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The Blame Game – stalled growth and reclaiming our lives

Posted on: 9th May 2017

Others are so blameworthy. Politicians. Bosses. Spouses. Parents. Traffic. We even blame the weather. I recently asked someone what had happened that they didn’t let me know that they were going to be late. The reply? The phone’s battery was flat. Ah, so it was the phone that was to blame…! Oh my, how we love to deflect!

Three signs that we are playing the blame game

We play the victim

It’s never our fault. The focus is always on what others have done. We are ignoring that we could be the common denominator for all this bad behaviour. Discounting our role in what is happening.

We always have an excuse

We stress until we find something to blame, then we are relieved and stop all self-examination. Relieving ourselves of any responsibility for what has happened.

Our growth is stalled

Having something or someone to blame inhibits personal mastery. Instead we get stuck in repetitive cycles. We don’t experience the empowerment of volition, the feeling that we are the able to choose, that we are responsible for our own behaviour.

Sometimes the code we live by is: “I’m ok – as long as I can blame something or someone else.” I have lived by this code. Others were blameworthy enough for me to not take responsibility for my own poor behaviour. The problem with this policy, is it disempowers our growth. One of my favourite sayings is:

Never confuse justice with blame – justice empowers us, blame disempowers us

Three things we can do to take charge of our lives

Grow your blame behaviour awareness

Become curious about every time you blame or make an excuse. Are there particular situations that bring it out? Don’t judge it. Don’t resist it. Just note it. It isn’t you, but it is how you are showing up. Be conscious of it happening. This step alone is known to significantly change behaviour.

Understand how the blame game is serving you

What short term benefit are we getting from the behaviour that we keep doing it. Is it something current or does it perhaps date back to an immature survival mechanism we developed in our childhood? What are the longer term consequences if we keep doing it? Are there alternative responses that could serve us better?

Celebrate your autonomy

One of our basic psychological needs is to feel we have freedom within appropriate boundaries. Become aware of your autonomy. Examine your assumed constraints. Develop an understanding of all the ways you are powerful. Accept responsibility for your life, your behaviour, your future.

“You are not responsible for the programming you picked up in childhood. However, as an adult, you are 100% responsible for fixing it. When you blame others you give up your power to change.” -Ken Keyes, Jr

What are the signs that you are playing the blame game? What actions work for you to counter it? Join the conversation in one of these places:

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Jan

    So true! Well said.

    I often find myself in that particularly (peculiarly?) justified space where I believe, with firm conviction, that I am not to blame. Only to realize later that I was trying to protect myself. Fine line that, between having a legitimate reason for something happening and not taking responsibility for my own behavior. As a result my new mantra is “what am I holding on to?” and a constant self questioning of “why the need for protection?”

    1. Ian Hatton - Post Author

      Ooh, indeed, I do that too. Those are great questions. The issue is not whether others are blameworthy or not – very often they are! The issue is what is my truth / pattern / role that I’m avoiding…

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