How to Move Beyond the Blame Game.

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 4.4
Shares 1.0
Hearts 0.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
0 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

Mrinkk - stockxchange

When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot.
~ Dalai Lama

I would extend this to one’s own self, too: When you think everything is your own fault, you will suffer a lot.

So, the problem isn’t whom you blame, but that you blame someone, period.

Twelve years ago, I learned the concept that changed my world view in this regard—that the source of feeling bad and things going badly is something called learned distress. It’s the feeling that “there is something wrong with me being just the way that I am.”

You absorbed learned distress from the people around you—how they felt about being human—from conception until the age of two-and-a-half. This sponge-like time was the process that developed your sense of self or how you feel about being your unique self.

So, it would seem that if you absorbed this negative feeling from those around you, you could blame them for your negative moments since then, right? Nope.

Think back to when you were two years old. Did you choose to absorb the feeling that there was something wrong with being human back then? You probably don’t remember, so I can help you with the answer. It is: “No.” You couldn’t have chosen, because the part of your brain that allows you to choose wasn’t operating yet. Your rational brain starts to develop around the age of two-and-a-half, so before that point, your little brain is just a sensory sponge, absorbing how it feels to be human.

So, if you didn’t choose these negative feelings that are the source of your negative moments, your parents couldn’t have chosen theirs, either.

They absorbed learned distress from their parents, who absorbed it from their parents, and on back. So there’s no blame associated with this passing of learned distress on from generation to generation.

After the age of two-and-a-half, your brain starts to use learned distress and well-being, the good feeling stored in your sense of self, to automatically generate the moments and situations in your life. It’s the automatic work of energy described by Sir Isaac Newton: For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. In this case, the action was learned distress being absorbed (coming in), and now your brain puts this energy back out (opposite) as moments that feel the same (equal) as the moments when you absorbed those feelings.

Your rational brain gives you a way to cope with or control your moments, but the feeling you experience in the negative ones will still be “there is something wrong with me.”

Your parents were doing the best they were able with what they had absorbed—just as you are and just as everyone else in the world is. And, despite everyone’s best efforts, learned distress keeps getting absorbed by little, sponge-like brains. So, you can’t blame your parents for your stuff.

But what about blaming one’s spouse for getting angry and ruining a dinner party? Or someone blaming her assistant for forgetting to tell her about an important meeting? Or something more difficult, like when a drunk driver killed one of my best friends five years ago? Here are some important points:

  1. If something feels bad for you, it is being generated, in part, by your learned distress.
  2. If someone else is involved, their learned distress is also a generating force.
  3. This framework never excuses someone else’s bad behavior or the consequences they may face, as a result.

Number one is the only thing you can do anything about, so that’s what I focus on entirely with my clients. The researcher who discovered learned distress also discovered a way to peel away layers of it permanently. This brings us to personal responsibility vs. blame.

Owning your “stuff” and doing whatever you can about it is so different from lashing out at others or beating yourself up.

Sometimes, it’s hard to see past the blame game that we’ve played. For example, a client’s supervisor forced her to ask all of her co-workers for feedback on her performance and the mood in which she conducted herself at work. She was the only person told to do this. It would be easy to blame the supervisor for unethical behavior towards my client, and indeed, I think it’s fair to say he was unethical and unfair in his treatment of her.

But, what was important to me was to uncover the learned distress that generated this situation for her.

This client has a strong history of abuse by men, which will put into place and repeatedly reinforce the feeling for her that she doesn’t matter. On top of that, she also feels strongly that there is something wrong with her unless she does things perfectly. Her working conditions made it impossible to come anywhere near perfection, so every work day, she was feeling strongly that there was something wrong with her in that way, also. Her brain put together “I don’t matter” and “I’m not perfect enough,” along with this specific pattern of abuse by men, and generated this awful work situation.

As she peeled away layers of this mixture of learned distress, work got better for her on a couple of fronts. A new co-worker discovered talents of my client that hadn’t been recognized, and leveraged those to get my client better working conditions. Not only did she feel that she mattered more, but she was able to work in an environment that allowed her to perform up to her standards. The more surprising thing was that the supervisor’s behavior towards her changed. When she needed to restructure her schedule, he said that the company would support her in any way possible because she was vital to the organization!

