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Monday, April 11, 2016

The Blame Game

Reconsider what you are saying when the sentence starts with the word “You”.
I told this to my children early on and hold it as a personal principle.
Why? Because, words hurt, but also the way we use those words, the tone and order we place them, conveys meaning and intention deeper than we can imagine. As a writer and energy sensitive person I feel words deeply and value how they make me and others feel... especially when it involves loved ones.
“You hurt me.” “You made a mess.” “You’re too loud.”
On an energy place these phrases feel so off, so targeted and separated.
The meaning can easily be expressed without the feeling of judgement.
“I got hurt.” “This is messy.” “Let’s be quiet.”
Ah... so much better.
And it can work with naming others as well.
This came up in a FB thread I was part of last week. A woman couldn’t understand her husband taking offense and feeling unsupported whenever he tried to deal with their son’s tantrums. He always did it in a way that rubbed the woman the wrong way and she would always tell her son, in front of the dad...
“I know Daddy upset you and hurt your feelings. He wants you to come to dinner. I know you want to play.” Ouch.
Pronouns can be used to build and support... or crush and demoralize, especially if we have hidden resentment or anger towards the other person. Their name, or the infamous YOU, can serve as a dagger, without any fingerprints.
“Imagine rephrasing it, so it didn’t paint anyone as the bad guy.” I wrote the woman. “Imagine saying... I know you want to keep playing, but we are having dinner now. I’m sorry if you got hurt feelings, we just need you to come to the table. We’ll play together after.”
No accusations, no mixed messages to their son, no guilt, judgement, or criticism. Maybe not as satisfying, but definitely more loving.
Just the “Royal We!” As someone commented. Yes, “we” resonates so much better.
But when we are used to the blame game how do we find the alternative? How do we shift from the place of accusation, when we feel it is simply taking the blame on ourselves?
We shout “why should I take on the blame when it’s not my fault?”
By simply choosing to radiate love instead and removing fault all together.
State the situation, say how you feel about something, but by removing the blame, you keep mistakes, simply that; mistakes, missteps, learning experiences.
Imagine when you were little and you were doing something you probably shouldn’t be and suddenly you break a family heirloom... or a vase from the dollar store, whichever. You feel badly enough, and silently decide you should have been more careful. You’ve helped clear it up, said sorry to your mom or dad, and learnt from the experience.
Then someone else asks about the vase and you hear... “(your name) broke it.”
You feel sick, guilty and un-forgiven. You will never live it down.
All it would have taken is “It got broken.”
Hearing that, you would still feel responsible, you would reconfirm your promise to take more care... but you wouldn’t carry the shame for life, just the lesson.
Also, imagine being the parent, and feeling the words pass through your lips. It simply feels better to let go of the blame, and stay general.
When we follow our hearts and joy we realize it’s better to feel happy than right. Pointing out who is doing what falls low on the feeling good list, just as the feeling we have to make our children feel small for them to be controlled. Simply altering a few simple words can make it about learning, or working together, vs control, blame and laying guilt.
“YOU”... or the accusing name blame game... replaced with a general situation explanation.
Is the difference between our children being raised with insecurities or self awareness.

1 comment:

  1. So true and as easy to forget and make the error. But forgive and forget is always the way to go and it makes a huge difference to kids when parents stay on the same page.

    Thanks for your insight,

    Sarah Butland
    author of Being Grateful, Being Thankful