When we Blame, we give our Power Away
- August 1, 2016
- Posted by: Reena Saxena
- Category: Behavior Management
Greg Anderson has put it so succinctly and beautifully in the above quote. And yet, do we really comprehend the depth of the sentence?
I came across a short story by Prashant Sharma on Quora.
A bus full of passengers was on its journey. Suddenly the weather changed and there was a huge downpour and lightning all around. The passengers saw that lightning appeared to strike their bus but then it moved ahead without hitting the bus.
After two or three such instances, the driver stopped the bus about fifty feet away from a tree and said –
“We have somebody in the bus whose death is a certainty today. Because of that person everybody else will also get killed. I want each person to go one-by-one and touch the tree trunk and come back. Whosoever’s death is certain will get caught by the lightning and will die. But everybody else will be saved”.
They had to force the first person to go and touch the tree and come back. He reluctantly got down from the bus and went and touched the tree. His heart leaped with joy when nothing happened and he was still alive.
This continued for the other passengers who were all relieved when they touched the tree and nothing happened.
When it was the last passenger’s turn, everybody looked at him with accusing eyes. This passenger was also very afraid and reluctant. Everybody forced him to get down and go and touch the tree.
With the fear of death, the last passenger walked to the tree and touched it.
There was a huge sound of thunder and the lightning struck the tree across the street, which fell on the bus, and killed each and every passenger inside the bus.
It was because of the presence of this last passenger that thus far, the entire bus was safe and lightning could not strike !
The Blamers’ Paradise
Why do we keep playing the Blame Game all our life?
1. The Parent inside us
All of us did not have a perfect pair of parents. Maybe, they blamed each other, and the neighbours, the in-laws, their bosses, the service guys and YOU.
Marriage and Motherhood were the causes for your mother’s not-so-illustrious career, and she wistfully watched her single or childless colleagues rise up the ladder. It was her call of nobility or sainthood to prioritize her family.
Your father slogged for 18 hours to provide for the family he chose to have.
Were you to be blamed for that? And yet, you felt guilty about being the cause of their discomfort, and pass it on to your spouse and children.
It is a transfer of guilt, that was never yours.
If I don’t slay the dragon, he will kill me. I have secured low marks in the examination. Immediately, I justify it with poor results of all my friends, the questions that were ‘out of the prescribed curriculum, my poor concentration after staying awake the previous night to study… or whatever our young, fertile imagination could cook up at that point of time.
Self-defence is an acceptable motive for an act, that would otherwise, be classified as a crime. As soon as I pass the buck, I create a safe zone around myself.
My parents, my boss and my friends have all done it at some point of time, and achieved success.
The cause of my addiction is ……. Stress, this setback or loss in life, my partner or my boss.
So, what is so wrong about it?
4. Expectation to be mirrored
And why can’t that other person be more like the ideal person called ‘me’? If the driver in the car ahead drives too slow, he is a moron. If he drives too fast, he is a maniac. A difference in lifestyle or a mind-set is almost never pardoned.
This is Narcissism at its harmful best.
5. Offence is the best defence
Victimization of the adversary is an oft-used strategy in organizations and politics. Blame him for something, and put him on the defensive. You have effectively taken the wind out of his sails, and prevented him from raising uncomfortable questions.
It is an imposed transfer of accountability.
6. Quest for sympathy
If there is a victim, there has to be a perpetrator of injustice. If I gain by playing the victim, I need to create a ‘villain of the piece’. This can be done by framing charges, making allegations, converting figments of imagination to credible stories and constructing evidence to support my story.
7. Killing Competition
A scandal is needed to drive the competitor away from my path to success. This is a common game played by nations, corporates, politicians and family members. A crisis can be manufactured, to serve as a framework for the game.
8. Instant popularity
People love the gossip around a scandal. And this is effectively, used by attention-seekers to project themselves as a leader or ideal human being, as against the unfortunate victim.
It is self-projection, by juxtaposition.
The Blame Game is an addiction in itself, and an ingrained behaviour pattern. It gives
- An instant high.
- A feel-good factor.
- Makes one feel like a paragon of virtue.
- Creates a safety zone.
- Helps in building an image by the stance taken.
- Gives instant relief by transfer of accountability.
On the negative side, it can destroy relationships, create enmity and get the blamer isolated from the mainstream. This further drives the person into despair and misery, leading to a new cycle of the blame game
Brene Brown sums it up in the hilarious video with a deep message – “Blame is a discharge of pain and discomfort”.
She says “Accountability is inversely proportional to blame”. How true!
Accountability is necessary. The malaise in society, family and workplace needs to be identified, for a solution to emerge. People need to work towards prevention of the malaise, and it cannot be done without accountability. Since self-discipline and responsibility are not common traits, accountability needs to be defined and called for, in case of failure.
Total clarity of roles and accountability is needed for positive results. The so-called ‘grey or hazy areas’ are deliberately constructed to prevent self-accountability, and to facilitate the Blame Game.
Escape becomes easier in a haze.