The Blame Game
Manipulators are great at playing the blame game. So are other disturbed characters. Such folks might make a mess. Or cause trouble. They hurt others, often without compunction. However, it’s never their fault. They always have that plausible sounding explanation. They know just how to justify. (For more on this see: Rationalizing Away Wrongdoings.) But when their rationalizations don’t sway you, they find scapegoats. They might even blame you for the injury they inflicted on you. Some trick, huh? Do damage, and then vilify the victim! (See p. 128 in In Sheep’s Clothing.)
To cope with any disturbed character, you have to know just how to play the blame game. The number one rule: Don’t play! That is, never accept blame for someone else’s poor behavioral choices. Besides, it doesn’t matter what underlies or motivates someone’s behavior. (Even though traditional psychology taught us to think that way!) People always have a choice about what they do. So, when someone makes the injurious choice, it’s strictly on them. Naturally, they may point the finger elsewhere. They may also try to justify. But their reasons are irrelevant. And,in the end, they alone bear responsibility for their choice. So, you empower yourself when you refuse to burden yourself with a duty belonging to someone else.
Forging integrity of character requires the courage to honestly self-reckon. And you can’t play the blame game to do that. We can’t always control what happens to us. But we have a choice in how we respond. Character-impaired individuals are always looking outward. They find fault with everything and everyone else. Rarely do they self-examine. And when they do, they rarely do it honestly.
Decent people need to focus on their own choices, too. People in this world will hurt you. They will betray you. You’ll suffer injustice. And, unfortunately, you will be deceived. It’s simply the way of the world. How you respond is what matters. And you can’t let your fears or insecurities drive your actions. Nor can you let your pain paralyze you. Your anger might prompt an unhealthy impulse. You may be tempted to do some unwise things. But you never have to act on impulse. Besides, in the end, only mindful action on your part can rectify matters. That’s the great secret to healthy self-love. So, when you stop blaming and start taking proper loving action, things really change.
Getting It Right about Blaming
We’ve entertained some odd notions about blaming behavior. For example, many professionals considered blaming an example of “projection.” But true projection is an unconscious defense mechanism. It’s the mind’s way of protecting us from realities too painful or disconcerting to bear. Folks who project can readily see in someone else what they could never accept about themselves. However, they don’t do this consciously. Nor do they do it deliberately.
Folks who habitually blame and scapegoat aren’t necessarily unconscious projectors. More often, they’re conscious manipulators. Besides, they know that playing the blame game well has tactical advantages. If you buy their excuses and take the blame for their actions, they get their way! Moreover, they’re off the hook, too! That’s quite the payoff. So, you can see why impaired characters enjoy playing this game so much. (See also: Commonly Misused Psychology Terms – Wrap-Up and Externalizing – Manipulation Tactic 3.)
You might want to see some prior articles on this topic. (For example: The Blame Game – Part 3.) In fact there are three prior articles on the topic. So, it’s time to move on to some other manipulation tactics. In the coming weeks we’ll look not only at more manipulation tactics but also at how to best respond to them.
I’ll have an announcement in the next few weeks about my upcoming new book.
As always, my sincerest thanks for recommending my books and this blog to others.