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Blame - What's the Use?  

If you were one of the crowd accusing the woman of adultery, would you
have been able to cast the first stone, or would you have walked away
after Jesus spoke? Most of us would have walked away. Sure is was trap
to see how Jesus would handle the Jewish law, but as usual the Master
was able to turn the blamers inward to introspect. He was brilliant.
The focus was switched to forgiveness. The opposite of Christ's
strategy is used today. Blame and resentment punishes others and holds
them accountable. Here is what we do and why we do it.
We blame in order to place the focus on people we think should be held
accountable. It is important to search for accountability. It is more
important to teach accountability as a basic responsibility. We don't
do that as often as we used to. We teach rights rather than
responsibility.
Is there anything wrong with using blame to assign accountability? Of
course not. Accountability is a good thing. It is everywhere you work
or play. We have referees in sports and we have inventory, book keeping
in business. We have job performance and work reviews. If you want a
business to run properly we must make people accountable. It is a sad
sort of affairs when a person goes to his first job and has never had to
practice accountability. That may sound odd, but for a lot of people
showing up at work is their first taste of accountability.
Parents are supposed to be the great teachers of accountability. Often
though the job is abandoned by people who for what ever neurotic excuse
can't seem to hold anyone else, much less their own children
accountable.
Yet it is our duty to teach the next generation accountability if it is
to function and endure for another generation.
It ain't me babe.
You know the lyrics to the song. It ain't me you're looking for. The
implication is that I can't be relied upon or held accountable. We
romanticize the free spirit in this society. It is that old cowboy
mentality. I heard on the news the other day that a burglar brought his
son to "work" with him, because he could find day care for the little
child. The father was arrested for breaking and entering. Hopefully he
was trying to teach his child that stealing was wrong. Getting caught
was how he was going to teach accountability to his son. You doubt it
too?
Blame is the way to get the heat off yourself.
More likely he will blame the police or the burglar alarm system or some
other person for getting caught. This foolish, felonious father will
miss the opportunity to teach a lesson he needs to learn. He will use
blame to get the heat off himself.
For many the basis of blame is the desire to be free and the free of
being held accountable. Most often we see the legal tactic of blaming
the accuser instead of defending oneself on the basis of truth and
evidence. It worked in the OJ Simpson case and it works with our
politicians. It is an immature way of living. I can remember a few
times that my sister blamed me for something. She was afraid of the
"wooden spoon." I was the kind of kid who eventually got used to it and
didn't care.
We all would like to be innocent or undo the things we did wrong.
The adolescent adult thinks that the appropriate way of maintaining
innocence is to either blame others or to have a "do-over." Blaming
some else doesn't make you innocent no matter how well you place it.
The truth is still truth.
I want to look good in your eyes. Blame and resentment allow me to look
good, maintain my self-esteem. The problem with that belief is that
one's self-esteem is not based on what others think but of what I myself
think of myself. If I am at fault, my value doesn't go down. I am not
good when I am right nor bad when I am wrong. I am good in an absolute
sense even before the event that I have been blamed for. My behavior
can be judged, but not my being.
This may sound a little esoteric, but bear with me. There is more too
it.
We blame others in order to keep people split into good and bad groups.
This helps us divide and conquer.
When we resent others we are really stacking up old pain. This may
serve to intensify the old pain, but it also helps us sort things out.
If we can remember where we have been wronged we believe we avoid it in
the future. That's useful, but not a great way to live. It is living
defensively.
Maybe being offensive sounds better to you? Well some people actually
go on the offensive with blame and resentment and try to do unto others
what has been done to them. It feels like justice. It is actually
revenge. People with this character flaw want to see punishment meted
out. They like vengeance. This character flaw will always make you
feel like you have the right to punish someone else. You may have that
right. You might be justified. Key word might. Just remember this
character flaw is linked to Martyr Syndrome, which will never let you
believe that you have punished the other person enough
Marriages made in Hell
Marriages are made in Heaven right? After all the couples I've seen,
I'm not too sure. I know that most of the time they are not made down
here on earth. When blame and its cargo, resentment, infect a marriage
it becomes fertile grounds for constant conflict. It is a marriage made
in Hell.
Marriages fall apart when resentment reigns. In couples therapy one of
the first things needed is to focus couples away from their individual
rights. Good marriages are not made of individuals. Good marriages are
made of two becoming spiritually united as one. I know it sounds old
fashioned, But it takes sacrifice, commitment and responsible action to
make a marriage strong. The focus on individual rights breeds
discontent, blame and resentments. Focusing on responsibilities, duties
and roles helps to clarify misunderstandings that lead to blame.
I am not naive enough to think that relationships are easy if you follow
a few simple rules. They can be very difficult. But when one of the
partners blames and harbors intense resentments the relationship is
often doomed. Good, long lasting relationships require that we reduce
our egos and release our character flaws.
When one partner resents, the other gets demonized. Patients who are
unduly rebellious choose to act out even more, because they hate being
blamed. "As long as I am being blamed for it I might as well do it."
We treat resentment as relatively innocuous. We believe that there is
no great cause for alarm. "If I resent that person, I'll just avoid
him," is what we tell ourselves. The problem is that it contaminates
our thinking in other areas. We don't function as well as we could when
we walk around with resentments.
Most spouses who are married to someone using resentment are well
equipped to play with the character flaw of victimization. It is part
of their game. They chose the person to be with in the relationship.
They might not have done it consciously. It may have just been a
marriage made in Hell.
Here are a couple of simple rules to follow in your relationship when
you discover that you have been using blame and resentment.
Rule #1 When there is a problem in your relationship, change a
character Flaw in yourself.
Rule #2 If you discover the other person is to blame, reread rule # 1.
Think about it.

 

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