The Blame Game – Human Nature Or Just An Excuse?

Photo: findingmygroove.com

For many people, the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.  The road is long and often lonely.  The stretches can seem to last forever, with no end in sight.  It is a road to accountability, a road lined with mirrors all around, forcing us to look at ourselves in the eyes.

Now, the road well traveled is filled with people busy passing the blame to one another.  Let’s face it.  It’s much easier to find someone else to be the reason for our problems than it is for us carry around the burden of our decisions.  God help us if others discover that we are the way we are because of choices we’ve made intentionally.  If someone finds some some deficiency within us, in order to save face we can say, “It’s my parents’ fault.  They did (insert excuse here) to me.”  The response might be, “Wow.  Yeah, I can see how that can happen.  You’re right.  It’s not your fault.”

Whew.   *Wipes sweat off forehead.*  We’re off the hook.  No questions asked.  Pity party in full swing.

The simple gesture of pointing fingers at someone else is a magician’s trick of smoke and screen.  It redirects the attention from us towards an outside source.  By passing the baton of consequences of our decisions to someone else, it frees us to continue to make choices without repercussion.  An E-ticket to a guilt-free life!

Allow me to illustrate:  My older son hits my youngest son.  When I ask him why, his response is, “He made me!”  To which I ask, “A 12-year-old made a 16-year-old raise his fist and take a swing at him?”  “Yeah!” My oldest smiles, thinking that pretty much justifies his action.

But the downside to blaming others is that by doing so, we relinquish our control.  We are powerless.

And personally, I hate to feel powerless.  Been there, done that.

I wrote Prisoner of My Past many years ago as a way to process feelings that were simmering under layers of my callused memories of being abused.  At the time that it all hit the fan, I was forced to take the blame for what happened only because my father refused to.  He washed his hands of the mess and walked away, but not before dropping the bag at my feet.  I may have picked it up and carried it around for awhile, blaming him for my mental state, but eventually I realized something.

Blaming can be destructive…or it can be constructive.

The process of writing that little essay forced me to open up the bag and dig deep – really deep.   Now I could have whined about all the problems my father caused me because of his selfishness.  I could have played the blame game in its full glory, giving him the power.  But if I did, I would have missed seeing the growth that took place within me, and the strength it took for me to move on.   My maturity and fierce independence would have gone unnoticed had I curled up in a corner somewhere, mourning the loss of the relationship I had with my parents.

By turning inward, by taking the blame for the  choices I made in response to his actions, it gave me back the power I had given him for much too long.

I have a tattoo in a band around my arm, sporting the names of my boys and my ex-husband.  During the last nine months I’ve seen a few raised brows when they look at the ex’s name, as if I should have tattooed over it by now or turned it into a cute little mermaid or something.  (Gasp!  You’re still wearing his name?)

But to me, it symbolizes the accumulation of choices I made because of him and in spite of him.  He acted, I reacted, and each time that happened, it shaped me just a little bit differently.  I am who I am based on those choices.  I like me.  I like who I have become.  And if  you like me, you’ll like my tattoo.

Of course, not all choices I’ve made worked well for me, but by taking on the blame, I have the power to make yet another choice and another choice, until I get to where I want to be.

It took me a long time, but by dissecting the issues throughout my life and placing the pieces of the puzzle where they belong, I found that I was still intact and I was still me – just a new and improved version.

So what do you think?  Do we blame others because we want to escape the consequences or is it possible to embrace those consequences?  There’s no right or wrong answer.  It all boils down to what resonates inside, but I’d still love to hear your thoughts.

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About Diana Murdock

California-grown, writer of contemporary and YA paranormal with enough energy to write, raise two boys, run, and dream.

Posted on August 15, 2011, in Personal, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Another post that is eerily applicable to my own life right now. I’d say it’s spooky, but I love synchronicity.

    I, too, feel that it’s productive to recognize the ways we participate in the things that happen to us. It IS empowering to realize if and when we contribute to our own troubles, so that we can learn to STOP DOING IT. And, as you say, to remove ourselves from the place of victim and put ourselves in the place of empowered adult.

    Thanks for the great post.

  2. Such a powerful post and spot on! I love what you have to say about relinquishing power when we pass the blame. Aha moment.

    I love you and your tattoo. It symbolizes your strength, growth, and beauty as a human.

  3. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos

    I think the reason we pass the blame is it’s the easy way out. Sometimes we don’t want to deal with things. But obviously that is not what we should do. Congrats for taking control of your life!! Great post.

