TO BLAME OR NOT TO BLAME
is that even the right question?
ACoAs & Disappointment (#2)
SET UP: In everyday life outside events trigger us to respond. When we do, we then decide if our response got us what we wanted. Normal FLOW is always 2-way: Red light <–> Stop <–> Be safe. BUT – what if our action didn’t produce the desired result?
BLAME – In general: to assign responsibility for having a fault, for doing something wrong, or for causing someone’s pain. Used correctly, it’s a way to hold oneself or another person accountable.
ALSO: It can be making negative statements about an individual or group, saying that their action/s are socially or morally irresponsible – and therefore they’re bad. It’s the opposite of praise.
SELF-HATE is incorrectly blaming ourselves when anyone else hurts us, even tho we had nothing to do with causing the (abusive) event
ABUSE / cruelty: ‘Blaming the victim’ is holding someone responsible for pain they have or are suffering, which they did not cause & had no way of preventing
BLAMERS’ ‘REALITY’ is based on over-emphasizing themselves (the WIC ego state in charge), using a 1-directional cause-&-effect ‘radar’. The only things that seem to register as blips on their ego-screen are those that effect them & their feelings – good or bad – which they use to justify their unhealthy actions. (MORE….)
Because of this self-centered focus, habitual blamers either don’t notice or don’t care about the negative effect their actions & words have on others, or how they’re coming across (arrogant, stupid, outrageous…..). Since their view of reality feels normal & logical to them – they don’t recognize the pattern as dysfunctional. CHART :
• The core belief is based on S-H & shame – that they’re wrong, bad, not deserving of care / respect / help….
• The emotion is rage at the unfairness of it all. Under that is fear, loneliness, hopelessness….
• The desire (as compensation) is for everything to go their way, regardless of what’s real & possible, ignoring that others have needs too, which may be different from their own
This combination (belief-emotion-desire) results in the blamer-‘victim’ insisting that bad outcomes are always someone or something else’s fault. They’re dedicated to protecting the illusion that the world is against them. It reinforces their ‘position’ —
— that they had nothing to do with things going wrong (everything from running across the street against a red light to staying in a damaging relationship)
— that they should not have to cope with adversity (don’t know how to self-soothe & don’t want to anyway)
— that it’s NOT up to them to make things better
CRUCIAL: When considering this character defect, remember that it only refers to adults, not children. We also need to distinguish between what’s ‘legitimate’ finger-pointing, & what’s not.
Legit’ blame (assigning responsibility), on behalf of Children: parents & other adults ARE answerable for the pain they caused us growing up – whether they had a choice to do so or not (a parent being physically & emotionally abusive or abandoning because of mental illness, divorce, death…).
Not Legit’ blaming OTHERS – adult to adult, or about any group: Only the unhealthy parts of us indulge in this technique. Blamers look at everything that happens to them in the world thru the internal filter of their WIC (excitement or abandonment), but react externally from their PP (superiority or finger-shaking). Both are filters which may be well-hidden until something doesn’t work out for them. Using it as a defense mechanism is habitually holding others responsible for our life problems & emotional unhappiness, believing that our decisions & choices are because of what others say or do.
This applies to everyone, not just to ACoAs. It’s a way of never having to look at one’s own self-defeating beliefs & life patterns – to avoid doing the hard work of growing & changing.
• But underneath, chronic blaming is also a way of expressing ACoAs’ sense of powerlessness – assuming we’re unable (not allowed) to get our needs met. So we rely on others to make up for & provide us with all the things our parents couldn’t or didn’t want to. Then we can accuse people of letting us down – when they ‘don’t come thru’ – even tho what we’re expecting from them is totally unrealistic & inappropriate! <— IMAGE: The Al-Anon handshake: one finger pointed at others & 3 pointing back to ourselves.
ACoAs IRONY: While we’re pointing out everyone else’s shortcomings (as it affect us, of course) we also have huge S-H when anything hurts us. We have it backwards – blaming ourselves for the source of our pain to avoid holding our parents accountable for those original wounds. “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”.
Reality: No matter how competent & creative we are in the outside world, we really don’t know what SELF-care is – because we were never taught. But we CAN learn, if we’re willing.
And, our accomplishments prove there are many things we really DO know how to do which we can apply to ourselves – because we’ve been doing them for others our whole life (anywhere from codependent care-taking to deeply loving our pets….), yet insist we don’t have a clue about how to take care of ourselves. UNTRUE – we simply:
— don’t have permission to be #1 in our own life, AND
— we compulsively want someone else to do it for us
Healthy people identify each limiting or disturbing situation – inside or outside of themselves – & decide whether it can be corrected / modified / resolved…. or not. They take responsibility for what they can do & let go of what they can’t fix.
Applying the Serenity Prayer, they accept what’s out of their control & take actions when they can. And they don’t confuse the two. If there’s legitimately no solution, they walk away. If it can be changed, they’re willing to:
— do whatever it takes to find a solution,
— change strategies when something isn’t working, AND if on the right track —
— have the patience to see it thru, no matter how long it takes!
NEXT: ACoAs & Blame (Part 2)