Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Our Tendency to Blame

Our Tendency to Blame

 Before we go any further, it’s worth revisiting this. In Lesson 1, we talked about letting go of blame. Blaming someone won’t help us solve any problems. It isn’t effective in improving communication, and it definitely doesn’t make anyone feel any better. It doesn’t encourage behavior change either. It just makes the blamed person feel bad. That’s true whether we are blaming ourselves or blaming someone else. 

Gabor describes blame as showing up in two ways:

  • We blame the other person

    • Family members blaming the person with the addiction: “You’re creating these problems for us. Your behavior is imposing suffering on us and making our lives difficult. Stop it!”

    • The person with the addiction blaming the family: “You’re trying to control me. You don’t understand me. It’s because of what you did that I developed this addiction”

  • Blaming yourself:

    • “I failed as a human being. I’ll never be able to stop judging my kid.”

    • “I’m a terrible person. I’ve stolen and lied. No one will ever love me”

What lies underneath our blame is deep shame. That’s true whether we’re the person struggling with the addiction, or the family member affected by it.  Shame is something everyone has, and research indicates that the less we talk about it, the more we have it.  And when we talk about it, we begin to heal it. We realize others have had the same experiences or share the same worries or self-judgments that we have.

Even if we’re not ready to let go of the blame, Gabor suggests that when we interact with our loved ones that we set aside the blame. When we approach them with compassion and curiosity, we open the door to understanding and healing.

Agendaless listening isn’t easy. We particularly recommend the listening exercise at the end of this lesson to help clients gain this. It takes a lot of practice for many clients.