There are people who blame others when things go wrong. It’s natural to want to identify the cause and it’s also natural to cast blame. Sadly, blaming people often becomes the go-to remedy for a bad situation.
Finding fault in someone else for things going wrong and blaming is a game that doesn’t have any winners. Over time, people can get into the blame game habit which creates defensiveness and divide people. Blaming doesn’t resolve conflict and it doesn’t leave much room for negotiations.
People who blame often have a hard time accepting responsibility for their own actions. They are quick to point their index finger at someone else but forget there are three other fingers pointing back at them. So, why do people suffer the blame game so often? Here’s why-
#1. They lack empathy- People who blame tend to see the world in black
and white with very little grey in between. They see right and wrong
without considering a bigger picture. Instead of investigating why
something happens they look at the outcome and assign blame. Jumping to
conclusions and casting blame leaves no room for empathy.
A lack of empathy for others limits your reaction when things go wrong. Instead of being open to multiple possibilities, blame gamers tend to cast blame and shame which can lead to defensiveness.
Reason #2. They lack self-control- People who blame tend to lack self-control. They often fueled by their emotions and react quickly when frustrated or disappointed. They express their displeasure and cast blame quickly to help ease their own anxieties.
The inability to hold their thoughts a while and examine all the angles can lead to blaming rather than resolving conflict. In the same way lacking empathy can cause shame, lacking self-control can create knee-jerk reactions that alienate people in difficult times.
Reason #3. People who blame others lack experience- A lot of people who play the blame game were blamed a lot themselves. Whether blame was a routine part of their childhood or they experienced being blamed and suffered greatly, they may have internalized finding and casting blame as the best way to identify who is at fault and deflect any responsibility.
Growing up without a model for healthy conflict resolution can lead to a blaming mentality. If you’ve witnessed blaming and saw it successful, casting blame may feel normal. After all, it feels good to have a culprit or someone to take all the ownership of a difficult situation. It takes much more work to find common ground, own your role in something, or accept that there are some situations that can’t be pinned on one person or one situation.
Fault-finding is one of the key moves in the blame game. It won’t solve problems and it alienates people. No one wants to be on the receiving end of blame, even when it’s warranted. Finding better ways to solve conflict is more mature and an effective way to resolve conflict.
People who blame others do so because they think it solves problems. If someone is at fault, then the responsibility lies with them to make things right. This is unfair because, generally speaking, one person does not entirely hold the lion’s share of blame.
Outside of specific times when someone is clearly at fault, most disagreements or delicate situations have diffused responsibility and finding healthy resolution is preferable to blaming.
others creates division- Just because you assign blame to someone
doesn’t mean they will accept it. Chances are, the person being blamed
is blaming someone else and so on and so on. The act of blaming is like
tossing a hot potato.
Blaming others alienates people- Solving problems requires teamwork. Blame alienates people and creates an us and them situation. That can make it impossible to get in there and do what needs to be done to move through a problem.
Sorry Blame It On Me
Blaming other people won’t solve problems but there are habits you can create, instead of blaming, that will. Develop these habits and stop blaming others when things go wrong.
Problem Solving Habit #1- Seek to understand. Instead of looking for someone to blame, seek to better understand the whole picture. Even if one person is directly responsible for a problem, chances are there is more to it than meets the eye. Seek to understand what’s going on so you can focus on solving the problem rather than casting blame.
Problem Solving Habit #2- Ask open ended questions. Instead of blaming and alienating people, ask a LOT of questions. Seek to put all the pieces together to get a bigger perspective about what’s going on. This can help you discover the nuances of a situation which help with problem solving.
Problem Solving Habit #3- Be intentional about solving problems. Taking ownership to help sort things out stops the blame game. When your efforts go into finding solutions there isn’t time to blame others and walk away. Making it a habit to be a part of the solution rather than contributing to the negativity of a problem makes good sense.
People who blame others accuse other people when things go wrong, but that doesn't do much to solve any problems. It can actually amplify them. What will help is developing habits that help solve problems regardless of fault. Being able to be part of the solution makes solving any problem easier.
Blaming is a habit. It’s a way of managing stress, worry, and trying to avoid tough stuff. It’s natural for some people, even though it’s not healthy. Being blamed for something feels awful, even when you are totally at fault. Being held accountable is one thing but being blamed often includes additional factors like shame. Feeling shamed hurts, yet some people use blame as their primary way to resolve conflict.
You may have developed the habit of blaming and it can be really hard to stop. What do you do when try as you might, you seem to slip back into blaming? Try these dos and don’ts to help stop playing the blame game.
DO: Create a plan
DO: Get a buddy
DO: Self evaluate
DON’T: Assume you know it all
DON’T: See things in black and white
DON’T: Forget to be kind
Create a plan to stop blaming. Blaming is a habit. It becomes a knee jerk reaction when something goes wrong. Looking for someone to blame helps you cast your worries…and judgement onto someone or something else rather than accept your part in the situation or help make it better.
You’ll need a solid plan to stop blaming when it’s something you’ve done for a long time. An example could be paying close attention when you start to feel the urge to blame something on someone else and take a step back before acting on your thoughts.
Get someone to help out. Maybe blaming has become such a way of life that you barely recognize it when it happens. Blame can be subtle and you may not know you’re blaming or casting shame onto someone. People who blame others, but want to break the habit, should ask someone close to them to help them out.
Encourage them to hold you accountable…without blaming you… and alert you when you start to assign blame to something or someone.
