The Blame Game
Blaming other people means never having to say sorry. If other people are responsible for the bad things that happen in life then the individual can avoid feelings of culpability. Blame involves making a judgment about other people. When blame is apportioned it devalues that other person in the eyes of the individual making this judgment. Those who fall into addiction will frequently blame other people for their predicament. It is only when they take responsibility for their situation that they can be free.
To blame somebody for something means to to hold them responsible for something that has happened. Another way of looking at blame is to say that the cause of suffering can be attributed to a conscious being. People do say things like the weather is to blame, but by doing this they are implying that the weather has the ability to make conscious decisions.
Blame and Grandiosity
Grandiosity means that the individual has an unrealistic sense of their own importance. Those who exhibit grandiosity will find it hard to accept any criticism and when things go wrong they will quickly find reasons to blame other people. No matter how bad this individual messes up their life they will always have somebody else to blame. Some individuals experience excessive grandiosity as part of a mental health problem known as narcissistic personality disorder.
Self-blame is a condition where the individual feels responsible for the actions done by another person who has harmed them. This type of guilt is common with rape victims and others who have been through a traumatic event. It is suggested that the individual will resort to self-blame because of their feelings of powerless. If they blame themselves for what has happened it means that they may be able to stop it occurring again in the future. By admitting that they are not to blame for the event they may need to accept that it was beyond their control. It is understandable that people like to believe in a just world, but unfortunately bad things happen to good people all the time. Part of getting over self-blame may be accepting that the world might not be inherently just.
Addiction and Victim Blaming
It was once believed that anyone who fell into addiction did so because they were immoral or just bad people. In the last century this type of attitude began to be considered as victim blaming. The disease theory of addiction put forward the idea that the individual was as much to blame for their condition as the cancer victim. There is still a great deal of debate about whether or not addiction is a disease – some addicts may even use this as justification to carry on their current trajectory. The more modern view of addiction is that while the individual might not be to blame for their problems they are responsible for their own recovery.
Addiction and Blame
The blame game is something that addicts can use to justify their addiction. They can use it alongside denial to remain in their self-imposed hell. The addict will usually be able to provide many reasons for their substance abuse and most of these will involve blame. The typical examples of this include:
- Other people make them feel miserable so that they have to drink to feel better
- Other people criticize their drinking so now they have to hide it
- Their parents made their childhood difficult. Those in recovery can later see the foolishness of such blaming with the humorous comment, I may not have had the best childhood, but I certainly had the longest one.
- Those responsible for the education system did not provide them the right opportunities.
- Their boss expects too much from them. Work is too stressful so they need alcohol or drugs to unwind.
- Their ex broke their heart and substance abuse helps them cope
- Their friends are all have alcohol or drug users so it is their fault for offering so much encouragement.
- They joined an addiction recovery group and these individuals brainwashed them into believing that substance abuse was a problem. This is the reason why their alcohol or drug use is no longer enjoyable.
- The government has ruined the country and the only option is to stay inebriated.
- The banks have ruined the economy so there are no jobs around.
- Humans have destroyed the planet so it makes sense to party in the last days.
- They were indoctrinated into a religion and blame this for their current addiction.
- The opposite sex doesn’t find them attractive so they need to resort to alcohol or drugs for comfort.
The Dangers of Blaming in Addiction
If the individual is focused on blaming other people it can keep them trapped in their addiction. This is because the addict has no control over other people; they only have control over themselves. The dangers of focusing on blame include:
- It provides a justification for further substance abuse
- Blame encourages a whole host of negative emotions that prevent people from thinking clearly.
- Blame benefits nobody.
- Blame can prevent the individual from acknowledging their own faults.
- Blame is often just an excuse for poor behavior.
Blame in Recovery
In order for people to build a successful life away from addiction they will need to take responsibility for their own life. This means they can no longer act like a ball in a pinball machine using blame as the flipper. Emotional sobriety means dealing with life in a more honest way and taking control of things. Those who continue to focus on blame will be unlikely to get the most out of recovery. They will end up relapsing because somebody else made them do it, or they will develop dry drunk syndrome. To say that somebody is a dry drunk means that the only thing in their life that has really changed is that they no longer drink or do drugs – their behavior may still be appalling.
Admitting to Mistakes
If people are to become emotional sober they will need to be able to admit to their own mistakes. If their initial urge when something goes wrong is to blame other people this will prevent them from acknowledging the part they played in the event. Of course there will be many things that happen to people where they will not be responsible, but it is not a good idea to always rush to judgment. In order for people to become successful they will likely make many mistakes along the way. The worst thing that people can do with their mistake is to try to ignore it or blame other people for it. It is only by acknowledging mistakes that people can learn from them and grow. There is nothing to be learned by apportioning blame.