• Kerry Leppier

The blame hunters clan - are you thirsty for blood?

Dianne and Ted are having problems in their marriage Dianne wrote to me:

"Throughout my childhood, my parents said incredibly hurtful things to each other and argued incessantly. At times when they were at their lowest they said hurtful things to me too. Ted knows this, I told him once and yet he can be a complete prat, he can't seem to stop being a constant source of never ending feedback about what I am doing wrong. Its insufferable to live with, what's wrong with him? Why does he always do this to me? When things are going OK, just round the corner he starts complaining and telling me all the things I am doing wrong in the relationship, how can I stop him and give myself some space?"

In this dialogue, Dianne and Ted are hurting each other in the same way, she is blaming him for her pain and suffering and he is blaming her for his pain and suffering. SO who is to blame here? Well the answer cannot be found in the detail of what has been written above because that would only be Diannes perspective and according to her she is innocent, she doesn't mention anything about what part she is playing. Conversely, Ted is not stating what he is doing wrong and any mistakes he is making either, the reason is, they are both convinced the other is at fault and responsible for all of this pain and suffering. Who is responsible? They are BOTH responsible.

When we do this we are desperately trying to make sense of our worlds and in fact hoping that in some way if we find the right person to blame, then everything will work out happy again, or the person being blamed will stop doing what they are doing and then we can be happy again. But this childlike logic is based on two errors that the thing I am trying to change is the ONLY thing that is making me feel unhappy and before they started doing this, I was perfectly happy. Error 1: Is the only thing. Error 2: I was perfectly happy.

I have used the term inside out, as a helpful way to describe that the world we SEE is uniformly an accurate description of the world we FEEL inside. Literally to the tiniest detail, how we show up in life and the experiences we have are a direct reflection of who we are and how we feel about who we are on the inside. Blame is universal and if anything is going wrong its perceived to all be 'out there' aka blame.

  • The film I watched last night made me have bad dreams (Films fault)

  • The bus was late, so I was late for work (Buses fault)

  • My husband text me and said he is no longer willing to buy a dog (Husbands fault)

  • The meal I cooked all come out wrong, nobody liked it (My fault)

  • I found out my best friend has been saying things about me behind my back (Best friends fault)

I must agree this is a pretty crappy day, but lets look at all of these events and see if we can take some responsibility, rather than blamity

  • I chose poorly regarding the movie I watched last night and I had bad dreams

  • I didn't get up early enough to get the early bus, so I was late

  • I haven't really been listening to how my husband feels about the dog and I got attached to an outcome

  • I rushed the meal and didn't ask for any help, I didn't ask if anyone liked it, I just assumed

  • Some of the things my best friend said about me are true and that hurts, I can't make her choices for her, they are hers to make

So can you see that although person number 1 experienced the same events, that person number 2 is so much more empowered to change her life than person number 1? Person number 2 can wake up tomorrow and make adjustments to the choices SHE is making, yet person number 1, is destined to be tossed around by life and other people's choices again tomorrow. How blame really hurts us therefore, is that we literally recreate the same mistakes over and over and are constantly exposed to the consequences of those choices, plus it can be harmful to others when we blame them for how we feel.

Top tips

  1. Quit looking for the perpetrator - asks yourself what have I done to create this situation.

  2. Give anyone related to events the opportunity to give you honest feedback, it might sting, but when we know the facts we can make better choices.

  3. Take a vow to check yourself every time you comment on or apportion blame to an event or a person - just check in with yourself.

Picture by: Rodolpho Zanardo

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