The Psychology of blame
When things do not turn out the way we have expected, we often feel dissappointed and angry and look for something or somebody to blame. Sounds familiar?
Even though blame might provide a temporary relief, it is very disempowering and limiting long term. Let’s see why.
The energy of blame
Where does blame come from?
In most cases blame is fueled by anger! Anger projected is blame. Blame is saying that I am angry because you did something to make me angry, you don’t behave the way I want you to, so I am upset and it is your fault. Blame is saying that because all is your fault, therefore I cannot do anything about it, I am powerless to change it, I am not responsible at all, all I can do is keep being angry and blaming you for my anger. It also implies that I will be angry until you change your behavior in a way I want it so I don’t have to be angry anymore. Therefore I am totally at your mercy and willingly giving you my power. I know, it sounds a bit crazy if you really think about it.
While anger can be totally justified in certain situations like self defense for example, most of the time what we project is suppressed anger that we carry inside from the past. One day we cannot hold it in any longer and the anger will explode out. During this outburst we feel overwhelmed by the anger, we often loose control of our behavior and become super reactive. In this state there is no clear thinking and emotional balance. Obsession, paranoia and deep confusion sets in. We experience a sense of powerlessness and desperation. We are in the grip of blame and anger.
The mind desperately tries to understand why we feel this way so it looks for a person, target, event to justify the explosive anger with and to make sense out of the whole experience. This is a normal psychological process. However the consequence/result of blame is to be in a victim state because blame only takes your power away. When you are in reaction, in anger and blame you are without your power to consciously choose what you desire. The only benefit of blame is the temporary relief from responsibility but it comes inevitably with the lack of power over your actions and ultimately your life.
For a long term solution please read my previous post on healing suppressed anger here.
Questions for self reflection
How is being angry and blaming others works out for you?
Is what you are doing/feeling/thinking making your life better or not?
You want to be right or you want to be happy?
Ending the game of blame
Here are some practical tips to end the vicious cycle of anger and blame and to empower you to choose what you desire instead of what you stand against.
Step 1 – Allow yourself to feel
Remember emotion is energy in motion wanting to go towards equilibrium, balance.
Most people with awareness of their projection first try to bury, deny and suppress their anger, their reaction. Obviously this doesn’t work long term. So first step is to acknowledge how you feel and give yourself permission to feel it, without any judgement. Feeling is healing.
Step 2 – Express how you feel
Remember that anger is a very volatile emotion and it can’t be suppressed long term. You have 3 choices:
1. Resist the anger and deny it until it becomes anger turned inwards and manifests as depression.
2. Suppress it with less success so periodic explosion/projection/blame happens to momentarily reduce internal tension, mostly leading to conflict, violence and aggression.
3. Take responsibility for it and express it in a way you choose it.
In practical words you can choose to sit in front of your TV and shout at the screen on the news channel or attack others on social media or you can choose to go out to nature, chop some wood, hit the ground, scream out loud, shout out what you want to say, dance around, run 5 miles whatever works and give a tantrum in the woods this way releasing the tension, allowing the intense energy of anger to flow through you and give way to relaxation, clarity and peace.
The question is what is most helpful for you and people around you? Is what you are doing makes you less angry or more angry?
Step 3 – Reflect
I promise that after step 2 you will feel more relaxed, clear headed, calm and centered. When you are activated and overwhelmed with anger you can’t think clearly and your judgement is clouded. Therefore it is outmost importance to restore your inner balance where you have your clarity and power. Once you feel calmer you can reflect and ask some questions to create deeper understanding and make the best choices in any given situation.
What am I really angry about? What upsets me so much and why?
What do I believe, think, feel that makes me feel this way?
What is that I really wish for, desire? What could be the best possible outcome in this situation?
What can I do to feel better and to contribute to the best outcome?
What would love do now?
Step 4 – Follow your inner guidance
Act upon what feels true and best for you and keep practicing acting upon that. Keep checking in with yourself by asking the following questions.
How is what I think, feel, do working out for me? Do I feel more balanced, clear, uplifted, loving empowered or not? Do I keep falling into anger, blame and despair and why?
Checking in with yourself and see how you feel will help you to understand better what is truly working for you and the limitations that can be let go of so you can be free.
Respond or react?
Responsibility can be a heavy word. But I think it is actually quite liberating. For me it means simply the ability to respond in any given situation. When I am not responding, I am reacting out of some idea, program, trigger or conditioning I am unaware of. I am like a robot running a program at the push of a button. Clearly I am not in my power I am just reacting to a trigger.
Respond implies choosing to act a certain way with awareness. Here I have a choice to do what I want to do not what I am triggered to do. This ability to respond means freedom of choice therefore personal power. My experience is that when I respond I ALWAYS make better choices. When I react, I often regret or resent later.
But the real question is, what do you choose for yourself? Your life is your reality.
Who you are choosing to be?
With all my love