Updated: Apr 13, 2020
I've touched upon self blame on my Facebook page but I wanna talk to you more about it. It is such an easy thing to do but such a hard thing to accept, move on from and stop completely. When things don't go right for us, we naturally look for a reason cos' we're human beings. Lots of times, in my own experiences and that of others, we blame whoever we can. Whoever we really do attribute the blame upon. And that's OK if it's true. If that person really did do something to piss you off or upset you then you are quite right to blame. And in many situations, the other person will apologise and that will be that. But what if our version of blame is distorted? What if our 'blame radar' is broken? What if we are so consumed with anxiety and / or panic that we pass the blame onto the ones we love? What if we dramatise the incident so much in our minds that we actually do convince ourselves that that person is to blame? This sounds like I am asking you to blame yourself but bear with me..
We do this to protect ourselves. I have a brief example to share with you.
We were out in a club one night when a female started to dance provocatively around my husband. Of course I did not like that, who would? I tried to ignore it until my patience gave way and I.. erm.. shall we say, confronted her! It ended up with me getting escorted out of the place with my husband close behind me. I was saturated with every emotion possible. Anger. Hurt. Rage. There were tears (from me). And wait for it.. Betrayal! I blamed my husband. Why? Because he encouraged it, of course. Because he wanted to show me that I was not the only woman he could get. Because he thought I was not good enough, pretty enough, stylish enough! It was definitely his fault! I mean, it wasn't MY fault! And the female in question was still inside and probably laughing at me! We rowed, my husband and I! But when the dust settled and I'd calmed down, my rational brain kicked in. He didn't encourage it. He'd tried to shower me with positive affirmations.. he told me I was beautiful. That I didn't need to be jealous. That I should just laugh it off! And that's when the self blame started. I blamed myself for not being pretty enough. Not stylish enough. And vowed to myself to try harder. I blamed myself then for blaming my husband. The blame should have been firmly left with the female in question and my husband and I should've left, united and happy.
You see, when we blame other people for our actions and behaviours, we eventually realise that only we are responsible for said behaviours. And that's when we start to blame ourselves.
It's an extreme reaction to an otherwise simply solved equation. We make it worse than it is. And that is part of anxiety.
I should not have blamed my husband and I should not have blamed myself. Because self blame, regardless of how many times we are reassured, becomes an integral part of our lives. A habit. A BAD habit. One which can, and has, disturbed the peace many, many times for me. So how do we stop it? HOW?
Well, the first step is to WANT to stop it. It has to come from your consciousness. It has to be a decision that you truly want from the heart. We cannot attribute every stressful situation to ourselves. We can, however, learn to control our emotions and reactions to such events. And if we find that to be difficult, as many of us do, then I will suggest Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT for short. This is a specific type of counselling that centres on how we deal with certain situ's! Depending on where you are, you may be able to self-refer, or your GP can signpost you.
In the mean-time, here are 5 things you can try to put into practice:
1. Be responsible for your actions. Accept that you made a mistake. You are only human after all!
2. You know what? LOVE YOURSELF! Yes! You read right! Who the hell do you think deserves your love more than you do?
3. Don't criticise. Yourself or others. You know that girl who was dancing with my husband? She was probably in need of some attention. Perhaps she felt unattractive. Perhaps she needed a positive affirmation. In hindsight, I should've high-fived her and told her she had good taste!
4. Forgive yourself. Sheesh! You have enough on your plate without having the extra pressure from... ahem.. yourself! And forgive others. There is an immense sense of peace when we forgive! And that's got to be good for anxiety, right?
5. Learn. Learn the lesson you taught yourself. You know that you acted irrationally. Don't let it happen again if you can help it. And if it does happen again, repeat this process until you have a 'eureka' moment!
If this post has been useful, give it a like so I know I've helped at least one person!
Good luck on your 'no more self-blame' journey. You can do it. I know you can.
If you wish to leave a comment, please sign up via email. This will also enable notifications when new content is posted.