The Blame Game

Taking responsibility for yourself can be one of the scariest and yet most freeing things you can do for yourself, for your life and for others. By taking responsibility for your own thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions means that you are willing to grow up, admit and correct your mistakes and claim your life by standing on your own two feet. Pointing your fingers at another and blaming them for how you feel and your life’s circumstances is a great way of remaining emotionally stunted, potentially limited, depressed and miserable. Not only are you weighed down by continually wearing the victim chain mail, but you will always feel that you are at the mercy of life, as it seems life deals out nothing but one injustice after another! And that just isn’t true.

Instead of pointing your fingers at another, try looking inwards and see what is it within you that needs to project the blame onto someone or something else. By looking within you start to begin unravelling the hurt that has been suppressed for a long time and by doing so, you awaken to your true feelings and life begins to change. By blaming others you stay the same.

A simple example is where my son would catch his toes on the corner of his bed leg.  Every day he would kick his toe and every day he would yell out a mouthful of expletives to the illusory bed manufacturers in his room and tell them how ridiculous their bed design was. Then he would mumble to himself about the bed under his breath for the next half hour or so.

I listened to him do this for several weeks until I said to him that if he isn’t prepared to look at what is actually happening, ie what belief and emotions are causing his outbursts, then how about he do something different instead of wanting the bed leg to be different?

I said, “Why don’t you put some bubble wrap or foam around the bed leg, so when you kick it, it doesn’t hurt as much. Or how about you become more mindful? You know that you kick your toes on the bed leg every day, so you know where the bed leg is…so be mindful of that and step more carefully around it…wouldn’t that be more logical than blaming the bed designers and hoping to wake up one day to find the bed leg different or in a different place?! Wouldn’t this change the quality of your life?  No more being upset every day about a bed, as you can take responsibility of what happens and recognise that it is you, and not the bed, that has the problem!”

Why did he need to project and blame the bed and the bed manufacturer? Perhaps he didn’t want to feel the feelings that arose if he looked inwards and found a belief he had about himself.  Derogatory self beliefs hurt and if left uninvestigated will keep you crippled for life!  It could be the “I am stupid” belief, or “I am not good enough” or “shit always happens to me” belief.  Only he would know. But it certainly was an opportunity to investigate the validity of the belief and allow the feelings that arose with it, instead of running away from them and yelling at the bed instead.  By actually taking responsibility for his emotions, which really means caring for himself, the reactions would have started to change. By taking responsibility of, and for yourself, you can change patterns and not re-live life like Bill Murray did in the movie Groundhog Day!

This story may sound as if it is more about common sense, but it is a valid example. People blame others for their mood, emotions, life, state of mind and life. How can someone or something make you feel bad or sad or even happy for that matter?! You have a choice in this. Don’t look outward to place blame with someone or on something else.  What past event were you reminded of by the current event for those emotions and feelings to appear? Have a look within and find out what the belief is that was triggered that brought up those emotions and feelings. It will be a belief that you believe about yourself that has been triggered and has nothing to do with the other.

The serenity prayer is a good mantra to have.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. 

Co-dependency

Co-dependency by definition is a loss of self because you are too busy taking care of others as a means of seeking love and approval because you are afraid of being alone/lonely, abandoned and unloved, so you put up with unhealthy relationships to avoid it. If you find yourself constantly trying to please other people at the expense of your own preferences and needs, that is a symptom of co-dependency.

Some symptoms of co-dependency include:
• Approval seeking or people pleasing.
• Fear of being alone or abandoned.
• Feeling selfish, or guilty for not meeting the needs of others.
• Feeling not good enough, or “too much” or “too little.”
• Irritable when others don’t take your advice.
• Diminishing yourself in order to lift up others.
• Being everyone’s “go to” person.
• Getting caught in others’ trauma and drama.
• Rescuing or fixing others, to your demise.
• Giving ultimatums, or nagging to keep others out of trouble.
• Covering or taking a fall for others.
• Enduring unhealthy relationships to avoid loneliness.
• Giving of your finances and other resources to depletion.
• Having an addict, user, abuser, or narcissist in your life.
• Having self-limiting or self-sabotaging beliefs.
• Over-responsibility or doing more than your fair share.

