Leaving The Blame Game Behind…John Page Burton

Have you ever been around someone who is addicted to blame? They are easy to recognize because the moment they walk in a room the life energy is sucked out the window! Something or someone is always responsible for their unhappiness and they habitually broadcast their woes to anyone who is unlucky enough to be within ear shot. “Targets” of blame include; parents, spouses, kids, relatives, sports teams, the weather, their boss, traffic, politicians, doctors and even almighty God is not immune from their trail of transference. Being around this type of person is extremely draining. Taking personal responsibility is WAY outside their comfort zone and therefore they DON’T! After all, it was never about them anyway!

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE…The “SELF BLAMER” takes FULL responsibility for everything they should have, could have or would have done differently. Their regret seemingly spans a lifetime. A friend of mine still blames himself for an interception he threw in a state championship football game. 30 years later he still believes that he was SOLELY responsible for loosing that game. He is visibly angry when he talks about it (which is every time we get together). The “self blamers” defeatist diatribe is centered around a misguided belief that everything that is wrong, might go wrong or will go wrong is their fault. They contend their failed relationship, job loss, foreclosure, chemically dependent child, weight gain, hair loss or any other challenge in their life is a direct result of their own stupidity or inability to “get anything right”! Talk about an energy vampire!!!

Let’s take a closer look at the word BLAME…

Behavioral gratification. The “blamer” is getting a “fix”. A false sense of superiority drives the behavioral habit of outward blame. “Blamers” believe that by “devaluing” something or someone their own status will rise. Their belief is actually counter intuitive as most people view “blamers” as chronic underachievers or whiners. “Self blamers” tend to be driven by guilt and a profound fear of failure. By routinely blaming themselves they are able to justify “being right” about their setbacks and failures. The “self blamer” gets their “fix” through perpetual, self inflicted punishment. Our breakthroughs come the moment we take personal responsibility for ALL of our decisions and outcomes.

Loathing. When we don’t love and accept ourselves for the unique person we are, blame becomes a perfect fuel to feed our self loathing nature. Our breakthroughs come when we accept ourselves as the unique creation God intended us to be. Our goal is to become better, faster and stronger in every area of our lives. Achieving this goal means we must direct our focus where it belongs…ON OURSELVES!

Avoidance. Blaming YOU temporarily takes the focus off of ME. Blaming myself temporarily justifies my own lack of initiative and fear of taking personal responsibility. The key word is “temporarily”. The hallmark of blame is avoidance. Our breakthroughs come when we no longer need to focus on what is wrong with someone else because we are far to busy confronting and working through our own insecurities and fear. “What we resist, will persist” is the reality of avoidance.

Manipulation. Addicts habitually employ manipulative tactics to get what they want and give very little thought to the carnage left behind. The “blame addict” uses control, guilt and anger as primary tools to gain leverage. Our breakthroughs come when we focus on and prioritize integrity. In order for this to happen we must be willing to take full responsibility for our results and accept that failure is part of this process. Honesty and manipulation are polar opposites.

Emotional. Blame is the low man on the totem pole of emotional intelligence. Blame is “victim” oriented and a sure sign of spiritual immaturity. Our breakthroughs come when we make a conscious decision to stop living our lives based on pain and pleasure. In other words, we learn to consciously give praise for both our pleasurable and painful experiences. They each teach us a valuable lesson. For example, when we go through a painful break up our initial reaction is to “finger point” (BLAME). We will know that we have accessed our higher emotional intelligence when we can thank God for the lessons we learned and the growth we experienced because of the time spent with this person.

To overcome our habits of outward and inward blame we must be willing to make peace with our past. Blame is rooted in fear and insecurity. Determining and then extinguishing our fear is the first important step toward living a life of personal responsibility.

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

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