Blame short circuits our ability to learn and grow within ourselves. When we are focused on what the other has “done” to us, we cannot focus on our own feelings and behavior. Brene Brown has a wonderfully funny short animated video about blame at https://youtu.be/RZWf2_2L2v8
In relationships, blame often is a blame/counter-blame dynamic between partners – a game of “who is the bad guy”, if you will- that at its worst resembles that childhood taunt of “I know you are, but what am I?”. We’ve all been there in the blame/counter-blame; attack/defend/counter-attack dynamic that ends with both partners feeling awful, demoralized, angry, and hopeless. You think “can this person who is supposed to love me, really believe those things about me? “ What is happening here?
What is happening is that as we feel blamed, we defend with criticism, and when we are hurt, we have a tendency to blame the person who hurt us, and vilify them in our mind. “They must be terrible if they could hurt me this bad.” We are hurt and we are deep down feeling scared and alone because our partner feels so far away- less like our partner and more like our enemy. The problem is that our partner doesn’t see that hurt. They only see the blame which pushes them away, instead of drawing them closer. The solution: speak FOR our hurt, not FROM that hurt with anger and blame. Speak for the softer vulnerable feelings that are the fuel for the anger and blame.
Do you and your partner need help to get out of the blame/counter blame cycle, and learn how to have a different kind of conversation? Send us an email or give us a call.