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Ep. 137 The Blame Game

by Claudine Sweeney
July 13th 2022

We all do it. We blame "it" or "them" for how we feel. Sometimes it feels good and sometimes it feels right. But blaming is actually keeping you stuck. It adds to your stress and robs you of peace ... More

This is episode 1 37 The Blame Game. You're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and Shine podcast. Welcome back listeners today, we're going to talk about a subject. It's something that we have all done starting in childhood. I think I believe we've all done it even in childhood and we find it in the bible early on in genesis. And I'm gonna read a little bit here in Genesis three. It says have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? The man said the woman you put here with me, she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.

Then the Lord said to the woman, what is this? You have done. The woman said the serpent deceived me and I ate. So if you haven't figured it out today, we're talking about blaming and it is time to stop the blame game. If we want to really rise up and shine and live our best lives, that will not happen as long as we are playing the blame game. Absolutely. I can fall guilty of this. Yes, we all every single one of us, I defy anyone to say they've never blamed a circumstance or a person for something in their life. Absolutely. Even for how we feel, right. You know, it's like I watched that with my kids when I asked, well you know how does it make you feel? And I kind of hate using that word make right? Does it make you feel? But it's true. It's like the kids or you know, we do it as well as ourselves. Um you know, they made me feel this way or they did this to me or you know all the things but it's true.

It's just basically kind of taking it off of us and it's someone else's fault. It's got to be someone else's fault. It's a way to excuse our behavior. Even in that example, Adam and Eve both ate the fruit but they wanted to excuse that behavior and put the blame on someone else when they made me do it right. And life isn't perfect. It's full of mistakes and accidents happen. But when those happen blaming is an active defense, right? It's like self defense. And if we're constantly blaming our circumstance or other people, it shuts us down. We can't be open to other experiences or to what life is trying to teach us because we're stuck in blaming. And if you don't ever take personal responsibility then there's no growth, right? There's no awareness, there's no growth. There's no healing. We just get stuck in this vicious blame cycle. Well it is hard to take accountability and self responsibility. It's hard too because it doesn't feel good and it feels a bit better when we put it on someone else.

Yes, totally. I feel a bit better when it's not my fault. I'm actually very uh sensitive. I'm going to use that word. I acknowledge that I'm sensitive to being blamed. Yes, I think because I would take the blame. I was such a people pleaser so I would take the blame so easily. But now as I've done so much work on myself, I'm more sensitive to hey, it's not my fault. I didn't do that or even something simple. Like I didn't move that. You know, I didn't like my husband and I were joking yesterday because he's like, can I have you seen my cell phone charger? I can't find it. You must have moved it. Yeah, I didn't touch it. Why did you automatically go to? I must have moved. Yeah, perhaps it could have been you. So you're sharing how it doesn't feel good to be on the blaming. None of us like to be on the blaming but it does feel a bit good to be the blamer write it feels a little bit more powerful. Like I'm in control and it's when we put it on someone else.

But really there's no growth there. It keeps us stuck in those negative feelings when we keep blaming and not taking responsibility. Yeah, absolutely and research shows that blaming can impact our lives negatively in many ways. And one of those ways is it lowers our social status. And I thought that was interesting. Not that we're all aiming for high social status, but I think it's even acceptable acceptance and acceptability. Um who wants to be with someone that blames all the time, right? They're just not viewed as maybe as successful or as I don't know, some positive. Yeah, definitely, definitely positive if they're always blaming others because it is we can see it. It's like, oh they don't want to take any personal responsibility and that can make us I know for me if I'm with someone that's always blaming circumstance or other people, then I almost feel like oh, I'm going to be next. Like if something happens in this situation or in our relationship, I'm going to be to blame.

