Every Tuesday we engage in one big question, topic or idea. You are invited to write in with a suggestion you want to share. I surely do not have all the answers but know that together we can generate some great conversation and have fun in the process. (Feel free to post your topics, questions, and your great thoughts in the comments below!) Together, we will stay informed and equipped about topics that matter!
Today’s Blog Contributor:
Angela Craig & Charity Rattray
Charity Rattray lives in Ellensburg, Washington, with her husband Jared Rattray and four children. Charity had a profound love encounter with Jesus at the age of 18 and all aspects of her life are fueled from the source, Jesus the Love of God. Charity and Jared founded United By Love, where people of various denominations and religious backgrounds can come together with the common, united mission of sharing the love of Jesus Christ. She serves at Mercer Creek Church happily leading kid’s worship, summer day camp, and various church activities. You can find more blogs by Charity at mrscharityrattray.com.
I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, a writer, a minister, a coach, a social justice and non-profit junkie. Not necessarily always in that order. In my role as Director of the Women’s Department at the Northwest Ministry Network, I get to do what I like to do best: create, teach, write, and learn through others. I am also passionate about helping people discover and live out a passion and purpose filled life in my role as a certified Coach and President of the Give Good Awards Foundation. Devoted to helping others reach their fullest potential in life and leadership, Angela has authored two books, The Story of Leah: When life is not what you expected it to be and Pivot Leadership: Small Steps – Big Change (in stores July 14th). You can read her weekly blog encouragements and leadership tips on angelalcraig.com and on www.hervoiceblog.us, a blog specifically designed for women in leadership.
Breaking Free From the Blame Game
When my children were little (three under the age of three and one older in baseball) I was overwhelmed. Spring usually meant All-Star games, travel, and extra practices. To add to the chaos, our family bought a golden retriever pup. And I had a problem. Blame.
When things went wrong, I was quick to find someone to blame. For example, when the pup ate the diapers from the bin in the garage, I couldn’t make it fast enough to the phone to call my husband at work (who was unaware, and thus needed informing). The conversation went something like this, “Hey yeah, you know I HATE that dog- Well…he ate the cherry tree and now apparently has a taste for diapers. Jared he has got to go. Why did you buy us a dog during my 4th pregnancy?” The communication was thick with blame. Jared however, had a stroke of husband genius and told me he would not have that conversation over the phone, while at work.
Later, that evening as we listed the dog on Craigslist (he went to a good home in Maple Valley with no diapers to feast on) Jared turned to look at me and he said, “Why do you see me as your obstacle when I’m on your team? I’m on your side Charity, really.”
A breakthrough happened in my heart and I realized that the one person doing this life- this big family- full schedule- all in- all the time life- with me was my ally and not the source of my blame.
That breakthrough made a huge shift and changed our marriage that night as we began to tackle our obstacles with understanding, accountability, and team work.
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed. (Proverbs 3:13-18 ESV)
I can relate to Charity’s story. I too have been caught in the blame game trap.
Isn’t it my husband’s fault, I am 10 pounds heavier than I want to be? One of our family goals is to eat together, but because my husband coaches our boy’s baseball teams there are many nights we have late night dining at the Craigs’ in order to achieve this goal. By 8 pm I am STARVING and can’t control myself from eating too much! To top it off, my husband is a great cook. It would be rude not to eat everything he puts on my plate. We eat so late, there is no time for me to work it off. I have tried eating a snack with the boys before the games but it only seems to add to the problem. It is so annoying and it’s all his fault.
You may fall into the blame game trap too – most of us do. The questions are, why do we blame and why should we give it up? In this witty video, inspirational thinker Dr. Brené Brown considers why we blame others, how it sabotages our relationships, and why we desperately need to move beyond this toxic behavior.
Here is a quick review of how we get stuck in the blame game along with 4 quick tips on how you can move forward into healthier and connected relationships.
- Blamers forget – stuff just happens. We blame because we have an irrational idea that there must be a reason for everything that happens in life. There simply isn’t and we spend a lot of brain power thinking up reasons for stuff that simple “just happens”.
- Blame turned into shame. Once you have decided that someone has violated you in some way (whether right or wrong), blame turns into shame by your condemning or passive aggressive words, your non-verbal communication, put downs, silent treatment, gossip and finger pointing. Instead of focusing on taking responsibility for the deed, the blamer uses disrespect, shame and the stripping of a person’s dignity to try and motivate change.
- Why aren’t you perfect? I am! This blame game blocker tells the person you are mad at that you would never make the mistake they made. There is no personal accountability and no understanding that mistakes teach us to accept our fallibility and learn grow as humans.
How we can break free from the blame game:
- Remember that not everything in life comes with an explanation. Some things “just happen”.
- Take personal responsibility. In my [Angela] story about late night dining, when I eat and how much I eat is clearly my choice. No one is forcing me.
- Watch your language. Don’t turn blame into shame. It is dangerous to a person’s dignity and identity.
- Lastly, I think Charity had the best advice, realize that the person you are blaming is on your side. They have the best intentions for you (if they don’t, reconsider your relationship).
We would love to hear your thoughts on “Breaking Free from the Blame Game”, please don’t hesitate to share your stories or comments below.
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