Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Blame Game

The Blame Game
Adam must have an Eve, to blame for his own faults.
German Proverb

Blame is the lazy man’s wages.
Danish Proverb

People who blame others have perfected the art of ‘scapegoating’. Deep inside they believe that they are above reproach and they will lash out at anybody who criticises them and they’ll sacrifice whoever or whatever who tries to dent their self-image. They might tell you that they only did it for your own good, or they were trying to help or save you from yourself. The worst part, is that they get indignant when you don’t show proper thanks for what they did.
Blame is just a defense mechanism. The pain each person feels is real to them, and it’s often very painful to take responsibility for something that goes wrong or doesn’t work out. The only way out of playing the Blame Game, is to change your thinking and start taking responsibility for your actions, accept your past and learn to forgive others. It’s no good holding onto past hurts and using them as convenient excuses from time to time.
It is completely normal for someone with lots of fears, to believe that everything they feel is somebody else’s fault. We don’t want to take responsibility for our own fears. The Blame Game really gets into a higher gear, when each partner starts blaming the other for everything wrong in their lives. Their relationship becomes like a war zone, with each one sniping at the other. “I had a bad childhood, so I can’t help the way I am. If you were more understanding about that, then you wouldn’t force me to behave badly!”
That often results in the other partner sniping back, “Your bad behaviour has caused me to feel badly about myself and to think I’m worthless. Therefore, I’m too scared to think for myself and that’s your fault!” Of course in reality, the language they use might not be as savory as the language I used. Regardless of that, you cannot win in the Blame Game. Resentment, fear, anxiety, loss of self-esteem, anger – are all by-products of this game.
People who rush into rebound relationships after a break-up, are also playing the Blame Game. This isn’t really fair on the new partner who is usually an innocent Victim in the Game. Rebound relationships are just the hurt partner’s way of saying, “I wasn’t at fault for the break-up. Look, someone else wants me now. I am lovable and desirable after all, so the fact the relationship didn’t work out has got to be all your fault!”
That’s the beauty of always blaming others, we just blame everything bad that happens on someone else. That way we stay perfect because it’s never our fault. My youngest daughter is already a good player of this Game. A good example, and one that seems to happen quite often, is her bringing me a mug of coffee she made for me. My son, as usual, will be clowning around in the room. She’ll look at him and spill some coffee on the floor. Immediately, before anybody can even say anything, she’ll start shouting at him for making her spill the coffee. How did he do that? He was on the other side of the room at the time! My daughter’ll tell you, that he made her look at him, so therefore her spilling the coffee is solely his fault. She’s very clever. If she does something wrong, she’ll always react immediately with anger at all and sundry. She gets in first with the angry outburst, blaming others at the top of her voice, and that serves to take the attention away from what she did wrong. Unfortunately for her, we are all on to her, so she doesn’t get away with the Game she’s playing. Hopefully, she’ll eventually realise her strategy doesn’t work and will start accepting the responsibility for the things she does. At the moment though, her Blame Game is all about – ‘Look what you made me do!’
Other people are just as cunning, if not more. Steve used to push my friend Angela’s buttons, until she couldn’t take it anymore, so she would react emotionally, often with a huge outburst. His instigating, button-pushing and winding her up would be so subtle, that other people around her wouldn’t notice it. They would, however, notice Angela’s reaction, and they would sympathise with Steve for having such an ‘out-of-control’ wife. Steve would then have an excuse to physically ‘restrain’ Angela, as he was ‘worried’ she might harm herself. The sad thing, was that everybody agreed that the bruises Angela got every time Steve had to restrain her, was her fault. Even a therapist they saw, said that as long as Steve’s actions continued to arise out of good intentions, then it was okay! Steve managed to blame Angela for his bad behaviour, and he’s still getting away with it!
You have to remember, that people abuse or use you because there is something wrong with them. You haven’t done or said anything wrong – the problem lies with them. Basically, they have a low self-esteem. They don’t like themselves, and rather than trying to change what they don’t like, they make others take the responsibility for their behaviour when they lay the blame on them. Deep down, they know you don’t deserve it, so they hate themselves all the more for hurting you, so it’s all your fault that you make them hate themselves – it’s just a vicious cycle they can’t seem to break. Eventually over a period of time, they actually start believing it is all your fault, because that makes them feel as if they haven’t done anything wrong. You can’t try and explain things to them, or lay a guilt trip on them. In their eyes, they have done no wrong, so you are just wasting your breath.
Often, we blame others for holding us back. We might say, “If it weren’t for you …” or “If I didn’t have children, I would…” We use other people as a convenient excuse to avoid doing something. It’s easier to just give up, avoid taking that risk or making that decision, and putting the blame squarely on someone else.
A great example of this is Jason. (The poor man must surely be feeling his ears burning by now.) I can remember Jason wanting to buy a Mercedes Benz. As I was the only one bringing in an income, I told him we couldn’t afford it and had no need for it. Our Volkswagen was just fine for our family. Jason refused to accept the fact that we just could not afford a Mercedes. He tried many strategies to persuade me to let him trade in my Volkswagen for that Mercedes. First, he would introduce the fact that he just ‘happened to drive past the car yard and the Mercedes was still there – unsold, must be a sign’ into every conversation. When that didn’t pique my interest, I would have to hear how they let him take it for a test drive and it had the quietest motor ever. He went on and on about the Mercedes, and what a great deal they offered him on it. I stayed firm and held on to my “No, we can’t afford it.” When these tactics failed, the Blame Game started in all seriousness.
