What is blaming?
As long as we blame others for things that happened in the past, we can’t accept our part of the responsibility, and therefore no growth or change can occur.
Blaming others enables us to hold on to anger and resentments and to avoid having to change ourselves. It’s the way we shrug off responsibility for challenges in our lives. It’s easier for us to believe that other people, places, and things make us angry, than to take responsibility for our part in the situation.
If you have blamed others for what’s happened in your life, you have kept yourself from looking inward and choosing what you could do to change things. The guilt trips you laid on your spouse, parents, children, friends, and co-workers did nothing to really change the sadness, anger, and frustration you were feeling. All blaming did was to turn your fear of those emotions and direct it outward toward others.
When you blame other people for what happens in your life, you give your power to those people, because your feelings become the responsibility of someone else.
Many of us blame others because it allows us to operate from a morally superior position. In your life do you notice that you always have to be “right” while someone else has to be “wrong”? Do you dominate others because you fear that you will be dominated? Do you usually have ideas about how things should turn out? Have you already decided that the outcome you have in mind is the “good” outcome and that others’ ideas are “bad” or “wrong”? If the answer is yes, then you need to work on blaming and controlling behaviors.
How can you stop blaming?
The only way to get out of this trap is to stop blaming. Begin by refusing to let yourself turn your anger and fear outward. Don’t blame, accuse, or point fingers at others for your own frustrations and longings. Working to let go of blaming will take lots of discipline, effort, and practice, because years of old habits are hard to break. But once you start to identify your blaming behaviors, it will be easier for you to take a deep breath, to be present in the moment, and to realize that most of the complaints you have are in the past. They don’t need to hold you back from what you can achieve now.
Before you can truly accept that you are powerless against the disease of addiction, you need to remove blame from your thoughts, actions, attitudes, and communications. You can then look inward instead of outward for solutions. You can be responsible for your relationships with your friends and loved ones and with your Higher Power.
Recovery action Step
Let go of blaming others and start looking inward to take responsibility for your life. Start by using “I” instead of “you” or “we” when you share your thoughts, feelings, and intentions.
- Write down a brief description of times you blamed others for things that happened in your life.
- Looking inward, take responsibility for your own role in what happened. Write down what you could have done to accept and come to peace with the situation, or what positive action you could have taken to change it.
- Let your sponsor, recovery support group, friends, and family know that you are working to stop blaming others. Ask them to respectfully let you know when you fall back into blaming.