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Understanding Why We Blame

Let’s face it, we sometimes spend needless time in blame mode about our interpersonal disputes. Just think of all the energy we put out! I’m not always sure what compels blame. Are we trying to take attention away from our wrong-doing? Are we thinking it will make things better if we blame? Or, that we will feel better? Do we want to make things worse? Blaming can be impulsive and we don’t always realize that we have choices about how we react. That is, unless we are getting something out of blaming, which itself is an important question to ask ourselves, we have the ability to change a tendency to blame.

It’s true that people say and do awful and hurtful things that are not worthy of our forgiveness and are downright mean, obnoxious, rude and irreparable. Other things we may blow out of proportion. Since blaming doesn’t make things better, it helps to think about what is going on for us at these times and remove ourselves from the negativity. Here are some reflective questions that may shed a light on a tendency to blame. You may want to consider a situation when you found yourself stuck in blame when you answer them.

  • What was it about the other person’s words or behaviour that you were blaming him or her for?
  • What did you need from the other person that he or she wasn’t delivering on?
  • What impact did blaming have on you?
  • What impact did blaming have on the other person?
  • What do you believe about the other person that may have contributed to your feelings of blame in this situation?
  • If you told the other person exactly what you are/were feeling about what he or she said or did, what words would you use?
  • What was going on for you that you chose blaming as a way to cope with this person or situation?
  • What other choices did you have that may have served you better?
  • What would it take for you to let go of the blame?
  • What theme may there be about when you tend to blame?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflict management

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