Remember the rules for relationships that I gave
you in Chapter I:
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.
Here's the key to handling this flaw. Lets take a
look at what to do
with the person who is possessed by this flaw and
who has decided to
inflict it upon you.
Don't stir the stew
Know each other's rules
Recognize what your responsibility is and what it
Focus on your own behavior and character.
Forgive like you would a stranger.
Don't stir the stew. When I was a kid there was
overflowed at our house at the Jersey shore. When
it was dug up I was
overcome by curiosity. I got the longest stick I
could find and then I
stirred it up a bit. Soon I was overcome by the
smell. It's like that
with people who are possessed by this character
flaw. You could try
debating the person who is blaming you, but most
of the time it is not
about being right or wrong, it is about some
other need, so why bother.
It is better to ...
Practice acceptance. Practicing acceptance
requires an attitude that
says in effect, "I will try to see how the
human soul is operating
through this character flaw of Blame and
Resentment." The human soul
operates even when we are using defenses that
seem base and crude.
Blame and Resentment implies that there is still
some work to be done.
Practicing acceptance appears to be harder than
it is. Sometimes all it
takes is listening for a few more minutes trying
to view it from the
other person's perspective. In the long run it is
the path of least
resistance and is the more spiritually correct
one. Over the short haul
it is much easier to practice irritability and
blamers. It is more exciting and dramatic to
indignation with people who inflict seething
Practice accountability. More importantly you
need to set up
accountability methods that work. Before holding
make sure you specifically define the behavior in
that means a chore list for your children. Or it
may mean a phone log
at work for your sales people.
Know each other's Rules. In relationships make
sure that both sides
understand the rules to be followed. It sometimes
is as simple as one
side believing she "must be faithful"
and the other side believing he
"should be faithful." When the rules
are different, the behaviors that
break the rules are different. Thus we argue and
Recognize what is and isn't your responsibility.
If your rules or
guidelines are set and the blame comes flying at
you, stop and decide
whether it is your responsibility or not. I
personally feel that the
best way to short circuit someone who blames you
is to quickly accept
the responsibility for your part in it. Then move
on. Most of the time
the person who is not possessed by the flaw will
move on. If they want
to whine and complain or continue to rant and
rave, you are dealing with
a person who is stuck. They believe they have
something to gain. If
not they wouldn't be stuck. Whatever it is they
believe they deserve,
it probably isn't your duty to give it to them
You need to move on too
but refusing to argue. A word of caution. Don't
responsibility for something you didn't do. That
would be dishonest.
It may be grandiose as well or you may be setting
yourself up as a
Focus on your own behavior and character. If you
do have some
responsibility in the situation, focus on your
own behavior and your own
character. All too often a couple will argue
about something until one
of them accepts some responsibility, then the
blame shifts. Now the
person tries to get the other to accept
responsibility too. The implied
message is, "I'm a morally superior,
enlightened, in tune and karmically
aligned dude." or, "I'm a Christian who
really practices his faith. Be
like me, admit you're wrong too".
Next this modern day psycho-babbling couple
blames and judges each
other. They feel morally superior and guilty at
the same time. That
has to be better than just plain guilty, right?
It's not better, just
more complicated. It's blame masquerading as
Forgive like you would a stranger. Remember what
the psychiatrist in
the hospital told me, it is easier to forgive a
stranger. How do you do
that with someone you have a long relationship
with? First of all you
have to unstack the hurt. Focus only on the one
incident that just
occurred. Unstacking the piles of garbage and
focusing on the present
moment is crucial.
We forgive strangers more easily, because we try
not to attribute
malicious motives to their behavior. We cut them
a break in our own
minds. You need to do the same thing with someone
you love. Look for a
motive that is self serving and related to fear.
They wouldn't attack
if they weren't afraid of something. The people
in your life who do
stupid things, and that may be everybody, need to
be held accountable.
They don't need hatred or resentment. They need
Forgiveness has another advantage. Generally
there is a thread of truth
running through your stacked hurts. Those painful
incidences that are
the basis of your resentments are glued together.
The glue that holds
them together is you personal power. The more
resentments you have, the
more glue you are using to hold all that crap
together. That means that
your personal power is being sapped with each
resentment. Why bother to
change? A Flood of Prosperity & Success!
Of all the character flaws, blaming is most
intimately related to the
issue of prosperity and success. More often than
not when you release
the right to blame others something dramatic
occurs. You become more
successful. I know it sounds strange, but I have
seen it so often. The
key to greater abundance and prosperity is often
held in our ability to
be accountable. The only thing standing between
most of us and being
accountable is the desire to blame others. When
it goes, then all the
excuses go. You've made room for abundance.
