How's your Blame Game skills these days?
Ahhhh yes, The Blame Game. I'm well acquainted with this party trick, for sure!
It’s typically the very first thing we go to, in the heat of the moment, when we are hurt and angry. Which is actually completely normal. When someone feels victimized, when we are hurt, we naturally focus our attention on the person, place or thing that has hurt us.
If I am burned by the stove, after whelping a very loud ouch or, in my case, most likely a high volume expletive, my eyes will go to, the stove! If, on hearing me scream out, you come running into the kitchen and ask, ‘What happened?’, I will point at the stove!
If we further unpick this analogy, we realize that the stove didn’t burn me. I burned myself on the stove. I got too close to something hot, I was careless, doing too many things at once, the stove, of course, did not leap across the kitchen and burn me!
So when we are hurt by our partners, whether that harm is real or perceived, intentional or unintentional, the finger will naturally rise and point at them.
The Blame Game, is when we never stop to unpick our part.
The Blame Game is when we are always carrying around with us, all the things they have done, to cause us harm.
The Blame Game is when we decide unequivocally, that the problems and failings in our partnerships, are completely (or most often) their fault.
I know what you’re thinking… BUT JESSICA, IT IS THEIR FAULT!!!
Yes, sometimes the blame is absolutely, justified and pointed in the right place!
Here’s the thing;
THE BLAME GAME, IS A LOSING GAME.
If you want to change the communication in your partnership, and start to garner some truly effective transformation in how you express and then get your needs met… The Blame Game MUST go!
Here’s some tips on doing just that;
- Never make your partner feel selfish, inadequate or incompetent. Effective communication will dissolve if we focus on pointing out the other persons shortcomings. Any human being’s natural reaction will be to go on the defensive AND/OR to be demobilized by shame.
- Find a time to have the discussion when you are calm. Attempting to have effective communication when emotions are running high, especially anger is a contradiction in terms. When we are angry or hurt, most of us will immediately pick up the blame game. Again, that’s normal to do so, it’s just not okay to try and communicate effectively when we are in that place. Take a walk to cool off OR Set a day and time, in advance, with your partner to discuss what happened. This allows both of you time to cool, to prepare mentally AND no one ever feels like they walked into an ambush.
- How things sound in our head and how they sound in reality, can be very different. Especially when we are hurt or angry. Speaking to one or two trusted friends or a coach/therapist can help us ratify our thinking and shift away from the blame game, BEFORE we speak without partners.