What does it mean to blame?

Blaming is the act of locating the source of wrongdoing with another person or institution.

They did this to me.”

“It’s your fault that x, y or z happened.”

But there are 2 key problems with blame:

1. You hurt me so I’ll hurt you back. Blame has a vindictive nature about it. It often leaves the person doing the blaming feeling entitled to then behave however they want in return:

“You hurt me therefore I have the right to hurt you back.”

So a toxic cycle begins whereby the person who is angry chooses to mistreat in return. They dish out the very thing that they are reacting to in the first place; that is, mistreatment.

For some reason it’s not ok when harm is done to them, but it is ok when they do harm to someone else. It’s a double-standard, a toxic cycle of reaction and retaliation that rarely resolves anything.

2. Avoiding Responsibility. The other downside of playing the blame-game is that it keeps person doing the blaming in the place of a victim:

 “Poor me. What can I do? The world is against me. It’s all your fault”

Blaming therefore places the locus of the problem outside us.  We don’t have to change or be responsible because it’s all someone else’s fault.


As opposed to blaming – which places responsibility outside us, taking responsibility is an awareness that, at any given time, you are responsible for how you think, feel and behave.

It is an approach to life that says,

“I am responsible for how I am in this world.”

Even if you have been badly hurt, or abused, you get to take responsibility how you now respond. If you continue to blame, remain a victim, or retaliate, you will feel chronically powerless, hurt and bitter.

You will remain stuck.

Becoming responsible means taking control of yourself and owning your own behaviour and your own emotional world. Instead of the magnifying glass being pointed outwards, you look at yourself:

“What’s going on inside me? What am I doing to contribute to this dynamic?”

Even a person in a domestic violence relationship; this person is not responsible for the abuse, but they are responsible for making choices about their own safety and the safety of their children.

It’s not about blame. It’s about responsibility.

Blame just perpetuates a toxic cycle of hurt and keeps us stuck. Responsibility for our own condition however, breaks this cycle, give us choice and grows us in maturity.

To speak to a counsellor, please contact Deborah at Norwest Counselling.

More on Blame: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201509/5-reasons-we-play-the-blame-game