Blaming is a habit. It’s a way of managing stress, worry, and trying to avoid tough stuff. It’s natural for some people, even though it’s not healthy. Being blamed for something feels awful, even when you are totally at fault. Being held accountable is one thing but being blamed often includes additional factors like shame. Feeling shamed hurts, yet some people use blame as their primary way to resolve conflict.
You may have developed the habit of blaming and it can be really hard to stop. What do you do when try as you might, you seem to slip back into blaming?
Try these dos and don’ts to help stop playing the blame game.
- DO: Create a plan
- DO: Get a buddy
- DO: Self evaluate
- DON’T: Assume you know it all
- DON’T: See things in black and white
- DON’T: Forget to be kind
Create a plan to stop blaming. Blaming is a habit. It becomes a knee-jerk reaction when something goes wrong. Looking for someone to blame helps you cast your worries…and judgment onto someone or something else rather than accept your part in the situation or help make it better. You’ll need a solid plan to stop blaming when it’s something you’ve done for a long time. An example could be paying close attention when you start to feel the urge to blame something on someone else and take a step
back before acting on your thoughts.
Get someone to help out. Maybe blaming has become such a way of life that you barely recognize it when it happens. Blame can be subtle and you may not know you’re blaming or casting shame onto someone. Ask someone close to you to help you out. Encourage them to hold you accountable…without blaming you… and alert you when you start to assign blame to something or someone.
Review your own behavior. Keeping a journal is an excellent way to review your day and your personal behavior. Writing about your day and your various encounters can help you sort out if you are casting blame anywhere and give you the space you need to process what you can do to avoid or turn around your blaming habit.
You don’t know it all. Even when we think we have all the information, many times we simply don’t. People tend to cast blame when they think they know it all and that’s not always the case. Assume you don’t know everything when managing a situation and seek to better understand rather than assign blame.
There are multiple scenarios. In all conflicts and resolutions, there are multiple options. Things aren’t black and white. Digging deeper into a situation makes it possible to see all the angles, options, and scenarios that led to the outcome. Instead of being black and white about things, look at the grey and it can help you reserve blame.
In all matters, be kind. Being kind matters, even when someone is to blame. Fault and kindness can occupy the same space. Extending grace rather than blame can allow for problem-solving and maintaining dignity in difficult situations.
Being a person who casts blame isn’t ideal. It’s a habit that needs to be broken. Like all habits, it can be hard when it is as natural as using your dominant hand or breathing air. Breaking the blame game habit is easier when you have a plan, get some help, and remember to be kind in all that you do.