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Centerpointe Research

Blame

Shame & Blame! How to Play The Game And Not Be Played!

How many of us do not know how to play the game of shame and blame?  Many of us.  We can easily be used to feel at fault for somebody else’s action.  To them, it is a game to easily revert the responsibility for something that they could get caught for doing to you.  Or vice versus.  They could also make you feel bad for them when they have gotten caught doing something that they want you to perceive as really doing something good.

Blame is when the responsibility for doing something bad is attributed to someone and then because of this, they should feel ashamed for having done something.  This can be “tricky” when it involves you and you don’t know what is going on.  It is the “do-gooders” that can be easily be caused to feel ashamed.  The “bad people” often use this trick with “do-gooders” and they don’t even know it.  ” They are too busy apologizing and attempting to rectify their “mistake”.

When feeling ashamed whether they should or not, people try to forget the act related to having felt ashamed (which is sometimes called repression) or hide it (see https://myeverydaypsychology.com/hiding-shame-based-interactions/) or they get mad and attack the person making the claim mentally or physically or they accept the blame or some of the blame and “feel down” about what they did or did not do.  These are SHAME SHIELDS, presented by Brene Brown,  Ph.D. in a free continuing education seminar, “On The Armour, We Use To Protect Ourselves And Why It Doesn’t Serve Us”.

Children are not pawns.  Their needs are! more important than yours.  Unless you are prepared to give instead of receive, probably you should not have children.  You need to put their needs before yours, even if you are inconvenienced, have to make some sacrifices, and don’t immediately get reinforced.  Done right, it pays off in the long run with children who have good values shown by the ability in most situations to support themselves, raise good children (if they have them), and being able at some point in their lives be able to thank you for doing this.

On the one hand, she might have a good reason, on the other hand…

Often the first move of these people is to blame you or others instead of themselves for the thing they have done or for something you actually might think you have done in order to deflect responsibility for their own behavior.  This person can often get mad very quickly before you or their victim can have time to think and can be made to go on the defensive.  This deflects or reflects the responsibility from themselves to you or to someone else.  They are often very good at this so don’t be fools and see the blame as being on you or someone else instead of them.

Have you ever lost an argument this way?  Or have you ever won an argument this way?  This generally leads to mass confusion on somebody’s part and on the part of some people who hear about this agreement.  The feeling of shame usually immediately follows and can last for days, months, and even years.  I had a stepsister-in-law who was an alcoholic and called up her mother when drunk to blame her for all the things that had happened to her because of her own behavior, not really her mom’s behavior.

Sometimes she looked like this to me.

She browbeat this woman for things she couldn’t control like this woman’s husband deserting her with three kids to support and raise in the Depression.  This woman was so good at transferring the blame that she was lethal and our children were not left alone with her unless a responsible adult was also there.  Even then, they didn’t need to hear the things she had to say so they were kept away from her as much as possible.  She could also play the game of feeling “hurt” when this became obvious.  P.S. Occasionally she handmade some dolls for our children and they still have them so it wasn’t all negative

Shame can be an immediate feeling of feeling bad from one part of the brain, the amygdala

which responds quickly, without thinking, like this cat with road rage.

It is responsible for emergency bodily responses and probably responds before a person has time to reach the part of the brain that wonders why they feel bad (or good).  Remember the times that you thought you didn’t have time to think and just responded.  I am not chastising you for feeling immediate shock or grief in certain tragic situations.  Sometimes feelings are part of a bodily response that enables you to respond quickly in an emergency.

Have you ever been played like a piano in one of these situations where “shame” or “blame” comes into play?  Sometimes someone else does it and sometimes you do it to yourself often based on old scripts in your mind based on past experiences.  My script is that I have done something wrong that I didn’t know was wrong at the time.  It could be something “stupid” or “thoughtless” or something that a person got really mad about although I couldn’t have done anything about it at the time.

People can thoughtlessly ruin relationships in this way.  Maybe they think that they are in competition with someone like me for the desired person’s love or loyalty.  I can feel really guilty at the time and grieve for the loss of a crucial relationship apparently someone else coveted.  I can not help but think the person involved with my friend never knew and/or felt that she had done this and was to some part responsible for my loss and my friend’s loss too.  (This is also a form of drama and  I have written about this elsewhere in my blog.  See also a book by Doreen Virtue, Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle: How to Break Free of Negativity and Drama, ( A writer who writes about things like drama in a way that is easily understood and covers a lot of material about the subject.  (See also one she has written one eating disorders, The Yo-Yo Diet Syndrome:  How to Heal and Stabilize Your Appetite and Weight)  As with many good writers you may not be drawn to everything she writes but also she writes on other subjects that could be of personal interest to you.  See also, The Courage To Be Creative: How to Believe in Yourself, Your Dreams, and Ideas, and Your Creative Career Path by Doreen Virtue.  The content of which seems to parallel the origins of my interests in writing.  Both by Doreen Virtue at Hay House publishers.

Guilt And How It Sidetracks Forgiveness

Forgiveness Mandala by Wayne Stratz

Forgiveness Mandala by Wayne Stratz (Photo credit: Nutmeg Designs)

Did you ever think about how guilt sidetracks you and keeps you from forgiving yourself?  Many people have difficulty forgiving themselves if they feel guilty about something.  This can be a tremendous burden to bear and it prevents many people from letting go and moving on.  Many people feel that in order to be forgiven that the slate must be wiped clean and the alleged transaction forgotten.  If they can’t forgive themselves and forget, why should anybody else forgive them?

For some people to admit that they might have done something wrong destroys their self-esteem and makes them feel valueless.  They are their own worst critics and to say that they did something wrong can be self-destructive.  Having done a lot of psychotherapy in my life and having been in psychotherapy, the things that are the hardest to admit are the things that we can’t stop feeling guilty about.  Often therapy reaches a stumbling block when one of these issues needs to be brought up.

Sometimes people admit that they secretly are their own worst critics.  Then it follows that if they beat themselves up about something, that other people should tell them that what they did was not so bad after all.  When this isn’t true, therapy often can’t move forwards.  The pain of the self-remorse is so great that they feel that no one would ask them to take the next step forward and say that what they did, thought, or said was egregious.  They think how can anybody love me if I did that if I can’t forgive and love myself?

What is worst is that sometimes in order unconsciously to prove that what they did was not that bad, they continue to do it.  Thereby burying themselves deeper and deeper in the morass of guilt and self-blame.  Take sexual harassment for example, the person involved can’t conceive of themself as a careless cad so they don’t change their behavior.  It was just a joke or something that all girls ask for by their behavior or form of dress.  They don’t realize that the buck stops with themselves no matter who the other person is or what the other person does.  Anyway it is just their perception of the other person that they are responding to and it may actually be schewed.

There is no one here on earth (except Christ, who is here only in spirit, but not in the flesh like the rest of us) who is blameless and self-sacrificing.  Mother Teresa admitted to faults and she was always working on them.  I am sure Pope Francis would say something much the same.

The key to changing this behavior is forgiving yourself and once this is done the repetition compulsion loses it’s steam.   This also makes it easier to forgive others when you realize that in some ways you are no different from them.  In Christianity, God offers forgiveness for people’s sins but often people don’t accept it because that would involve admitting that they really did something wrong.  Forgiveness is free; accepting it is personal choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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