Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What is the "Blame Game"?

Many couples play the "blame game." For example the husband may "blame" his wife for not having the house clean. She retaliates by "blaming" him for not spending time with the children and for not earning enough money. And the "fight" escalates. This is typical of what happens when we blame or criticize others.
We blame others when we are angry or hurt or feel criticized for something ourselves.  The person we blame often becomes defensive or retaliates with a criticism. For many of us blame is our first line of defense against attack. Animals attack when their territory is threatened or invaded. Similarly, we humans attack when we think our "territory" is in danger. The problem is, our territory is much more complicated than the simple geographic territory of animals. 
We may blame others when we're tried or stressed or when they don't live up to our expectations or do things our way.  In the example above the wife did not keep the house as clean as her husband expected.  We also blame others when underneath we are hurting. For example, the criticism of the wife in the example above may have come at the end of the day, just as the husband returned from work. I wonder what he brought home with him. Did someone at work criticize him?

In order to stop the blame game you will need to make a firm decision to do so. This will involve catching yourself whenever you become critical of your partner and checking inwardly to find out what you're feeling, thinking or expecting. It will take practice and determination to change.
Think about the reasons for your reactions. At times you will recognize that your criticism or anger is a childish response that stems from old issues having nothing to do with your partner. Or you will realize that your anger comes from current issues that have nothing to do with your partner. You may also realize that what the other person did was accidental. Occasionally you will need to confront your partner. It's best to postpone this to a time when you both are alone and rested. Some times you will decide to tell your partner right on the spot. 
When you think it is appropriate to confront, use "I" statements and acknowledge your own feelings or thoughts. For example, "I'm very angry that the house isn't clean because I thought you had agreed to have it ready for my meeting here tonight." Listen carefully to your partner’s response. If he or she becomes defensive don't get drawn into blaming. Instead, focus on solving the immediate problem of how to get the house ready for your meeting.

“Stop criticizing others, or it will come back on you.” Luke 6:37 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

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