Blame: Relationship Killer!

Blame: Love Goes Astray

Arguably one of the most destructive forces in a relationship is BLAME.

The problem with blame is that it projects negative energy and intent at our loved one.

Blame rarely seeks to understand or empathize or reach out in compassion.

It is most likened to this familiar phrase:

The best defense is a good offense!

Why Do We Blame Then?

There can be many reasons for why we blame.

Some of them probably originate in our earlier years, when we were probably made to pay a high price for telling the truth by our parents.

You stepped forward and answered a question honestly when asked, and the result may have been that you were grounded for 2 weeks!

The lesson most of us learn from that is: there is a price to be paid for telling the truth.

That is highly unfortunate when children grow up learning that it is unsafe to tell the truth. Perhaps we as adults can make it safer for children to tell the truth, and make these occasions more about opportunities to learn, and less about being punished?

Lack of Responsibility

A failure or an inability to look within at our possible role in the event or outcome.

A strong fear that we may be accused of something, and be unwilling or unable to be strong enough to deal with the scrutiny that it may involve, may also lead us to blame others, if only to redirect attention away from ourselves.

A basic not owning up to our role in things.

Not owning up to our responsibilities

The Net Effect Of Blame

Here are some possible results of using blame in our communication and conflict resolution strategies:

  • what good energy may be present becomes tainted
  • people may lose respect for us
  • they may not count on us in the future
  • we may lose out on opportunities because we are deemed unreliable
  • we may initiate conflict with others by casting blame upon them
  • and worse, people may start to avoid us

In summary, the short-term focus of using blame as a way out of a difficult position may prove helpful in the short run, but in the long run the possible damage to our reputation and relationships may be incalculable!

We may be way ahead over the long haul by owning up to our actions and possible mistakes. By adopting a more lenient style with ourselves, we may also come to do so with others, and also end up fostering a more forgiving learning culture around ourselves.

Just as an aside, I remember some time ago reading about the differences in worker suggestion rates amongst American and Japanese workers. I was startled and yet not quite surprised that the average American worker submitted on average 2 suggestions per year, while the typical Japanese worker submitted in excess of 65 suggestions!

We know what has happened to the American automobile industry over the last few decades. When faced with competition from overseas manufacturers, did they tackle them head on and own up to the poor quality of their product, or “blame” the foreign manufacturers for competing unfairly and imposing tariffs?

I think we know how that one worked out. In the end, consumers voted with their dollars and purchased more reliable, higher quality import cars.

So in the end, we can decide to “blame”, and we can probably decide to keep on blaming until the cows come home, or perhaps we can listen to others in our life with open ears and open minds, and see whether we do share in some sort of accountability for what we have done.

The choice as always is up to us!

Note: If you would like to read up more on how to “stop blaming” in your relationship. Here is a book that I would highly recommend. It is a very helpful and fun read Stop Blaming Start Loving



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About Ron Lafleur

I am a counsellor in private practice specializing in couples therapy.

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