  4. It’s a challenge to be brave and strong and responsible every day. I think a lot of us don’t always measure up to being the people that lives inside us. Passing the responsibility is also something that society encourages (if we take our examples from public venues like television and politics). Of course, let us not forget….sometimes it IS their fault. lol

    Living honestly is something I strive for but don’t always achieve. We’re sneaky at making unreasonable expectations for ourselves and worrying about the expectations others put on us. Take the power, stand tall, accept the blame (when it applies) and remember: don’t apologize if you don’t mean it and never explain when it’s none of their damn business.

    Quote by my great granny (I inserted the “damn”, she was far too ladylike to ever even think it).

  5. Fantastic blog. I definitely relate.

  6. I’ve definitely blamed my father for quite a few things, but mostly for things that are out of my control. I do feel helpless and I don’t like it. Then there are other things that I can *trace back* to him, but they’re my choices. It took me a while to accept some things about myself that I feel are mostly a result of things he did, but now it is my choice, and one I’m happy with. (Sorry, I know that’s vague.)

    My sister, on the other hand, loves the blame game. Nothing is ever her fault. Unfortunately for those types of people, logic doesn’t work with them.

  7. Beautifully written post. And, you’re spot-on, as the Brits say, concerning the destructive power of blaming others. We are all a fascinating composite of genetics and life experiences. It was incredibly generous of you to share your story, your journey.

  8. Growing up, my mother often said those very same statements to me. Whenever I would lash out or get in another fight at school or run into some drama, it was never my fault. It was always on someone else. And I carried the blame game throughout my teenage and young adult years. I was a victim of life. Nothing was within my control or grasp. I was the way I was because of past circumstances and outside forces. I was helpless.

    In my late 20s, I slowly started to change. And at 29, my divorce was a catalyst for transformative change. That’s when the true meaning of accountability rocked my world. The realization that I was the ultimate creator of absolutely every single thing in my life threw me for a loop. For weeks I mourned the lost time and the stupid choices that had brought so much pain and destruction into my own life. And as I grieved, a new light was born from within. The light of self-empowerment. The ultimate gift when we realize that yes, we are responsible for every single aspect of our life (good and bad) but that also means we are 100% able to recreate, regenerate, change, and be born again. Our life is suddenly born again with limitless potential and that…is a beautiful thing.

    Loved this post – thought provoking and raw. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.

  9. This is a heck of a blog you’ve got going here, Diana. Just when I thought that maybe there were no new perspectives out there – no new voices – I find you.
    Blaming is the easy thing. Taking responsibility and owning the situation is hard, but produces so much more growth. The path that you have been taking may not be the fun path, but I think it’s definitely the right one.

    Have a great week, my friend.

    -Jimmy

  10. Diana. I love your post it’s always something new and thought provoking.

    I read some about what you describe and there is some reasons for what we do. I do think much of it it non-thinking, rude and hurtful. But there’s also another reason.

    Not finding fault with oneself is built into our primary genes- packed in that auto-response part of our brain. It’s called selfpreservation. An instinctive response coming from our ancient past.

    We all do it– yes even the people who look in the mirror and say– not me, lol. A learned process is taking in facts, and learning to accept responcibility for our actions. It’s hard and many people do take the easy road that hurts them and others.

    What a great post to help us think!

  11. I entirely agree with you. Blame is about passing accountability onto others. I think you grow as a person when you start to realise that and accept responsibility for your own actions.

  12. I love this post, Diana. It’s thought provoking, deep, it leaves me asking myself, “Do I like the choices I made in life? If I could turn the time back, would I do it differently? What choices do I have now? Am I a more mature and a better person because of what I’ve gone through in my recent years?”

    Thank you for making me reflect on who I’ve become because of the choices I’ve made in life. I need to remind myself sometime that even a small sacrifice makes sense, if it leads to something better, not necessarily for me, but for my loved ones.

  13. My oldest son and I have an on-going conversation about this. He always has new examples to share with me since he has more interaction with people than I do.

    Thank you for sharing a part of your life.

  14. What a great post. To answer your question, for me, the blame game stopped when I embraced forgiveness. I never thought it would be possible for me, until I realized forgiving cut the invisible cord that connected me to a hurtful past. Now, I am no longer bound to it, but free to move forward and be the one responsible for my decisions, good and bad.

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