All blame is a waste of time. How can I say that, do you suppose? I mean, come on…there are times when people deserve to get blamed. There IS such a thing as “fault” after all, right? People make mistakes, and there are consequences, and it actually IS someone’s fault. So how is it that I can say that ALL blame is a waste of time?
It is true that all people make mistakes. There is not a perfect person walking the face of the earth. There are also consequences for our mistakes. I’m not denying that at all, and I agree that consequences are necessary to deter and hold accountable all of us imperfect sinners. What I am suggesting is that the process of blaming others is a waste of time.
Do you know any chronic blamers? Seriously unhappy folks. Brene Brown would call blame “corrosive in relationships…a discharge of discomfort and pain…(and) anger.” She would add that blame gives the illusion of control, but what it really does is paradoxical, it makes us unable to hold people accountable. Odd, isn’t it? The fact that blame doesn’t actually serve to hold people accountable? It doesn’t work. It triggers defenses in others and doesn’t allow us to see how we need to humbly hold ourselves accountable, either.
Blame ultimately dis-empowers us. We take on the position of being a victim of someone else’s actions, which hands our power to engage and act over to the other person. It takes the stance of “you change so I don’t have to.” This is an enmeshed viewpoint. The best way I can describe what enmeshment looks like is “I’m OK if you ____________.” Fill in the blank. I’m OK if you take the trash out. I’m OK if you think I’m awesome and tell me. I’m OK if you come home from work at 5PM every night to spend time with me. Our problems are YOUR FAULT, so change already!!! Do it how I want you to!!!
See how this dis-empowers? We put our own feelings of being OK onto the other person’s shoulders. That is a problem, because we don’t have control over other people, and without humility, we will also absolutely rebel against being told by anyone what we need to do. That’s human nature. So if I can’t change the other person, how do I change ME to feel OK in the relationship?
I’m not going to sugar-coat it, it’s a lot harder than it looks. That’s why everyone goes to blame so fast. You have the opportunity, however, to find peace inside of yourself if you take the harder path now. (It does get much easier later if you do, by the way.) It is the responsible and self-accountable path. It is the realization that I can hold the other person accountable without blame…here are my boundaries, matter-of-fact and non-reactive. Not passive, but not aggressive either.
The reason it’s so difficult is because there are consequences in lost relationship and potential abandonment if you hold true to your boundaries and consequences. It is true that your partner may not be willing to adhere to your boundaries, and they may not want a relationship with you anymore if you hold them accountable. You have to be willing to face that potential consequence in order to have boundaries. That’s why it’s so hard to have them sometimes.
It is also difficult to find that place in the middle between passive and aggressive. It’s difficult because of the wounds in our heart getting poked, and because of being over-attached. (Every time an enmeshment is broken, it hurts.) It’s hard because it’s so deep inside very vulnerable and sore places in our hearts, and that’s what we have to face in order to get out of the blame game trap.
This is the stuff we are avoiding when we blame. It is a game we play with ourselves so we don’t have to do the hard work. It makes sense why we avoid it, it’s not fun. Each person has to decide how badly they really want to feel peaceful in their own hearts. How badly they want safe, vibrant, warm relationships. These are the results that come from taking the harder road now. You get the easier road later.
Need help? I did. This stuff is really difficult. But I can promise you that it is totally worth it. Come on in, let’s chat. Thanks for reading!
Healing Hearts provides counseling services to the surrounding communities of Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Zionsville, Westfield, Noblesville, and Geist. E-Counseling is available for residents of Indiana. Call or text today to set up your appointment. 317-218-3038
© 2016 Nancy Eisenman, MSW, LSW