Place Blame Where it Lies

“Misplaced blamed emboldens the poor actions of the perpetrator and places accountability on the victim. Place blame where it lies.”

RELATIONAL TIP by LISA MERLO BOOTH (my mentor) c:2019 

Parents, teachers, women, spouses, children, leaders (and the list goes on) misplace blame every day:

A woman blames herself for her husband’s rage (e.g.”I shouldn’t have made him mad.”)An employee blames his co-workers for his failure to do his work (e.g. “If he had given me the right information, I would’ve been able to get it done.”)A mother blames her child for getting yelled at by the father (e.g. “Why did you make your father angry like that? You know he’s had a hard day and needs time to himself when he gets home.”)A daughter blames herself for her mother’s rage (e.g. “Why do I always set her off? I wish I could just learn to not upset her.”)

Misplacing blame is a dangerous road for everyone. When you blame those on the receiving end of hurtful actions, you empower those who deliver hurtful actions. Empowering the perpetrators leads to more harmful behaviors.

When it comes to blame, place it where it lies—with the person who is doing the behavior. Being 30 minutes late to pick your child up from school is your fault; your child choosing to throw things and kick and scream when you arrive is her/his fault. 

The bottom line rule is:

You are only responsible for your actions. You are not responsible for another person’s actions or reactions.

Misplaced blame causes a tremendous amount of damage in our world. It’s time to stop buying into unhealthy messages regarding blame. If you did the action, own it and repair it. When someone else does the action, hold that person accountable to own it and repair it.

Stop taking your partner’s inventory and stay focused on what you need to change in yourself.

Challenge: Pay attention to those you blame when harmful behaviors happen. Be sure to place blame with the person who actually did the behavior and NOT on the person to whom the behavior was done.

Challenge others who misplace blame as well. The last thing you or I (or our world) needs to be doing is empowering those who are doing harm.

Lisa Merlo Booth
c: June 2019

Hayley Fedders