“You don’t want me to succeed in my life. You don’t want me to have anything better than you. You always have to be the best. You have to always be in control and the only successful member of the family. I could have been somebody if it wasn’t for you always holding me back to make you look good!” This was often accompanied by temper tantrums and things been thrown around and a helluva lot of swearing. At me naturally, because I was the bad person here. I took all of that blame and abuse, because I knew that we just could not afford that car.
His next attack, was that the reason he couldn’t sell any offshore investments and get commission so he could contribute to the family table, was because he didn’t drive a car befitting a successful businessman. His logic was, that if he drove around in a Mercedes, then people would see that he was successful, so then they would do business with him. Therefore, it was my fault that he didn’t contribute to the family income, as I wouldn’t let him drive a car befitting a successful businessman.
Then he changed tack. He told me that he hadn’t wanted to alarm me, or cause me worry, but the cylinder head in the Volkswagen had a huge crack in it, and he was expecting the engine to seize or the car to conk out and give up the ghost at any time. Not being a Petrolhead, I didn’t know what to look for in the engine to see whether or not he was telling the truth. I suspected that his story was all bullshit, but by this time I was so tired and exasperated with the whole car saga, that like a dumb mug, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and….yes. I relented.
Jason never explained the details of the great deal he had organised, to me and I stupidly assumed it was just the normal kind of Hire Purchase deal he had arranged. Well, what eventually came out, was that he used my Volkswagen as a deposit, and told them that he was a high earner and would pay 10 000 the one month and 15 000 the next. Just for the record, I was only earning 2 500 a month at the time! Needless to say, he never paid them a cent bar the initial deposit with my car as trade-in, and they repossessed the Mercedes the third month that he had it. My Volkswagen that was used as a deposit was lost in the deal that never was, and we were completely carless. The final straw, was when Jason turned to me after they took the car away, and said, “This is all your fault. If you had had the balls to stand up to me and say no, then this wouldn’t have happened!”
I have to say, that sometimes I think you can’t win. It’s like – you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. As you can well imagine, this little incident wasn’t very good for our marriage at all. Things got worse when I came home with a car I bought from a tax refund. Jason’s reaction was the classic, “Well what can I say? You are a better man than I’ll ever be!”
Serial Cheaters and Blame
Serial Cheaters thrive on playing the Blame Game. It gives them a reason to do what they’re doing, so it gets them ‘off the hook’. Because you do realise, that they’ll believe that what they’re doing is never their fault. They don’t get enough sex or attention at home, so they are ‘forced’ to go out elsewhere and find it. It’s not their fault they are forced to cheat! So the moral of the story is, don’t kill yourself trying to make someone happy who keeps finding ways to lay all the blame on you when they cheat. The same as, if you decide to stay with them and keep giving them chance after chance, then that is a choice you’ve made, and you can’t one day turn around and blame anyone for the choices you made. How often do you hear from friends, “I only stayed with him/her for the sake of the children.” What utter bullshit! How dare you blame the children, for you staying in a loveless unhappy relationship! You only stay in that relationship, because you are too scared to leave for whatever reason. The children are just an excuse, because reality shows that children adapt easily and are far happier in a loving happy home, than a home with unconcealed anger and resentment bouncing off the walls in every room. Children are not stupid just because they are young. No matter how hard their parents might try to disguise and hide their relationship problems, children always sense when things aren’t right and are very aware of what is going on.
Cheaters are quite predictable, because if they have done it more than once in the past, they’ll continue to do it in the future. Don’t ignore it and just hope that things will work out. Be honest, tell them what you don’t like and if they aren’t prepared to fix it, then you have to decide if you can live with it or not. If living with it makes you desperately unhappy, then move on. Remember, fix the problem and not the blame.
When you fall in love with an idea
Martin was devastated when he came home early one day, and found Cathy in bed with another man. He felt no less devastated, when he caught her a second time and then a third. Cathy blamed him for her infidelities. It was his fault because he was often too tired to pay her the attention she needed because he worked so hard. Martin started watching Cathy like a hawk, coming home at odd times, phoning to check she was home and alone. Cathy started accusing Martin of being a control-freak and would lose her rag and stomp out of the room when he questioned her about her activities. She told Martin he was being paranoid whenever he asked her if she still saw other men. Eventually, Cathy started getting aggressive and would pick up objects and throw them at Martin, or throw them at windows and break them. Martin started getting nervous and stopped asking Cathy questions, as he was scared of upsetting her and putting her in an aggressive mood. He started to believe that he was guilty of wrecking the relationship. Months of constantly being told his paranoia and being overly sensitive was going to push her into relationships with other men if he didn’t drop it, finally took their toll. Martin ended the relationship.
Martin realised that he fell in love with an idea – a fantasy that was backed up by things Cathy had promised initially. When Cathy’s actions contradicted his fantasy, he would start questioning her and that would lead to both parties playing the Blame Game. Paranoia and blame became the pattern of their relationship. Martin missed what he wanted to have in the relationship – the idea, his fantasy – what he kept hanging in there for and never had. Now, Martin has problems dealing with the demise of their relationship, because Cathy never took responsibility for her actions, and always put the blame for everything solely on Martin’s shoulders.
It’s amazing how constant blame can eat into our self-esteem, until we actually believe that we are responsible. Recognise blame for what it is and stop taking responsibility for others’ actions. When you stick to your guns and keep to your limits, you can be accused of being vindictive. So what? That is their problem, not yours.
Dishabiliophobia- Fear of undressing in front of someone.
Excerpt from my book, Fear, Phobias and frozen Feet.
Read my article on Common mistakes men make during sex

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