How blame evolves
“Mistakes fail in their mission of helping the person who blames them on the other fellow.” ~Henry S. Haskins
Cast your mind back to when either you were a toddler (if you can remember those days) or your own child was toddling. When a child trips over a toy, falls and cries, a common reaction from the parent is to run to the child’s assistance and turn to the toy and say “naughty toy” and pretend to smack the toy. The child is taught that the toy is responsible for his feelings of pain and not that he himself had actually been responsible for tripping and hurting himself. Thus is sown a seed for blaming external circumstances and shifting responsibility for personal well-being.
What the parent should do is reflect understanding. In other words point to the afflicted area and affirm that it is sore, while comforting the child. The child then feels understood and as he matures can work out how to avoid repeating mistakes.
As we grow older, blaming others can arise from a fear of the consequences, especially when punitive measures are harsh or first time mistakes are not accepted and explained in the interests of learning.
Adopting or remaining in the habit of blaming others only serves to limit our capacity to learn from mistakes. If we fail to accept and take ownership of our actions, we fail to take responsibility for our lives and we relinquish our power.
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” ~Albert Ellis