Avoiding The Relationship Blame Game
- Les and Leslie Parrott for the eHarmony Research Library
- 2003 10 Oct
Have you noticed lately that everyone seems to be a victim? The media has. The New Yorker magazine, for example, recently featured a cover story with the title "The New Culture of Victimization," and the headline of the inside story was "Don't Blame Me!" On the cover of a recent Time magazine these words appeared: "Cry Babies and Eternal Victims!" Esquire followed with an article titled "A Confederacy of Complainers." It seems people these days don't want to be held accountable.
Take, for example, the FBI agent who embezzled $2,000 from the government and lost it in an afternoon of gambling in Atlantic City. He was fired, as he should have been, but he won a reinstatement to his post when the court ruled that he had a gambling handicap and was thus protected under federal law.
We will leave it to the social commentators to explain just how our new culture of victimization will affect society, but we know exactly how it can affect a relationship. Once a man or woman become wrapped up in the blame game (blaming parents, genes, a boss, or a spouse, for example), a vicious cycle of shirked responsibility permeates the relationship. Soon each partner is looking for ways to avoid responsibility and shift the blame.
Of course, this is nothing new. Ever since Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent, we have learned the trick of finding excuses. Accused of wrongdoing, we respond, "Who me?" "I didn't do it," "It's only a game," "Well, you asked for it," or "I didn't mean to."
But, let's be honest. We are responsible. As human beings with a free will we have choices, and nobody makes them for us. While we are not necessarily the cause of all that happens in our lives, we are responsible for what we make of what happens. As Scripture says, "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather; serve one another in love" (Gal. 5:13).
Dr. Scott Peck, in his best-selling The Road Less Traveled, writes about the tendency unhealthy people have to give their free will away. "Sooner or later, if they are to be healed, they must learn that the entirety of one's adult life is a series of personal choices and decisions. To the extent they do not accept this, they will forever feel themselves victims."
Don't let your relationship become a blame game. Don't lade the blame on your church, your parents, your schooling, your income, your siblings, your friends, your government, or anything else. Take responsibility for your feelings and your actions and watch your relationship mature.
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