Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

bullying-3089938_1280Given the events of the past weeks, it is clear how blame can ruin peoples’ lives. The opposite is also true-the lack of blame allows people to get away with things. Blame, when tied to guilt, is appropriate. But you have to know the truth about a situation to know if blame is justified or not. These days the lines of accusations vs truth are being blurred like we have never seen before.

Blame is toxic in relationships when people don’t take responsibility for their actions and want to make the other person feel bad or suffer. Blame puts the other person in the defense mode. It is reactionary.

For example, when a couple blames the other person for their problems, the result is defensiveness and distance. No one wins because no one takes responsibility for their part of the problem. When you blame the other person, it stops the uncomfortable feeling of looking at your own behavior. And you don’t have to change anything in yourself. The message is, “I can’t change or be OK until you change.” It’s all up to you. But you can’t build intimacy with an accusing finger. And blame doesn’t usually motivate another person to change.

To avoid blame, look at your own behavior first. Are you doing anything that could be causing or contributing to the problem? Decide what is your part of the problem. Most problems are not one sided. Then, focus on a solution rather than blaming the other person. How can you improve the relationship and build trust not defensiveness? What can you do differently to build closeness rather than distance? Stay calm, think through solutions and don’t be drawn in to the attack mode of another person.

In addition, before you blame someone, find out if they acted with full knowledge of the consequences of their actions. Did they intend to hurt you? Did they fly off the handle? Or is their goal to hurt you because they have been hurt?

Blame has been around since the beginning of time. It started in a garden when Adam pointed a finger at Eve. Eve pointed a finger at the serpent and the result was distance from God. Blame doesn’t promote intimacy.

If you are in a blaming relationship, end the blame game now. Agree to be on the same team and work towards a mutual goal. Attack problems not people. Blaming and shaming don’t lead to solutions, only distance.

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