Blame never feels good. It makes people defensive, can lead to spats, and can make you feel further away from the ones you love.
Even though all of us are different, if we blame someone or something for our discomfort, then we have one thing in common: we’re internally wired the same. There are many of us in the world. And it’s my guess that if you blame or criticize when you are unhappy, you have heard about your behavior from others all your life.
Blame Is a Pattern We Accidentally Fall Into
I know I have. When I was little my older sister called me “the angry child,” because of my loud, blaming ways. I didn’t intentionally come into the world this way. I didn’t have a conversation with myself when I was learning how to express myself that said, “Start blaming. It’s a good system.”
No, that’s not what happened. I imagine it was my circumstances that encouraged me to use my voice to let my caregivers know I needed something. I just used my vocal cords to be heard. This habit just morphed over the years and I got better at leveling the criticism or blame when I got upset.
We Often Don’t See the Blame in Our Communication
I never even knew I was doing this until I started my own therapy. I just thought that if I got upset, then people should know about it. I really didn’t think about how loud I became, how much noise I was making, or how I hurt people. These just weren’t in my thoughts.
So, when I started to learn about getting mad, what I was feeling, and how I was communicating my anger, that was the beginning of my journey to unwind my wiring and understand that yes, hurt feeling occur and now I don’t have to yell.
This was not immediate though. It took practice, and more practice to get better. Like everything we want to be good at. We have to get good by practicing and doing it over and over again.
We May Not Notice We Need to Change Until We’ve Accidentally Done Some Damage
I also had some motivation. I was dating a man who would become my husband. He had two small children. One day I guess I got my feelings hurt and I yelled at one of the little ones. That child cried. I can still feel the sting of hurting him and that was 20 years ago.
I got some kind of awareness that my behavior wasn’t good. I had hurt someone who was defenseless. From there I continued to work on myself to learn new ways to express my upset. I even learned what kind of upset I was experiencing. These were new skills. That’s all. New skills. So now I teach these skills to others. If you grew up blaming others all you need are new skills.
Stop Blaming; Start Educating Yourself
Learn about yourself. Educate yourself on what you are feeling. If someone ignored you, that’s important to understand. If someone said something painful to you, also good to know. And once we know what happened to us, then we can decide how we want to improve the situation.
With knowledge, you have choices and choices allow for all kinds of outcomes, even good ones. With blaming and criticism we get something predictable and I know all of you know exactly what that is.
Reduce Blame in Your Life and Your Relationship
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn about how to communicate in an open, honest, and less blaming way, by Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you take responsibility, be more constructive, and prevent those around you from feeling as hurt. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.