20 Jul 2012, 3:03pm
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Blame

I’ll be honest. I’ve avoided taking on this topic for a long time. It’s huge – pervasive and endemic in human interactions. The easiest way to approach it (perhaps not the most fun) is to start with myself. I admit to Blaming. It was like a dark cloud that shadowed my life.

photo credit- Jenna Blum

Blaming is different from holding someone accountable for their actions. We’ll get to that.

When something happens or has happened that distresses us, the first thing we do is look to Blame, perhaps ourselves but more often someone else (this is called “off-loading” Blame).  I’ll start with an “easy” example. If someone runs a red-light and smashes into your car you can legitimately blame them, right? The next step, hopefully with the help of the law and your insurance company, is to hold them responsible. This is relatively easy if only the car is hurt. If you or your loved ones are temporarily or permanently injured the sense of Blame goes much deeper. But, the issue of responsibility can be complicated as well.  Suppose the other driver had a heart attack or stroke at the wheel? Suppose its a couple that just found out that their child was in a car accident and they’re on their way to the hospital? Suppose a yellow jacket got trapped and crazed in their car and stung them in the face?

I’m using these examples to highlight the difficulties that arise in assigning responsibility, let alone Blame, in any situation. I’m  going to ask you to take this example and extrapolate it to a host of other situations. Let’s get back to me. Like many people, I Blamed a parent and wanted them held responsible for behavior that deeply affected my life. I spent decades reliving and retelling the victim story. The glue that held the story together was Blame. Fortunately for me, that glue won’t hold together anymore. I’m experiencing what it’s like when the very concept of Blame dissolves. There is an uninterrupted flow to my life that wasn’t there before. 

Why is it important to notice when you’re blaming and interrupt the process? Blame is closely tied to victim consciousness. This sense of being a victim will settle into your physical body and contribute to illness if you don’t deal with it.This doesn’t mean you ignore that something has happened to you. You take whatever steps are appropriate and necessary to hold people accountable when possible. You get help and support with any pain you may be in; physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual.

I spent decades getting all the help but I failed to take the important step of confronting my own Blaming thoughts and words and therefore I was living a lot of my life in a past that no longer existed. Now I have learned not to allow Blame to take hold in the present. I’ve made this a priority so that I’m empowered to live my life fully in the Now, unencumbered by the toxicity of Blame and victimhood.

I want to highlight the most toxic form of Blame and that is self-blame. When you can not let yourself off the hook for something you have done or failed to do in the past, it’s like an energy vacuum sucking the life force out of you. You cannot fully show up for yourself or others. You are impaired in terms of living your best life in the present and moving into your future. This often presents as inertia or even a kind of paralysis as far as momentum. You are well and truly stuck. Repetitive blaming thoughts are like weeds on the tracks, they take hold and inhibit any forward movement. They need to be rooted out with care and attention.

 

I don’t pretend that this is easy. In fact, I know it is very difficult to see innocence where we are certain that Blame must be assigned. Like anything, it takes considerable commitment and practice. Do it for yourself first and it will be easier to do it for others.