Wellness Family Dentistry

The "Blame Game"

November 29, 2021
Posted By: Magna Porterfield, PhD (Psychologist)

Blame — very few of us like to experience it. Often when we say the wrong thing, make the wrong choice, or feel some type of unhealthy emotion, we blame someone else for it — our parents, our siblings, our spouses, our partners, our coworkers, our boss, the government, the church, and the list goes on.   

One of the first recorded examples of blame is actually found in the Bible.  It occurred when Adam and Eve ate the fruit that God had warned them not to eat.  Adam was actually the first of the couple to initiate what many call the “blame game.”  He blamed God for creating and giving him that “woman” who first ate the forbidden fruit.  And then Eve, implicitly, blamed God for making the serpent to whom she attributed her action.  Sadly, since that time this “game” has continued throughout the course of history.  

There are probably many reasons people play the blame game.  For one, when we accept responsibility for our actions, thoughts, words, etc., this implies that we need to change. 

And, change involves effort and action, which most of us don’t want to engage in.  It’s just too much work! Another reason we may place blame elsewhere is because we are sometimes so full of pride that we don’t want to acknowledge that we are wrong about a situation.  Also, we feel bad about ourselves when we recognize that our actions contribute to problems with others.  And very few of us like to feel this way. So, the best way to avoid change or to avoid feeling bad is to point the finger at someone else.

What we don’t realize, however, is that the decision to place blame on someone (or some thing) else may feel good in the short-term, but in the long run, it has a negative effect.  Taking responsibility is helpful not only for better relationships, but it helps us in our own personal development as human beings.  As painful as it may be, when we see ourselves for who we are, we can develop into more healthy, well-adjusted (and even happier) people. On the other hand. when we refuse to acknowledge our wrongdoings, we don’t experience growth. And what happens when growth doesn’t occur? We are stagnant and end up losing out on becoming a better person.  

Look at your relationships with your loved ones and others with whom you interact. Are you one to take responsibility or to play the blame-game? If you fall into the latter category, you can make a decision to change. 

Here are some tips that may be helpful:

  1. Make the commitment now that you will stop seeking to place blame for your actions on others. 
  2. When you’ve done wrong, and it feels bad, acknowledge this.  But make the decision that you will not place blame on someone (or some thing) else to get rid of that feeling of guilt.
  3. As painful as it may be, take the “humble”road.  Don’t allow pride to dictate your actions. If necessary, apologize to those you have hurt.
  4. Seek to correct the situation as best as you can.
  5. If you believe in God ask Him to help you engage in all of these steps. 

Avoiding the “blame game” is not easy.  But, if you make a commitment to stop playing this game, you will be a much better person and will have richer experiences in life and with others. 

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