So it doesn't give me a whole lot of security in that relationship. Absolutely. And when we blame it puts us in that victim seat, right? So I think of it like you said, a defense mechanism and what we do when we blame is we're deflecting we're putting something on somebody else because then it takes the focus off of us and put it on someone else, but really what we're doing like I said is a defense mechanism. We're trying to feel less bad for our wrongdoing and we don't want to take responsibility for it. It's got to be someone else's fault. It just kind of feels better in the moment. But again, it doesn't make us rise up and shine and feel good and live our best life. And again it hurts our relationships too. And we want to be careful for that, right? Yeah. And it comes from that part of our brain comes from the primitive part and the ego that wants to seem right and wants to protect itself and like you said, it's easy to do and it's a way to discharge the pain that we're feeling, especially if we've done something wrong, right?

We feel guilt, we feel shame, we feel these emotions that we don't want to feel and then it's easier to find fault instead of feeling that emotion going to burn a brown who studied all of these emotions. So you know, it is easier like it's so much easier to say it's your fault. Instead of going, wow, I did a wrong here, I whatever. You know, like even with this example of Adam and Eve, they could have just said, yeah, I ate the apple but they didn't, they deflected. Like somehow that was going to solve anything. I mean it didn't solve anything which is the truth of the matter God already knew and most people know too. Like I know when I see someone blaming someone else usually in my mind, I'm like, I bet there's another side to this that I haven't heard yet, right? So it's not pulling the wool over anyone else's eyes, but it is just a self defense protective mechanism. Absolutely. And when we think about it blaming doesn't lead to solutions anyways. It keeps us stuck in those negative feelings because we're just cycling on, you know, putting that blame on someone else and they must have done it.

Or even another thing that I've learned personally is or sometimes seeing my Children is that we think other people are responsible for our emotions and how we feel and we are responsible for our own emotions and how we, so when we blame, we think that we're taking that shame off right, We don't have to feel bad, We don't have to feel shame. We don't have to feel guilty, but it essentially does still make us feel those things and we can feel hopeless and powerless and just not in control of our reality and our actions and our choices and our feelings and so just really understanding that hey, if we can take a little bit more responsibility, there's a lot of positive things that can happen from that. A lot of growth and learning and that's part of even having a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset and fixed mindset, we're just going to be stuck in that space blaming blaming will lead us to do that. But if we have, we want to have more of a growth mindset and just acknowledge, hey, I want to grow and learn and develop and be the best me I can be, there is a great bumper sticker can be the best me I can be.

Then start practicing taking accountability and responsibility for your actions, your own actions. Absolutely. Sociology experts have discovered that people who accept personal responsibility for their lives are empowered. They're not victims. So you have this sense of control and power when you take responsibility instead of the illusion of control, which is when you're blaming right? So it is you have to kind of wade through the waters of feeling the emotions that are sometimes hard if you have made a mistake or have done something you shouldn't have done. But once you accept that personal responsibility, there is an empowerment in a sense of control that comes with that. And like you mentioned earlier, um, if we do accept responsibility, then we're going to have stronger relationships because we really hurt our relationships when we're blaming. I feel like in my marriage almost 34 years now, I spent probably the first couple of decades blaming my husband for everything that went wrong because it just seems so natural, right?

Like it's his fault. Surely it's not mine. He's the husband and everything that's wrong in our marriage is his fault. And then yes, it's Ron. So for your listeners, it's Not helpful. It takes 2 to Tango. I spent so many years and now we have a much stronger relationship when I was able to take personal responsibility for my part in it. And honestly it does lead to more confidence. I think even accepting that we make mistakes and um we heard other people or do things we shouldn't do when we take that personal response, but I think it leads to real confidence because we're not hiding behind a defense mechanism anymore. We're stepping into the truth of the situation and there's confidence in that. I like that you said that because actually I was thinking about insecurity embarrassment because how we talked about, well when we blame it helps us not feel the guilt and the shame, but also the embarrassment or the insecurity of making mistakes, you know, making mistakes or not choosing the right action.