And perhaps best of all, she found out how much power she really has in her own life and was able to move beyond the place of blaming herself (not perfect enough) or her supervisor for the situation.

Where do you tend to place blame? Do you beat yourself up, or do you blame others? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

~ Like elephant work & money and elephant health & wellness on facebook. ~ 

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 4.4
Shares 1.0
Hearts 0.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
0 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

Read The Best Articles of January
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.

Sara Avery

Sara Avery’s passion is helping people uncover the energy that creates their story and the uniqueness of who they really are. In 2001, she transitioned from her first career as an orchestral violinist to guiding people through the deep transformation of Quanta Change.

Quanta Change identifies Learned Distress (the feeling that “there is something wrong with me” absorbed in the womb and early in life) as the source of non-well-being. This unique process works with your brain during sleep to permanently remove layers of Learned Distress, allowing your natural well-being to become the source from which your life is generated.

Sara’s clients discover a new ease and joy in life that they’ve never experienced—in emotional, spiritual, and physical realms. One client said, “I’ve been seeking for 40 years, and this is by far the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.” Learn more on her website or read more from Sara on her blog. Or, connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

anonymous Feb 11, 2013 2:25pm

[…] power over your emotional state than they should legitimately wield. 2) It’s narcissistic. You are not the only one responsible for her feelings. There is a lot more going on over there on her side of the equation, and to think that you are the […]

anonymous Feb 11, 2013 11:30am

[…] can teach you why and how it hurts when I don’t get attention, and I can do it without blaming you.I can teach you how I don’t ever need you to apologize, I just need you to listen. I can teach […]

anonymous Jan 31, 2013 12:14pm

[…] is most frightening about this decision is the realization that we have no one and nothing to blame for whatever happens next. We are hopelessly and vulnerably reliant on ourselves. It is this raw […]

anonymous Jan 23, 2013 4:35pm

[…] 1. Catch yourself when you start the blame game […]

anonymous Sep 2, 2012 3:03pm

[…] […]

anonymous Aug 29, 2012 10:50am

[…] […]

anonymous Jul 22, 2012 3:44pm

[…] How to Move Beyond the Blame Game. ( […]

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 1:43pm

[…] constantly blame everyone for all types of different things. Quit blaming other people for your circumstances. If you want to change something go out and do it! Don’t […]

anonymous Jun 23, 2012 8:42pm

[…] Release our grip on what has never worked before, strip ourselves bare, untangle ourselves from blame and bitterness, dive deep—inside—until we touch the indivisible. Until we touch the place where right and […]

anonymous Jun 21, 2012 8:03pm

[…] keep us separate. And there are times when it suits me to have it that way, when it’s easier to blame you than to do my own […]

anonymous Jun 14, 2012 9:43am

[…] had a choice. I could give in to hurt and accusation; making myself love’s widow—he doesn’t listen to me, or understand me, or show up on time, or […]

anonymous Jun 14, 2012 12:59am

Hi Sara, a very nice and thought-provoking read. I've understood well how self-defeating the blame game can be and that by indulging in it I'm only holding myself back. however, this rationality doesn't work in the face of intense personal experiences. What if someone abandons you, out of the blue. Be it a parent or a friend or a lover. Someone you really were close to but one fine day they just turn their back on you without giving any reasons or saying some nonsense in return, if at all. How does one deal with (and weed out) that feeling of betrayal?

    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 8:11am

    Hi Anna, that's what I deal with in my work. I agree with you that just knowing about it doesn't fix it. That's why Quanta Change bypasses the rational brain by working with the brain during sleep, which is when your sense of self (that stores Learned Distress) recharges. It's when layers of the negative feelings can actually be peeled off, instead of just controlled or coped with. I'm happy to answer more questions, if you have them. Thanks for the comment and question!

      anonymous Jun 14, 2012 11:38pm

      Thanks for your reply, Sara. I'm checking out your blog, it looks very interesting! 🙂

        anonymous Jun 15, 2012 10:02am

        Cool, Anna! Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

anonymous Jun 13, 2012 1:27pm

As a mother of two young children, this was a powerful message for me— multi-generational. Me with MY parents, and now as a parent to THEM. I appreciate this perspective, thank you!

    anonymous Jun 13, 2012 2:03pm

    I'm so glad this was helpful to you, Lyn. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know!

anonymous Jun 18, 2012 9:28am

Thanks, Julien!