Co-dependents find themselves in one-sided relationships as giving and receiving is not in balance due to their unhealthy means of seeking love and approval. A healthy relationship is based on a balance in giving and receiving which allows each to remain centred and respectful of their own needs as well as those of others. By creating one-sided relationships you are disabling yourself from your own authenticity and continue to enable others as you also deprive the person you are sheltering of the lessons they need to learn and grow. The truth is; you can only give so much for so long before you start suffering and need help yourself. Your approval seeking is actually an embedded fear of abandonment – of being alone/lonely and unloved somewhere in your subconscious but these fears can be transformed so that unhealthy relationships either become healthy and balanced, or they fall away.

Scapegoating

Mocking_Bird_Argument

Why do conflicts happen? One reason is scapegoating. You are having a chat with someone, be it partner, friend, mum, brother, TV technician or whomever and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. What was just a chat or discussion ends up being an argument as differing opinions and experiences have triggered something in the other (or you) and it is not going down too well.

Scapegoating is usually a subconscious reaction whereby the one who is being triggered turns the discussion around and makes it about the other in order to make themselves blameless so as not to burden themselves with the emotions, feelings and thoughts that are being triggered. It is a form of defense. They don’t want to feel the feelings and will do and say most anything in order not to do so.

Generally, the one who is being used as the scapegoat either defends themselves and argues back or they withdraw within themselves and become silent.  Either way they have taken on the scapegoaters intentions and have now taken on the burden of being the one who is feeling bruised and battered while the scapegoater feels justified in blaming the other for the argument and everything that ensued, including the fact that the other made them feel bad and yelled at them and therefore deserved to be told some home truths! They walk away not totally unscathed but much lighter as they dumped everything on the scapegoat leaving the scapegoat wondering what the hell happened and with a bag of mixed emotions and feelings to boot!

It can take time to see how this pattern plays out. If you find you are constantly getting angry and defending yourself or walking on eggshells with another or are at the end of blame and hearing how everything is your fault because you are faulty…then you are more than likely playing the role of the scapegoat.  The good thing with seeing the pattern play out is that you no longer have to engage in the game. If you find yourself defending yourself and making the other at fault by listing their faults and blaming them for whatever is going on…then you are playing the role of the scapegoater. We can also play both roles! Both roles are not only damaging to those playing the roles but are damaging to all relationships they have and only compound the idea of not mattering, feeling unacknowledged and unheard and being unlovable and lonely.

The scapegoater needs to become aware of how they handle differences, blame and conflict, while the scapegoat needs to set boundaries, and both need to learn how to acknowledge and feel their emotions fully to start to break the pattern of scapegoat and/or scapegoater.

 

 

Honouring Emotions

Avoiding Emotions99% of us are quite happy when ‘positive’ emotions appear but push away and suppress emotions such as anger, fear, frustration, confusion, unworthiness, rejection, jealousy and sadness as if they are something that aren’t part and parcel of the whole.

We try and keep negative emotions at arm’s length and try to avoid anything (eg conflict, setting boundaries, saying no) that may trigger them. Emotions are feared because of our own and other peoples judgements about them. We don’t want to acknowledge and honour our emotions as being a part of us as somehow acknowledging them makes us less than the ideal person, and if we don’t live up to being the ideal person then we will be unlikeable, invisible, ostracised, rejected, unlovable and lonely. We also fear feeling our emotions fully just in case we somehow get stuck in the middle of them forever and ever and we don’t come out through to the other side and. We also fear that by feeling them fully in the body will be so overwhelming that it may even obliterate us.

By acknowledging and honouring your emotions you are honouring the totality of what and who you are. It is the continued rejection of ‘bits and pieces’ that you are adverse to that keep pain and suffering in play.