Um I know I had a conversation with my husband. I'll just share this, I'm sure he'll be fine with it. I can ask him later. But he was sharing yesterday how he was running really stressed in the morning at work and he was actually confronted with a co worker from a co worker saying, hey, you're kind of coming off a little harsh, intense and he felt really bad. Oh my gosh, that's not who I want to be at work. And so he had two options. Right? Well he could have blamed, he could have blamed the stress of work of the job and his deadlines and all that pressure or he could have taken accountability is what he did. So he took accountability, wow, I mean he accepted that even though he felt embarrassed by it, but he accepted it and he chose I want to work on how I'm approaching people and my stress level and you know, he wants to be a better version of him and so he, you know, he he took that as good advice to help him grow right in that specific area, especially when we're stressed and that happens all the time when we're stressed, when we're tired, when we're overwhelmed, we tend to blame our situation other people.

Um you know, all those things, but really if we again want to be able to grow and develop and um rise up and shine that name. Yeah. And what you said about him wanting to show up differently, I love that. Like how do we want to show up that? That is why we do these episodes and talk about these things because how do we want to show up in this world, in our relationships, in our circumstance? Um as christians, as moms, as wives, as friends, sisters, daughters, How do we want to show up? And the best version of ourself does not show up blaming It doesn't it takes personal responsibility, it's confident, secure, it knows that we're going to make mistakes, We're all human beings, we fail all the time and there's security and knowing that I'm never going to be perfect, you know, I think we've done a whole episode on perfectionism and I definitely struggled with that in my earlier years and I feel like once I just like almost relished and like I'm imperfect, I fail all the time.

Then all of a sudden there was this piece and this confidence, like, yep, did it again, blew it again like, oops. And um it takes away that, that blame and shame and all of that into to just show up. Like yeah, I'm imperfect, but I'm doing my best and I want to show up as the best version of myself who is always growing and learning like I haven't arrived and I never will. So it's okay. I'm always, yeah, I'm always learning and growing and a huge component of that is having Grace. I think when we tend to blame, it's because one again, like we said, we're not wanting to take responsibility, but we also haven't learned how to have grace on ourselves and we can be our worst critic. And so if we deflect, then we take that lens that focus off of us, right? And we can deflect that. But when we have more grace on ourselves, it's a bit easier to not blame so much and just take ownership. Like messed up. Sorry, I'll, you know, let's figure out how I can handle this a little different, let's find a solution here and be able to move forward, but having that Grace on yourself and just know I'm human, I'm not perfect.

It's going to keep, you know, working through the process. It's a process and the same with others. They're human, they're not perfect. They're going to make mistakes, they're going to sin against us and their appropriate actions and reactions to take other than just being stuck in blame. So let's talk about a few practical. So one of the first ones for me and I really, I need to learn to do this more and had to was to stop and take a deep breath or two when I'm feeling the circumstance or the person like my automatic reflexes want to blame. You know, I need to just stop, take a deep breath or two and identify what I'm feeling. My feeling hurt and my feeling um scared and my feeling angry. What am I feeling, connect with that because I think so many times when we blame, we're not connecting with any of our emotions and we can't work from that place of ignorance, right? We have to acknowledge, become aware of what it is we're feeling to go forward and allow ourselves to feel it.

We think that we shouldn't feel negative emotions, feeling negative emotions is bad, right? But it is part of the human experience. So allowing ourselves just to feel the whole gamut of emotions, whatever comes embarrassment, the guilt, we definitely want to try not to feel shame. That's more believing we are bad, rather I did something bad um insecurity, the embarrassment, you know, those kinds of things, they're part of the normal human experience. And so just allowing that and recognizing, hey, I'm kind of feeling that it's uncomfortable. I don't really like it, but let's find a solution how I can grow, see how I can grow and change and change my reactions. My actions change whatever. You know, even change, let's blame less and it takes work. It takes work. It does take work. The second one is to take responsibility for our part in it, whether it's in a relationship or in the circumstance, even if it's just 1/10 of 1% we can always find something to take personal responsibility for and that's helping me so much in relationships where I was used to blaming the other person for it.

