The Blame and Shame Game

The Blame and Shame Game - Cheryl Woolstone Counselling Blog

Pointing fingers doesn’t help.

“Whenever you are pointing your finger at someone, notice that there are always three fingers pointing back at you.”

Great quote! Keep this visual in mind next time you find yourself lapsing into making excuses and blaming others for your choices.

Stop and ask yourself, “What is it that I am unwilling to be responsible for in this situation?”

Dr. David Burns, associate Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, conducted a study of 1500 couples.

He wanted to differentiate between couples who were in a thriving, contented intimate relationship from those who were in a disappointing, miserable one.

“Only one thing emerged as a factor on long – term satisfaction: blaming your partner for the problems in your relationship”.

All relationships are handicapped to the extent that we are unable to be responsible for what we are creating in the relationship. Whenever we blame others for the circumstances of our lives we abdicate responsibility for our choices.

We construct an either/or world – either I am right (and someone else is wrong) or I am wrong (and therefore, deeply shamed).

In this world in order to be deserving, we have to be right. So we end up alienating others by making them wrong. It may be a loveless world but at least we come up on top and there is an illusion of control.

In a conscious relationship we have the freedom to admit our shortcomings, because we do not feel that we will be punished or pummeled in return. There is a great sense of relief in being able to admit our faults and weaknesses without being judged. Just as there is great relief in being able to grant another person the right to be flawed, without holding it against them.

Ask these questions. Listen and wait for the answers.

  • Who am I making wrong and for what?
  • What, if anything, have I been unwilling to admit to others?
  • What can I be responsible for in this situation?
  • What could I accept about this situation that would help me give up blaming and shaming?
  • What are the strengths/weaknesses I bring to relationships?

A Challenge For You

Your assignment is to take charge of “being wrong” by admitting your culpability. No need to make a big deal of it. Just freely admit your responsibility in a situation to a family member, partner, parent, friend or co-worker.

You may need to apologize, offer to rectify the situation or ask what they need to make the situation right.

Examine your role in a situation as rigorously as you examine the actions of others.

Notice what this experience is like.

Tags: , ,

This entry was posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010 at 6:30 PM and is filed under IMAGO and Relationships. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Cheryl Woolstone Counselling - Vancouver Kitsilano - Newsletter Signup