Review your own behavior. Keeping a journal is an excellent way to review your day and your personal behavior. Writing about your day and your various encounters can help you sort out if you are casting blame anywhere and give you the space you need to process what you can do to avoid or turn around your blaming habit.
You don’t know it all. Even when we think we have all the information, many times we simply don’t. People tend to cast blame when they think they know it all and that’s not always the case. Assume you don’t know everything when managing a situation and seek to better understand rather than assign blame.
There are multiple scenarios. In all conflicts and resolutions there are multiple options. Things aren’t black and white. Digging deeper into a situation makes it possible to see all the angles, options, and scenarios that led to the outcome. Instead of being black and white about things, look at the grey and it can help you reserve blame.
In all matters, be kind. Being kind matters, even when someone is to blame. Fault and kindness can occupy the same space. Extending grace rather than blame can allow for problem solving and maintaining dignity in difficult situations.
People who blame others must understand that blame is not an ideal solution-ever. It’s a habit that needs to be broken.
Like all habits, it can be hard when it is as natural as using your dominant hand or breathing air. Breaking the blame game habit is easier when you have a plan, get some help, and remember to be kind in all that you do.
Many habits start at home. It’s easier to create a habit… good or bad… with the people you spend the most time with. This includes the habit of blaming.
Getting ahold of the habit and nipping it in the bud at home will help you avoid blame when you are in your community. Likewise, helping your children master the art of being part of the solution rather than blaming can help them be better employees, colleagues, and teammates. It’s worth the effort to break the blame game habit in your family.
usually easier to recognize other people laying blame on one another.
Pay attention to how your family addresses conflict and how easily they
lay blame on someone else. Commonly, siblings tend to cast blame easily
which can be considered tattling or sometimes being manipulative to
avoid being in trouble or get someone into trouble.
Pay close attention to how you address conflict too. Do you assign blame to your children or spouse? Pay attention to phrases like “you always” or “you never” as these are phrases that create blame.
Sort things out rather than cast blame
When conflict arises, do your best to sort things out without laying blame. Instead of using a phrase like “Why did you do that?” try a phrase like “Why do you suppose that happened?” This allows for problem solving without someone having to be ‘wrong.’
If your children come to you blaming one another for a problem, simply refuse to react to the he said, she said aspect of it. Instead try redirecting the issue by saying something like- “There seems to be a problem here, what do we need to do to fix this?” This takes the blame out of the situation and refocuses it on what to do rather than who did what. Teaching your children to problem solve rather than blame will help them inside and outside of the home.
Be a role model for your family and friends
The more aware you become to blame-based language and start to resolve conflict without blaming, the more people will notice. People will experience you as fair and easy to get along with and you may see an increase in your interpersonal relationships. Be a role model for your family and friends by avoiding blame and doing your best to redirect blame into problem solving.
The blame game usually starts at home. Break the habit and you’ll have fewer messes to clean up between family members and you’ll be teaching essential skills your family can use in the community.
Using blame as a way to resolve conflict never works. It alienates people, makes them defensive, and causes guilt and shame. Wagging your disapproving finger at others is an immature way to manage conflict.
Getting yourself in order and stopping the blame game habit is one thing, but what about standing up for yourself when you are being blamed?
Being blamed for something…even when you did it, feels awful. Being called out and held responsible for something can run the range of human emotion.
If the blame is unjustified it can cause you to feel victimized or targeted. If the blame is righteous but feels overboard or extreme, it can also cause you to experience guilt and shame at unnecessary levels. The bottom line is, it’s no fun to be blamed for things whether you are at fault or not.
Standing up for yourself when you are being blamed can be really hard. People casting blame may feel powerful and that can put you in awkward and stressful situations.
OR, if you tend to be a fighter, being blamed for something could trigger you to be highly defensive or resistant to their accusations. Under both circumstances, it’s hard to stand up for yourself in healthy ways.
Tips for standing up for yourself when you’re being blamed
Tip- If you did it, own it: Being blamed stings, there’s no doubt about it. Being caught doing something shady or facing unexpected fall out from something unintentional hurts either way. If you caused a problem, own it. Under most circumstances, people simply want people who have offended them to own up to it. Resistance can cause more problems than there already are.
Tip- Get in touch with your feelings: Being blamed triggers the fight or flight reaction. Get in touch with how you feel before you react. If you’re embarrassed and want to run or you’re fuming mad and want to fight back, you need to calm yourself before you can move to resolution.
Tip- Make amends: If you are at fault…intentionally or unintentionally… make amends. This doesn’t mean you have to demean yourself or be the brunt of harsh ridicule. Simply approach the situation humbly and do your best to make amends.
Tip- Choose your words wisely: Being blamed can feel like an attack. Choose your words wisely and consider who is blaming you. If you are being blamed unfairly, address it calmly and avoid escalating the situation. Focus on facts rather than feelings and do your best to defend your situation. If you are being blamed and there is legitimacy to it, choose how you respond wisely and avoid being defensive or humiliated.
Note: Sometimes people are blamed for things they simply did not do. Be prepared to defend yourself if and when by getting support. You may need legal assistance, a trusted friend, or another neutral party to help sort things out. Be prepared to face unwarranted blame and don’t allow someone to railroad you with their accusations.
Whether you did something regrettable or are being falsely blamed, you need to stand up for yourself. Apologizing is standing up for yourself in the same way refuting a false accusation is. Facing blame with dignity and a cool head will help you overcome being blamed without feeling shamed or defensive.
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