Answers In Love

Winning at Life God's Way

Do You Get Tired of All the Blaming?

Mark felt seriously disgruntled with his life. He lived next door to John and often showed up at John’s house to “shoot the breeze.” His neighborly visits typically turned into Mark’s personal gripe sessions.

Mark complained about his ex-wife and blamed her for their divorce. He criticized his adult children for not staying in touch. He used a quiver of arrows to take shots at his boss, co-workers, the church he left, politicians and the coach of the local baseball team. Unable to bear it any longer John finally confronted Mark about his complaining and blaming.

The Truth About Mark

Mark is actually a composite of people I’ve known and counseled through the years. You probably know a few Marks. Mark can even be us!

People like Mark blame their problems on other people. They criticize and point fingers at the mistakes of others. They don’t change to save their marriages, draw family closer or get along better. They want others to change and spend their days complaining and playing the victim.

Last night a member of my life group shared his experience with a neighbor like Mark. It reminded me of a night 30 years ago when my supervisor and I finished counseling for the day. As we shut down the office and prepared to go home I remember her saying, “Don’t you get  tired of all the blaming?”

Her words underscored an important truth. People don’t move forward by blaming. Jesus recognized this truth when he said, “Why do you look at the speck… in your brother’s eye but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Luke 6:41).

Blaming dates back to the beginning of time. Adam ate forbidden fruit and blamed his rebellion on both God and Eve when he said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me gave me from the tree….” (Gen 3:12).

The Truth About Blaming

Sometimes others do cause trouble and it makes sense to assign blame where it belongs. Blaming becomes destructive when we stop there and don’t move on to solve our problems.

Blaming enables us to avoid responsibility for mistakes and personal happiness. It keeps us from taking an honest look at ourselves. Finger pointing seems easier and feels more comfortable – at first.

Blaming eventually worsens our trouble. It renders us helpless by telling us we will not be happy until others change. Since we cannot make others change we end up angry and frustrated. These feelings invite depression, anxiety, illness, addiction and broken relationships.

4 Ways to Stop Blaming

It’s tempting to blame when we feel trapped and powerless. Next time you have a problem and feel tempted to sulk and blame try one of these constructive alternatives instead:

  • Ask, “What am I doing that allows this problem to continue?”
  • Confront the problem, “the elephant in the living room” and pursue resolution
  • Establish boundaries that let you direct your own life
  • End relationships with those who will not work together to problem solve

2 Ways to Stop Others from Blaming

It does no good to patiently listen or react to blaming behavior. Better choices include:

  • talking to the blamer about their behavior  (get my “How to Talk…” PDF offered on this site)
  • ignoring the behavior (pretend you don’t hear, change the subject or leave the conversation)

3 Questions to Move Past Blaming

Blamers don’t see the ways they contribute to their own problems. William Glasser’s Reality Therapy asks three questions that bring truth into sharp focus:

  1. What do I want?
  2. What am I doing?
  3. Is it working?

Glasser’s questions can help us move past any problem we face. They steer us away from blaming and toward changing our own beliefs and behavior.

Conclusion

Life feels good when we learn and grow together with God. Blaming short-circuits the process and zaps the joy from life.

I hope reading this article helps you watch yourself and those you love and stop any useless blaming that goes on around you. It might also help to read Brian Tracy’s book, No Excuses.

Let me know what you think. Do you live with blamers? Are you one? Do you know someone who needs to read this article? I’d love to hear your reaction to my thoughts.

Cheryl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Cheryl Savageau

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

2 Replies

  1. Related topic: people who feel every bad event in life must be blamed on someone. Sometimes these people are doormats who blame themselves. Honestly, some things just happen. It isn’t necessary for someone to take the blame for accidents, every health issue, etc. It uses up emotional energy and keeps the focus on what’s less than perfect rather than on moving forward in a positive way.

    1. Cheryl Savageau

      Words of wisdom Beth! Guilt applies to doing things we know are wrong…otherwise our only hope of getting on is grace (with ourselves and others!)

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