Wednesday, June 3, 2015

It's Your Fault! Probably. Unless it's mine. (Stop the blame game.)

I am a blamer. Ugh, I hate that about myself. But it's true. Often if something goes missing, or is left open, or is otherwise troublesome, I immediately begin placing blame in my mind. The only thing that saves my poor family (the most frequent recipients of my blame) is that they are usually at work and school, while I am at home frustrated about whatever it is.

It's easy to blame my husband and teenager. Ugh, that's a horrible thing to say!

I sometimes refer to my teenager as a hurricane because you can see the trail left wherever he's been: shoes in the middle of the foyer, cup cabinet left open, chip bag on the counter, abandoned drink in the living room, game controller on the couch, clothes... everywhere.

My husband has been known to grab whatever phone charging cord he can find before heading off to work (even if it is mine) and he has left without his wallet frequently enough that I've considered getting one of those chains to hook it to him.

So if something is missing or out of place, surely one of those two are responsible. It couldn't possibly be me.

Except many times it is.

Last week I was looking for the checkbook which is always in my desk drawer. Someone was on our porch awaiting payment as I buzzed around looking for it. When I couldn't find it anywhere, I apologized profusely and asked if he could come back. Fortunately this person is a friend and was willing to do so.

I remembered writing a check for the teenager's prom bus the week prior and, of course, my mind latched right on to, "Well, maybe it's his fault." Then I called my husband because, "maybe he knows where it is." But even in the minute these thoughts passed through my head, I remembered having the checkbook out to pay for driveway sealing a few days prior, and again for a few bills.

Hours later I found the checkbook. In my purse. No one to blame but me. (Not that it stopped me from trying.)

This blaming pattern is something I recently recognized in myself. I am trying to be more cognizant of it. When I catch myself blaming, I acknowledge that is what I'm doing and instead try to focus on facts. What do I know for sure about the situation?

In the case of the missing checkbook, I was able to catch my blaming tendency within a couple minutes. Then I changed my thought process and granted my family innocence.

In the future I hope to break this pattern and begin with granting them innocence.

Brene Brown (vulnerability researcher) spoke about blame and illustrator Katy Davis... um... illustrated it. Below is the video. Watch, laugh, and stop blaming your loved ones.


Brené Brown on Blame from The RSA on Vimeo.

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