Relationships go through unhealthy and disconnected phases.
And some relationships are largely unhealthy with people who are not truly connected with each other. Phases like that and relationships like that are usually fraught with blame and fault.
In a healthy and loving relationship, there is no need for blame or fault. Sure, there are instances where one person hurts the other person’s feelings (because we’re human!), but those cases are ideally solved in open conversation without pointing fingers in anger and blame. It’s so much easier to stay connected that way. Maybe it’s as simple as clearing up a misunderstanding or as serious as a need for apology and forgiveness.
But c’mon, we’re not always that mature and evolved. And one way to tell that is the presence of blame and fault.
Why do people feel the urge to blame?
As a recovering blamer, I’ve noticed why I can fall into this trap. Sometimes I feel like I’m at fault. This is painful from my ego’s perspective and gets tangled with my feelings of self-worth. Pointing fingers outward is a way to ease that pain. If I can just get someone else to take the burden, then I’ll be off the hook. Another reason I resort to blaming is because I feel hurt or rejected. When that happens, I may try to make it about the other person to hide my own fear that I’m unworthy of love.
What I’ve learned is that in all scenarios, blaming is always about the blamer. It’s a protective instinct. If I’m blaming you for something, that is not about you. It’s about me. My ego is responding to something.
Ironically, blame is actually you giving away your personal power in a relationship. In the moment, it feels like you’re standing up for yourself. But you’re never really satisfied until they accept that blame, so you walk around angry because you’ve given that power away.
I need the other person to admit they are wrong so I have validation that I am right. And if I’m right, then it isn’t about whether or not I am worthy of that person’s love.
And what if you are the one being accused, the one being blamed for something? Are you willing to take that on? The moment you engage in that battle, you’ve given away all of your own personal power. It’s all a hot mess with no winners.
So what do we do about it?
First, look for the red flags of blame and power. When they show up you know something less obvious is present. Recognize them for what they really are… hurt feelings, fear, and maybe both.
You can’t control the actions and intentions of other people, but you can be the one in the relationship who models loving connection. You can do that by being vulnerable and honest and talking about how you feel, without blame or fault. No weapons or lines of defense necessary if you want to be intimately connected with this person. Just truth and real feelings and maybe they’ll let their guard down and follow suit.
Or maybe they won’t. In that case, you have to avoid taking the bait. Accept responsibility without wrong-ness. Assign responsibility without wrong-ness. Lead with love. All we ever have control over is how we show up and love.