Chapter 3 The Blame Game
STOP playing the Blame Game.
Take responsibility for your own actions. Recognize when blame is unfairly placed.
Accept the situation with grace.
Release anger by seeking a solution.
Move on with resolution.
“Who knocked the plant over?”Mom asks. The kids all chime in at once, pointing at each other, “It’s his fault! …
It’s her fault!” Like a cartoon, finger pointing blame is usually assigned to the young.
Some people grow out of the blame game and some don’t. If you find yourself being unfairly blamed for things like,
“It’s your fault I missed my meeting!” “Your talking made me miss the exit!” “It’s your fault there’s no milk!” With people
who are in the habit of placing blame, the list is endless. If you recognize yourself as a person who places blame, the
time to take responsibility for your actions and words is NOW.
To be fair, abuse of the blame game is gender equal, with both sexes causing havoc on the spirit. By the time you’re
an adult, it’s time to act like one by taking ownership of your decisions, behaviors and anger. Placing blame is childish
and does nothing to serve anyone’s best interest.
Growing up, my family’s running joke was to blame the dog anytime anyone had flatulence. Boot’s would hear her
name, lift up her head and look at us fools laughing, as though saying, ‘Whatever.’ While your dog doesn’t care, I
guarantee that if you’re constantly blaming your spouse, he or she, does care. Before long, a once confident mate
becomes filled with embarrassment, fear or anger and defensive mechanisms are set into action.
However, there is a loophole, sort of speak, that suggests, under particular circumstances, calling someone out on
unhealthy habits and irritable behaviors can help to prevent resentment. For example, two of the more frequent
complaints I heard during my research, was the blame of forgetfulness and tardiness. While excuses varied, so-
called solutions often came in the form of nagging, usually ending in an argument, subconsciously encouraging the
cycle of blame to continue.
If willingness to release the pattern is sincere, as with forgetfulness or tardiness, one preventative solution would be to
set a bunch of alarms on a cell phone to serve as reminders to stay on track. Another technique is the use of post it
notes left on the computer screen, the bathroom mirror and bedroom dresser. Post it notes also serve as silent
reminders on the car steering wheel when you need to pick up milk or a kid from soccer practice.
Once ownership of any chronic problem is accepted with a willingness to correct it, relationships can have space to
improve by replacing nagging with gratitude. Then, if you’re late to a major event, it’s because you really did get delayed
While not everyone is compliant, at first mention of a habitual problem, your partner may feel insulted or angry. But,
once the problem is out in the open, your relationship may actually be strengthened because no one is seething in
resentment or harboring the feeling of being taken for granted.
Be honest with yourself. Rather than seeking fault or placing blame, search for ways to resolve the issue. Professional
help may be able to uncover the root of the problem and offer a simple solution, leaving you saying, “Why didn’t we think
Accept with grace that there is a problem,
Release your anger by seeking a solution and
Move on with resolution.
ARM yourself---Accept, Release, and Move on!
Every Accomplishment Counts
Offer sincere praise for your partner’s accomplishments.
Big or small, celebrate and be proud of your partner!
As a new bride, I wasn’t much of a cook. Oh, I conquered the scrambled egg well enough, but the challenge of making
lump-free mashed potatoes and gravy escaped my kitchen prowess. They were too thick, too thin, or too lumpy. I used
too much flour, too little broth, too much salt, not enough butter. Until, a few years later… one fantastic Thanksgiving, I
made the absolute best mashed potatoes and gravy ever made on that thankful day! It was like the fairy godmother of
lump-free food waved her magic wand and I could do no wrong.
When my husband told me how delicious everything was and how proud he was of me for never giving up, I was like
a little kid! “Watch me swim!” “Watch me swing!” “Watch me make gravy!” It’s embarrassing to admit, but I remember
telling him every single step of the mashed potato and gravy process and how I did it!
