The Blame Game

“Blame doesn’t empower you. It keeps you stuck in a place you don’t want to be because you don’t want to make the temporary, but painful decision, to be responsible for the outcome of your own life’s happiness.”

Shannon L. Alder

Let’s be honest…we have all played the Blame Game. It is easy to do when something doesn’t go the way we want it to. If someone is at fault then there is a way to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And sometimes we need that sense of control to make us feel a little safer.

There are two sides to the blame game: we become hyper self-accountable and pile all the blame on ourselves or we blame everyone else for our problems.

If you have been following my blog posts you will know that I am a strong proponent of self inquiry. There is a very important reason to look inward and see how we are accountable for our current life choices. This is healthy and mature. The problem comes when we assign self blame in an effort to hang on to a perceived sense of control.

I used to believe that “taking responsibility” for a negative event meant I was the bigger person…at least that is what I rationalized. It also fed into the self-defeating ideas that I was a bad person and everything bad that happened around me must somehow be my fault – including other people’s poor choices or behavior. I learned that when I chose to take fault for something that had nothing to do with me, it gave me the perception that I could control the outcome next time if I simply changed something about myself. If only I had done this or said that things would have turned out better. If only I had treated my boyfriend better he would not have cheated on me. If only I had taken on the entire project, that school or work project would not have been submitted late because someone else failed to complete their part. You get the picture.

That kind of thinking is of course not based in reality, but it will make you very popular with narcissists and sociopaths. The self blamer is like a gold mine for people who love to blame everyone else. If you find yourself in a relationship, be it romantic, friendship or work related, and you are always on the receiving end of the blame for everything that goes wrong – while someone else always takes on the role of savior – I have two words for you: GET OUT! Walk away, run, do whatever you must to get yourself away from that situation or person. There is no reasoning with that type of personality. You will never win. They are mentally and emotionally incapable of treating you with empathy and kindness and they are incredibly destructive to your psyche. If you cannot avoid them completely – you have a child with them, you cannot leave your job, etc. – then find ways to protect yourself. We self blamers have to learn healthy boundaries, healthy self-esteem and realize that everything disastrous happening in the world cannot possibly be all our fault.

Now for the other end of the spectrum, the side were we dump our issues all over somebody else. It is so tempting and simple to point a finger and say that if it wasn’t for this person or that circumstance everything in our lives would be perfect! This way we never have to do the hard work, never have to take accountability for our own happiness. We wash our hands of the responsibility and move on…except it doesn’t really work like that does it?

I had some pretty terrible parents who did hideous things to me. I used to believe I was doomed to an awful life because of them. I blamed them for failed relationships, my bad behaviors, horrible choices of friends and partners, my less than ideal financial sense. “It was all their fault. If they had loved me and not been abusive, my life would have turned out totally different and I would be happy and successful.” The problem with that particular mindset is that I then have no accountability to fix my own life. I gave away all of my personal power to them.

If we consistently blame another person for our life circumstances we will continue to just sit in that space. No growth will happen and we will be trapped. We will continue our patterns of picking the wrong person, getting ourselves into situations that are not in our best interest, allowing people to treat us poorly.

The fact of the matter is, as soon as we become aware the choices we are making are making us miserable, it is then within our power to stop making those choices. We have to love ourselves enough to make better decisions on our own behalf. To be clear, I am not saying we end up on the other side of the blame spectrum and blame ourselves for everything. There is another way to approach the things in our lives that circumvents blame altogether: awareness.

I love awareness. When you start to become aware of things in your life WITHOUT assigning blame, it is like having a super power. I can give an example, I became aware that I was picking the same boyfriend again and again. He had a different face and a different name but he was essentially the same guy. I realized I was used to being treated like crap because that is all I had ever known. Finally, instead of blaming my parents for the 5 millionth time I tried a new tactic. I decided to figure out who I was and what I wanted when I wasn’t in a relationship. I stopped dating completely and got to know who I was, what I wanted from life and for myself.

When I finally started dating again I could easily spot the ones who wanted to change me or tell me I wasn’t good enough and got out quickly. I stopped waiting for them to tell me I was worthy of love because I had spent the time learning about and loving myself. I didn’t leave it up to them to complete me (sorry Jerry Maguire). I didn’t need their validation anymore to know that I deserved more than what I was getting.