One of my patients who was an old recovering
alcoholic, had an approach
to getting rid of resentments that was very
practical. Treat it like
your hair. Keep cutting it back until it all
falls out. I think it was
a good simile for him because he was bald. For
most of us it is like
shaving. Don't you ladies feel more beautiful
after your legs are
Unless you get rid of the resentment completely,
it will grow back again
and again. That's not bad or good, just human
nature. So shave it when
it surfaces. And keep at it. Sometimes we gain
insights that allow us
to release the resentment completely. That's a
noble goal. I recommend
it, but I realize it's more likely that you will
have to start over
everyday like the rest of us mere mortals.
It's also worth it to stop blaming because of
what resentment does to
your future. There is a simple process that I
used with some patients.
We would visualize the time line. That is a
cluster of images of how
you view your past, present and future. Usually
the future is in a line
running from you out to the front or off to the
side. The close images
are the near future and the farther images are
the distant future.
Here is what we would do. We would create
forgiveness in the past and
then have it run through the time line. All the
future images would get
brighter and more exciting. That's what happens
to the rest of your
life when you let go of blame. It gets brighter
and more exciting.
How to shave blame and unglue resentments.
I wish this was easy. It is simple to do. It just
has to be done
constantly. Since character flaws are easier and
more convenient than
virtues, it may take a while for you to get the
hang of this. It's like
shaving. You do it quite easily now, but in the
beginning it was more
You have to work on blame and resentment every
time it shows up. As
soon as you start to focus on the other person,
stop and admit you're
blaming. Responsibility is the main issue. You
need to focus on what
your responsibility is. Be accountable for what
you have done. Focus
only on your own part in the problem, unless the
other person asks you
to point out what is wrong. Then use the rule of
three. I have a rule
that I use in my non professional relationships.
I don't give people my
opinion of their behavior unless they ask for it.
When they ask for it
three times, I give it to them.
It is better to focus on your side of the blame,
and treat the other
person as blameless for the time being. That will
keep you focused on
your own stuff. After all I hope your reading
this for you and not so
that you can fix someone else in your life.
If you break down the release of Blame and
Resentment you will find that
forgiveness is the key.
Stay with the individual incident
praise others and stop seeking approval.
focus on your own character.
practice charity and forgiveness
Every time you hear yourself whining and blaming
someone for what went
wrong, step back and look at yourself. Stay with
the individual episode
of resentment. Unstack the old hurts unless they
are useful for
protection. Most of the time they aren't,
regardless of how you try to
justify it. Take your power pack and deal with
the individual episode.
That will reduce resentment to blame. It is
easier to deal with blame,
because you can then focus on yourself. Next
separate the person you
blamed from their behavior. Keep the "who
they are" and "what they did"
separate. That will make it easier for you to
deal with your blame.
Listen to the tones behind blame and resentment.
As soon as you
recognize how you do it, your whining can be a
trigger to praise others
and stop seeking recognition.
When I taught medical students how to interview,
I would not let them
criticize their fellows. I used to make them
point out what was done
right. They all knew where and how they had
messed up. They needed to
know what they were doing right to get
comfortable with the process. If
you are a blamer then you don't naturally point
out what is going right,
but look for what is going wrong. Change that
today. It will shock
your friends and associates.
Focus on your own character. Chances are you are
trying to feel
righteous by holding resentment. Clearly it
doesn't work, so stop
scapegoating and look for things that you can
change in you. Remember,
Stop judging others. Practice charity or love and
forgiveness. We had
a drill that we did in group. We would take the
wholesome quality, in
this case Acceptance and Forgiveness which are
the opposite of Blame
and Resentment. We worked on identifying so
totally with the virtue
that we would not just have it, we would be it.
In other words we
wouldn't seek so much to forgive as to be
In the end resentment and blame leave only when
we are forgiveness,
rather than are trying to forgive. It is a great
leap for some, but it
is so totally empowering that I recommend trying
to be forgiveness until
you get. Even if you temporarily fail at it you
will have done a lot
An elderly women said to me after the funeral of
her husband, "Most
resentments are worth a hill of beans in the long
run. All the things I
blamed him for and resented were a waste of
time." Don't wait for
someone to die to figure that out. This is a
character defect that will
die if you don't nourish it. First resentment
goes and then even
blame. My patient had spent a lot of her life
hating some of the things
he had done. She finally got to the point where
she looked at his soul
as unblemished spirit. He didn't change.
Honestly, all he did was
die. She changed. She became forgiveness itself.
Most people are simply too afraid to accept
themselves. You have to be full of humility to
notice the good in
others. It takes great faith in human goodness to
do that. Instead of
having faith in human goodness and being humble,
we use the next
character flaw, Worry and allow it to expand into