When you blame others, you give up your power to change. – Robert Anthony
Do You Blame?
Are you aware when you blame? Often, the language we choose to use is a dead give away. Do you ever find yourself using these phrases?-You make me so mad!
-You are driving me crazy!
-The drive makes me miserable!
-Why did (you, God, govt.) do this to me?
-I should have done better!
-I shouldn’t have done that!
-I am late because of…(the weather, construction, alarm clock, et. al.)
Blame turns you into the victim and steals your power. It relinquishes your responsibility for your life and puts the power you have to choose in the hands of someone, something, or some situation. Only you can be responsible for what you think and how you feel.
Blame Feeds Anger
When young children hear phrases like “You make me so mad!” or “You are driving me crazy!” from a parent, they personalize those statements, in large part because the parent is the authority, and then blame themselves for the parent being upset. They have now become the cause of the effect. It may appear to a parent that what they are saying is rather benign, but it is the whole world to a child. It is one of the ways we learn to beat ourselves up and how to pass blame. Blaming the self contributes to many manifestations of anger that show up in the forms of guilt, resentment, shame, and depression. Similarly, this happens in a subtle way when we “should” ourselves. We regret a choice we did or did not make. We also “should” other people, by having an ironclad version of how they are supposed to be. This is also an expectation, which sets you up to let you down, and can allow for anger to come creeping in.
What Can You Do?
1) Watch Your Language
-Be aware of the language you use with yourself and others. Are you using any of the statements stated above?
2) Change Your Language
-Simple changes to the way you say things can greatly help you to take ownership of how you are feeling in the moment. For example, instead of saying:
“You make me so mad!” try expressing your anger this way and take full ownership of your emotions: “When you do, say, have _____________, I feel angry.”
This opens things up for discussion rather than starting off with accusations.
3) Understand The Root of Anger
-In my experience, what underlies anger is helplessness. Anger is great at showing us is where we want to feel empowered in our lives and exactly where we
feel helpless or powerless.
4) Take Action
-Now that you know about anger and helplessness, what actions can you take to begin to empower the area of your life that is bringing up the anger?
Do you need to speak up at work or in your relationship?
Do you need to learn how to communicate better with your family, your partner, or your boss?
5) Realize That No One Can Make You Feel Any Way But Yourself
-“No man may come near me, but through my act.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance. Your thoughts/perceptions govern your feelings.
It can be helpful to look at where you are making yourself the victim in your various life situations through blaming anything from the weather, to your kids, God,
or that “crazy” driver in front of you.