I had to look and go, okay, but what 1% even 1% seems safe for me. Like it almost still felt like blaming like, well 99% is their fault, But I'm going to own one. So it felt like a safe place to start was with the 1% and go, oh yeah, I could have done this differently, you know, or my part in it was this. And so because we are, we are the masters of our fate to a certain degree. I mean we create our lives through our thoughts and our beliefs and our actions and so when we're constantly blaming, we're trying to abdicate that responsibility, it's like, no, this is all just happening to me were victims. So Even owning 1% of it puts us back in the um ownership in the control place. Yeah, yeah, the next one is apologize especially when we take responsibility, understand that, but being able to apologize and that does take a lot of humility and some it's easier than others.

I tend to be the over apologize er apologize, apologize er but it really helps strengthen relationships, it helps strengthen confidence, self esteem, all those things. It really develops such a healthier lifestyle, you feel better, hey, I can own up to this, take responsibility and then apologize for my 1/10 percent or more if necessary, then amen more power to you. I think their relationships are so much healthier when there's an apology too. I see this even with my Children, sometimes we're not ready to apologize. I know there's been times where I felt hurt and I would not quite feel ready to apologize, but I wouldn't hold on to it for days and days and days, maybe even hours, I would just if I need to give myself a half an hour then and have a really process what I'm going through what I'm thinking and what I'm feeling and be able to apologize then do that.

You do want it to be a genuine apology, but um that's huge in restoring the relationship. Yeah. Yeah, that's great. I mean, yeah, it's so important to apologize when we go into blame mode because it's not fair to the other person, it really isn't, and you're right, It is, I'm it's much harder for me. I'm not a natural apologize. Er I like to just change my behavior, I'm like, okay, that bothered them, that upset them, so I should change this behavior, but I don't like going through the ritual of I'm sorry, you know, that's just not the easy part for me, but to blame someone else and then to be able to go back and say, I'm really sorry, I blamed you for this. I see my part in it is such a big step forward in healing and growth and keeping that relationship unified. And lastly, the fourth practical is really learn from the experience, whatever it was, whether it was a circumstance or conversation or something that happened with someone else, we can all learn from it. We could think what could I have done differently or how can I look at this situation differently.

What thoughts can I have about this that would change my experience of it? Um this part is so fascinating to me and of course it's most of the work that we do, but our thoughts about it and the stories we tell ourselves is what gives the experience meaning, right? And so whether it's positive or negative is because of our thoughts about it. And so there are times when we want to blame the circumstance or someone else, but it's really our thoughts about it that are creating that in the first place, the same situation can happen to five people and they're all going to have a different response to it and maybe to a blame and to not have a problem with it at all and one will be oblivious, they didn't even know anything happened. So it really is our thoughts and being able to learn from the experience, learn to become aware of our thoughts and maybe we could have behaved felt or acted differently in the moment and learned from it and it's very empowering when we take these steps, it's very empowering, it feels so hard.

But the result is you do you just feel more confident, You see the growth, you see the benefit in your relationships, it's being able to learn and have that learners heart is is crucial. I mean really if you want to have a life to the full So true, well those were some good practical zay. No, they helped me a lot with stopping blaming my situation circumstance or others. And as life coaches Ashley and I can help you if you were stuck in the blame game and you want to film powered by taking responsibility for your role in any circumstance or situation. We are here to help you can visit us at mind over chaos dot com or Claudine Sweeney dot com and schedule a free discovery call with either one of us. And even in that short 30 minute call, we can help you with this situation. So just remember, the only person who cannot be helped is that person who blames others until next time.

Thank you. Alright, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the Rise up and Shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode. And while you're at it share this episode with a friend who, you know it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at Mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember, ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm.

Ep. 137 The Blame Game
Ep. 137 The Blame Game
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