I remember a friend of mine telling me how mad she was at her mother. It seemed as though every time they got into a car together they would fight. There was a litany of reasons why my friend would not forgive her mother – the least of which she was stuck in the blame game.
When we blame others we are accusing them of something we believe they have done to us. We are placing fault on others insisting that they are the cause of our misery. When we are hurt because of something that has happened in the past and still feel the pain in the present we look for reasons to explain our pain. The truth is that we can never really know all the reasons why someone has hurt us, and more importantly we do not usually take the time to go within ourselves to understand what part we may have played in our life circumstances. We usually take the easy way out and like a knee jerk reaction we blame others for what may be causing our pain. That is not to say that others do not behave poorly and do things that are hurtful. What I am talking about is that when we continually blame someone else for our painful feelings, instead of making us feel better, blaming actually makes us feel worse.
Blaming causes more pain. When we blame someone else for our suffering we believe that someone else is the cause of our pain and that we need something from that person to feel better. We are dependent on them for our well being. What we actually have done is disempowered ourselves, giving other people control over how we feel. We have chosen not to take responsibility for what we are feeling.
Blaming others becomes a habit, sinking us further into the victim role. Like being in quick sand we feel powerless to change our circumstances. Underneath our need to blame is another issue that we are consistently running away from – our own feelings of guilt. Whenever we are accusing someone (blaming) of something we are secretly blaming ourselves. The content may be different but the form will be the same. If we are blaming someone for nasty horrible things they have said to us, we may not say those same kinds of things to them but if we are honest with ourselves we certainly have said unkind things to others. The important point to remember is that we are not here to beat ourselves up when we learn things about ourselves we wish we hadn’t. Now that we have gained a new understanding about ourselves we can make different choices. When we see the humanness in ourselves it is easier to see the humanness in others. Being able to then forgive ourselves we can also forgive others and stop the blame game. And remember, holding on to guilt is a choice too.
You can find more information on how to stop the blame game and to heal our guilt in “Finding Forgiveness: A 7 Step Program for Letting Go of Anger and Bitterness” published by McGraw-Hill.