Human nature’s a funny thing when egos come into play. Of course, egos are necessary, but, when it comes to
accomplishments, it’s time to set your own ego aside and let your partner shine. Love is about having the genuine
satisfaction that you offered unwavering support and had faith in her every step of the way.
Be careful though, an accomplishment by one partner can quickly become a two edged sword if you let your ego get
the best of you. In other words, don’t let your 15 minutes of fame go to your head, or, as my mom would say, “Don’t get
too big for your britches, Missy!” or “Don’t get too big for your britches, Mister” if she was talking to my brothers. Clearly,
anyone approaching the big britches status wasn’t worthy to be called by name. When she felt that enough praise had
been given, another favorite saying was, “It’s time to come off that high horse of yours.” Which was especially
interesting, as none of us, or her, had ever ridden a horse. I thought, “Huh? What horse? What is she even
talking about?” While you have every right to be proud of your accomplishments, remember the little people who helped
along the way.
Be proud of each other’s accomplishments, whether it’s a promotion at work, earning an advanced degree, or hanging
a picture, recognize the dedication of all the hard work and sacrifice he or she has made.
Meanwhile, if you’re the one receiving recognition, don’t let your ego get the best of you. Arrogance and bragging do
not paint a pretty picture. Acknowledge the support your husband or wife gave along the way to make your
accomplishment possible. In the long run, every accomplishment benefits the home team.
Acceptance is Key
Accept your partner with all his or her quirks,
habits and little annoyances.
Humans adopt little quirks at an early age, some more annoying than others, like kids using a clean shirt when a napkin’s right
next to him! Sharing your life with a partner who accepts all quirks gained along the way paves a natural path to a harmonious
Once chemistry clicks on the first date, everything is rosy! All of your attention is focused on getting to know each other, like
does he collect stamps or prefer to travel? At this level, she doesn’t know that he leaves sweaty socks on the living room floor,
hoards newspapers, or drinks milk from the carton. He doesn’t know that she farts in bed or dulls his razor by shaving her legs.
These are things learned after a commitment’s been made.
Months or years later, the habits that didn’t bother you at the early stages of romance may become maddening! Some habits are
easy fixes, like placing gentle post-a-note reminders on the bathroom mirror, ‘Clean out the sink, damn it!’
After 41 years, Walter said, “You must be respectful friends. Love each other, accept the differences and don’t get stuck on issues.
Things are just what they are, not always to be changed to suit someone else. The time that you spend convincing someone to think
as you do can be futile and frustrating. Life goes on anyway, and every small issue usually wanes in importance the next day…..I
guess what I’m saying is to just accept each other, the good along with the not so good. It all levels out in the end.”
Having trouble changing your annoyance level? Instead of honing in on what drives you crazy, switch to the energy channel
RHPT or Remember His (or Her) Positive Traits.
Jamie said, “Adam and I respect each other and can talk openly about anything…. Even more than that, we totally accept each
other. For example, when Adam’s working on a project, he’s so laser focused that he doesn’t hear a word I say. I’ve learned to
accept that’s who he is and wait to talk to him after he’s done, and, when I’m moody or not feeling up to par, Adam accepts me. I
don’t’ try to change him and he doesn’t try to change me.”
Granted, there are definite behaviors that go beyond being annoying.* These habits often have to do with smelly bodily functions
or personal cleanliness, like crawling into bed with dirty feet or neglecting oral hygiene. How about morning breath kissing? Really?
Get a breath mint!
Be aware of the fairy tale perception's of marriage! Honeymoons really do come to an end, couples really are two individuals
with separate thoughts, and getting married really isn’t the end all answer to solving your problems. Marriage is about accepting the
warts along with the halos.
By accepting each other’s minor quirks and habits, you remain one solid unit. Change what’s necessary, accept the little
annoyances, and, Please God, grant the wisdom and ability to know the difference.
*Quirks and habits do not refer to lewd behaviors, porn, physical/emotional abuse, deceit, or abuse of alcohol / drugs, which is never acceptable.