I met my husband shortly after that respite from relationships and trust me when I say he was well worth the wait for me to get myself together. I am very aware that I never would have found someone like him if I had been busy blaming other people for my life and staying in that blame mindset.

The blame game is not a fixed status assigned at birth. I have personally been all left and right on this spectrum, sometimes within the same conversation… haha! Seriously, this is true.

The most important thing I believe we can do when we start playing this dangerous game is become aware of who we are blaming and why. Do we need to feel in control? Are we trying to avoid personal accountability for our choices because we don’t want to make difficult changes? Do we, deep down inside, believe we are not worth more than what we are getting?When we start to become aware of the back story going on, we can close the book on that story. We can step back into our own power and make our lives the masterpiece we all deserve.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! please let me know in the comments if you like 🙂 Sending you all love and light!

My personal blog can be reached here.

“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”

– Lao Tzu

70 thoughts on “The Blame Game

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I really enjoy reading your posts about your healing – we seem to have had similar journeys in life and I love the mirror you hold up for me.

    1. That really makes me happy. Part of healing for me is laying it all out there for everyone to see. I feel nervous and vulnerable every time I go to hit the publish button so it is people like you, who I connect with through this platform, that help me along.
      So grateful for your kind words 💙

  2. Very well covered…
    Too much of anything is bad including self criticism or criticism of others..
    One got to have self compassion..the belief in own ability…

  3. “Blame doesn’t empower you. It keeps you stuck in a place you don’t want to be because you don’t want to make the temporary, but painful decision, to be responsible for the outcome of your own life’s happiness.”—>This is such a great quote and so true! Thanks for another wonderful blog post! I really enjoy your writing 🙂

  4. This resonates with me in so many way right now. I recently went through a situation and neither party has excepted their responsibilities in the matter so we find ourselves pointing fingers. You touched on this so well and gave me lots to consider. Thanks for this!

  5. I really like the idea of thinking about blame in terms of control/responsibility. It’s both empowering, with what you said about taking the blame meaning we can take responsibility to change things, and freeing, where if we’re not in control of the situation, then we don’t need to blame ourselves. I’m going to try to use this in my everyday life – thank you!

  6. Can I repost this article on my website? I really like the whole concept and writing. Of course it would be a link back to your page.

  7. Very well said, well done. Love how you pointed out self-blame will only attract narcissists and so on. So true. Markus always reminds me it is not important whose fault it is but how we address the situation. It helps us focus on the problem and not the person. Helps a lot.

  8. This is nugget of wisdom. Indeed we are good at blame game instead of taking responsibility. Forgetting the problem we do not solve today awaits us tomorrow

    It’s also another ways of talking excuses, and excuses is the cheapest commodity in a market place, both buyers and sellers are stranded

  9. You have such a beautiful way of painting a picture with your words. The experience you share encourages others along their road of healing.

    Taking responsibility for actions we *are* responsible for is important. Being aware of when we are too far down either end of the spectrum of blaming others or ourselves is, as you say unhealthy. Only in the last three years of my thirty two have I really started to focus on identifying the cause of particular feelings and emotions. Then I can actively work on improving my reactions to specific things.

    When an end result is not the desired one it is best to work together to find solutions – whether fault is attributable or not. That is not important. What is important is to speak truth to others and ourselves to move forward and better decision making in the future.

    Thank you. 🙂

    1. Speaking our truth is the only way. I think people find it hard to speak their truth for a myriad of reasons. As always Hamish, I truly appreciate your insight and and grateful for be connected with you!

  10. Excellent article. I appreciate you sharing your experience and insights. It’s great to see people seeing through the stuff of life.

    ”We have the need to be accepted and to be loved by others, but we cannot accept and love ourselves. The more self-love we have, the less we will experience self-abuse. Self-abuse comes from self-rejection, and self-rejection comes from having an image of what it means to be perfect and never measuring up to that ideal. Our image of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves; it is why we don’t accept ourselves the way we are, and why we don’t accept others the way they are.”
    ― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

  11. Self blame is something I’m really working on…I’m the kind of person who believes everything is my fault. And, like your example, it’s even my fault my ex cheated on me. I’m really trying to stop this and I appreciate this post so much. ❤️❤️❤️

    1. Self blame is entirely counter productive and frankly destructive. Please know you are a good person and you are enough❤️
      I am so happy this post connected with you!!

  12. Thank you for visiting my site and liking my article. Indeed the blame game has been around since Adam and Eve. Thanks for sharing this great insightful information!

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