Why Blaming Doesn’t Work

When we are upset because something is not going the way we want we often look to blame someone or something (including ourselves). Placing blame allows us to escape from the pain and discomfort of the situation and puts our attention and directs our energy elsewhere. It is a great escape mechanism, or at least it seems that way.

But in reality, blaming someone else for the situation is futile and ineffective.

Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First, if I blame someone else for the situation I’m in, then I believe that the only way to change the situation is for the other person to fix it or do something different. Once we do that, we are giving up our power and ability to create the life we want.

Second, when we focus on blame, we neglect to give ourselves the gift of really feeling the depth of our pain and discomfort. I know, this doesn’t sound very inviting or like a gift, but trust me, it is. When we allow ourselves to tap into our discomfort we are given an opportunity to reflect and learn from the situation. Our ability to have a different outcome in the future depends on our ability to be reflective and learn and grow from the past.

Third, blaming someone else allows us to absolve ourselves of responsibility for the situation. It may be entirely true that the situation is out of your hands and that there was genuinely nothing you could have done differently (e.g., you get hit in your car by another driver and you were following all the rules of the road) but still does blaming the other person change anything? You are still in the situation whether you blame someone or not.

Fourth, when we are in blame, we are not in the present. It is not particularly helpful to live in the past. I know how hard it can be to live in the present when the situation is uncomfortable or stressful but it is the present moment that is before you. You cannot change the past you can only change the present.

Fifth, have you ever found that when you accuse someone of doing something wrong (i.e., when you blame them) that is a particularly effective way to get him/her to take responsibility or express regret? I haven’t. It is when I am able to acknowledge what happened and why the situation did not work for me – without blame – that the other person then feels more comfortable taking responsibility. This is because we will do everything in our power to protect ourselves from feeling or experiencing shame. When we blame others (or ourselves) we are really shaming them. Our egos get very defensive when we feel blamed and hence shamed. Whereas, if we are able to express ourselves without blame, our egos do not put up such a big fight!!

So rather than point the finger at another (notice when you do that there are three fingers pointing back at you!), allow yourself to tap into the depth of your pain, discomfort, even your anger and frustration. Be present in the fullness of the moment.

When I allow myself to shift from blaming someone else and focus solely on my own internal experience, something shifts and my focus turns away from the other person and I am present with myself. That act of being present with myself is a gift.

Please share your thoughts and feedback below!


In service,

Signature for Cat J. Zavis, Coach for divorced parents

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