do you take it a step further and say out loud to other people whose fault it is?
- Do you even go so far as to put it in writing?
There is a big difference in trying to determine WHY a problem happened as opposed to figuring out WHO caused it.
Discovering the steps that took us down the wrong path can prevent us from going down that wrong path a second time. But spending all of our time playing “Who can we blame this time” actually takes us farther away from ever solving our problem.
Blaming actually has become rampant on social media. Blaming delivers a smug sense of temporary satisfaction but ultimately leaves us hollow and empty. Is this practice finding its way to our living rooms? If so, it doesn’t have to be this way. YOU have the power to stop blame in its tracks.
Effects of blaming others:
- Everyone goes away angry and frustrated after blame is cast. Everyone leaves the situation a bit smaller when someone has gone around slinging the blame hammer again.
- The person who blames others feels powerful. The person who is blamed harbors feelings of resentment against the blamer. A relationship that should be based on love and trust devolves into a dynamic of fear and loathing. This is what blame does to your nearest and dearest.
- Blaming causes silent misery. Look at the faces of people in the throes of a blaming session. No one feels good, not the receiver and not even the giver, of the blame. Believe it. Blaming is the process of offloading negativity from your psyche to someone else’s.
If you want to rise above a chronic blaming habit that’s bringing everyone down so you can be happier and know real love and connection in your life, here’s how to do it.
Become conscious of your tendency to cast blame. Most people don’t realize how much of a habit they’ve made of shaming and blaming other people. But did you know that if you skip past the part where you blame others when things go wrong, you can move on past the bad feelings that go along with it, and head right to the good part – solving whatever the issue is?
What else does blame do to our relationships?
- Blaming others causes a DELAY. We spend precious minutes, hours, days and even years talking about whose fault things are. This is a waste of time. The person on the receiving end of the blame then wastes more time feeling bad about what was said about and to them.
- Blaming creates tension. No one wants to be blamed, so they pass it off to the next person.
- Blame breeds mistrust and turns team members against each other. Mistrust, competition and resentment grows. Trust, cooperation and team effort cannot thrive in an atmosphere of blame.
- Blame keeps us small. Working together helps us solve problems faster so we can accomplish more, be happier and love each other. Blaming is based in emotion, but troubleshooting a problem utilizes our higher mental functions.
Become aware of why you tend to blame others.
Why do we blame people for things that go wrong? It could be a family behavior pattern that was passed down. Maybe your parents guilted you as a child. You were blamed… so now you need someone else to blame. Behind every blaming scenario is a silent message: “It’s not my fault; it’s yours/his/hers/theirs!”
If you carry around feelings of being lesser, you may think that the only way to help yourself feel important is by passing down the blame to someone else. It doesn’t have to be this way. Simply recognizing that you were caught in a blaming cycle from childhood can help you put an end to the negative pattern.
Maybe your parents didn’t really guilt you, but now you’re married to someone who plays a blame game. Their put-downs have become the norm. Blaming is now part and parcel for how you relate. They blame you, you feel bad, so you blame someone else.
The passing of the blame does not have to be if you don’t like how it makes you and others feel.
Tips for breaking out of a blaming mindset so you can open your heart to love:
Observe how people react when you blame them, and how this practice poisons your relationships. Look at the expressions on the faces of people while a blaming session is in progress. Watch their body language, posture, even foot placement. Ask yourself, do I really want to make other people feel bad?
Do this at home, at work, and in your social circles. Are they liking you when you tell them they’ve done something wrong, or that something is “their fault?” Think about how they feel about YOU.
Even if you’re really feeling good about yourself during a blaming moment, face the fact that those you blame don’t like you in this moment even if they pretend to.
The more you blame, the less you are liked, and the more your relationships become based in untruth.
What to do instead of blaming:
Find ways to empower people rather than blaming and making them feel small. Everyone has a gift to offer the world. Some people lack in areas where others excel. This makes us humans need and depend on each other. It feels good to need each other, and to be there for one another.
Some people thrive in circumstances that make others shrivel with dread. Match the right people together with others whose gifts compliment theirs. When problems arise as they will, put each person in charge of the area where they can best offer help.
What if someone really does something wrong? Shouldn’t I call them out on it?
Go through your life assuming that people want to do their best. No one starts out intentionally trying to mess things up. No one appreciates being told that they were wrong or are at fault.
No one wants to be made a spectacle of.
If someone truly does flub a situation, try to be empathetic to their plight. Maybe this simply is not their strong suit. You can try reassigning them to another task. You can enlist the help of someone else to support them. You can be patient, and give them a chance to try again.
You can also focus on what they did do right, and what they can do next time. You can even help them grow in areas where they may need help. The key is to be supportive and encouraging, instead of casting blame.
All of these gestures can help you to work together with others to accomplish more, grow in understanding, and increase good feelings all around.
- Replace blame with support. Be aware of the difference in how you relate in empowering others versus blaming them.
- Break out of the blame mentality. Purge yourself of any deep seated feelings of inferiority because someone else blamed you. Realize their need to blame has nothing to do with you.
- Don’t blame the blamers. Doing so only sends the negativity back around. Forgiveness is the hardest part, but if you can move past it you may just take others with you to a more loving place of relating.
- Rise above the blaming. You can stop others from getting out of control with their blaming mindset. Don’t contribute. Change the topic. Gently defend the blamed. Guide others to a positive outcome.
More tips on how to rid yourself of blaming behavior to make room for healthier, happier relationships:
If you really want to move past the practice of laying blame on others, and if you really want to guide your loved ones, team members, colleagues and friends in doing the same, then BE the change that you want to see.
- Look for the positive and point it out to others. We learn and grow from mistakes.
- Explore the possibilities. Sometimes things only look like someone else’s fault.
- Move toward a solution. The best way to break through the blame game is to just move on.
- Avoid pointing fingers when things go wrong. Instead figure out how the problem can be dealt with effectively.
- Get off the blaming bandwagon. When other people come down on one person, try to show empathy for that person. Is this really their fault? How can we improve the situation without making them feel badly about who they are?
What else can you do instead of blaming others? See how you yourself can contribute to better the situation. Don’t participate in blame-fests. In time, people will realize that you are not open to these types of conversations.
Blaming is nothing new, but if you don’t like how it makes you and others feel, you can find ways to solve problems without making others feel badly about themselves. You can choose to tear people down, or lift them up and support them.