‘I blame you for the moonlit sky and the dream that died with the Eagle's flight’ – Archer
In truth, we like to ‘Blame’ everyone but ourselves. It’s down to something I’m told called ‘Psychological Projection’, which is a theory in psychology in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.
Yikes, that’s deep and no wonder Tasmin Archer was so upset back in 1992.
Anyway, if you’ve ever watched ‘The Apprentice’ – I love the part of the show where the Candidates are trying to save themselves by ‘Blaming’ everyone else in the Boardroom for their team’s failure. The scene is a perfect example of ‘Psychological Projection’. The way they latch onto the minutest detail to try and convince Lord Sugar that even though they’ve messed up themselves, someone else has messed up more and they need to be fired. Luckily Sugar’s BS meter usually catches them out, which not only makes great viewing but underlines that we all love to point the finger at the weakest link or in some of the programmes I’ve watched, the greatest competition.
You see, I believe we’ve been hard-wired into ‘Blame Culture’ over recent decades – as they say ‘Where there’s ‘Blame’, there’s a claim’. Nowadays, banks are reeling from PPI Claims and Personal Injury Lawyers are advertising on TV during Jeremy Kyle commercial breaks, trawling for new business from folk looking for easy cash.
Yes, there’s money in ‘Blame’.
For some folk I meet and for some I’ve worked with in the past – they deserve ‘Blame’ but somehow are Teflon-Coated. The ‘Blame’ just runs off them, like water off a duck’s back - nothing sticks. They always have the perfect excuse and it’s never their fault. Try and pin some ‘Blame’ on them and it’s like trying to nail jelly to a wall – it just ain’t gonna happen!
So, why do they come across that way?
It could be that they have narrow bandwidth of opinion. Maybe, they are 50:50 folks not looking to rock the boat. They exude a of ‘Middle of the Road’ attitude that’s agreeable to everyone enough so not to be abrasive enough to ruffle other folks feathers. And as they’ve never had any confrontation, confrontation doesn’t find them.
‘Sticking your neck out’ or having a ‘Strong Opinion’ – well you may as well say ‘Blame Me’ as folk no doubt will. It’s human nature to hand it out to those that stand out.
Are you ever wrong?
You never make mistakes? - well I don’t believe you. No one’s perfect. Sure, if you are right or if your sound and experienced opinion is being contested – fight. If you’re not, why not be honest and just own up and move on. If you are wrong and cover it up and then get found out – well that’s a proper sin. The ‘Reply-All’ email was designed for such occasions I believe.
You know the ones where a colleague emails you to tell you that you’ve messed up, made a mistake or have been duplicitous – and sends it to ALL your colleagues and bosses as well, highlighting just how awful you’ve performed. As if it wasn’t bad enough to make a mistake, they tell the world about it too – don’t you just hate them?
And even though it’s ‘Tomorrow’s Chip Papers’ – it’s bloody annoying and one of ‘Blames Cultures’ more sinister aspects I think. Broadcasting ‘Blame’ on others in order to deflect attention from one’s own mistakes, especially at work – well that really sucks.
No, I believe it’s much better to be more introspective about ‘Blame’. ‘Blame’ starts within by taking responsibility for our actions and standards. It’s just that ‘Blame’ can’t be measured. We simply know it exists and use it to describe how things have gone wrong for us in the past.
Here are some translations:-
Folk ‘Blame’ their education – maybe, they weren’t open to being taught. School is all about finding out what sparks your imagination and rarely folk end up doing what they went to Uni for.
Folk ‘Blame’ their parents – we’re not children very long and we make our own life-choices. I understand that not every childhood is a bed of roses, but adulthood brings choice and a world of opportunity. Where that road takes us is up to ourselves and no-one else.
Folk ‘Blame’ their partner – with a ‘Divorce Rate’ of 50% in the UK, it’s not surprising that there’s ‘Blame’ attributed to one or both of the parties in any partnership in crisis. Stating the ‘Blame’ of the collapse of a marriage is part of the court proceedings to see if it’s worthy of a divorce. A simple ‘It’s my fault, let’s move on’ would be a far cheaper option rather than the usual court ‘Blame Battle’. The only ones who win, are the Lawyers.
Folk really will ‘Blame’ anyone but themselves.
Trying not to be a ‘Blame Victim’ when things are going wrong can be super-tough. I know. During my GBS illness it would have been far too easy to say that it had ruined my life and to have lived out the rest of my years feeling very bitter and twisted about how it’s physically and mentally changed me.
And naturally, when you find yourself in such a situation, you look at who to ‘Blame’. Was it a disease? Who gave it to me? Was it something I ate?
Well no, it could have been self-generated. A payback of years, pushing my body beyond its limits and the stretch of my immune system. Who knows. I’m always proud to say that during 25 years of running, I’ve never been injured – I haven’t, but in the case of GBS, maybe - I have.
It’s ok though and I don’t ‘Blame’ myself – I’m happy with what I’ve achieved and where I am. You see, I’m someone that doesn’t have the ‘Blame Gene’.
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