Blame - Guilt & The Crazy 8
O.K… as someone who can tend to be a "high functioning codependent", when someone I care about is angry or blaming towards me, it is brutally hard to keep loving myself. Damn near impossible sometimes actually. I sometimes take on guilt that doesn’t belong to me when someone I love seems distant, or is frustrated/angry with me. I tend to want to fix it both for the other person and for myself and can abandon myself in the attempts to get things back in order for the other person.
Men tend to base more of their self-worth on accomplishments, while women often times base a great deal of their self-worth on the quality of their relationships. So when relationships seem to be at in impasse that continues to flare anger, blame, guilt in one or both parties, it can become a very heavy emotional weight. What can happen is we are often trying to fill an emotional bottomless pit that exists due to not feeling whole and loved. It's not the need to be loved that causes the issues. It's the inability to love ourselves that causes the dysfunction.
Being blamed, doing the blaming - either way, it can feel pretty awful. It triggers a wide range of reactions… from anger and biting back, to withdrawing and trying to walk on egg shells to make things okay for the other person. One of the reasons blame feels so crappy is because we feel unseen, unheard and misunderstood. It hurts when someone we care about seems to believe that our intentions are to hurt them, when that wasn't our intention at all, we're typically just doing the best we can. We take on the other person’s experience and take responsibility for it, even though taking that on won't help them. And if we attempt to explain or defend or be understood by the person sending blame our way, it typically makes things worse.... have you noticed?
Dr. Margaret Paul offers some great advice on the feeling of being blamed. She says that we confuse the difference between responsibility and blame. Blaming is about avoiding our own responsibility for our actions, then blaming the target for our own bad behavior. It's the adult version of being a "bully".
What would happen in partnerships or families if everyone accepted that they are responsible for their own behavior and choices and didn't blame? What if there is actually NO ONE TO BLAME? What if we each chose to open to learning about our own responsibility in any conflict situation without blaming either ourselves or someone else??? What if we really demonstrated that our happiness is our own responsibility and not dependent on circumstances or other people? I'm setting out on a personal challenge to try and prove this to be possible.
Everyone gets to do things however they choose in this life. For me, that self-righteous spike of anger and blame can sometimes be what I need to move myself up the emotional scale. And it tastes SOOOO good for a moment! That's because it is a better place to be than in depression – where we feel powerless. It is always easier to feel anger than guilt. BUT! When I make someone else the reason for my feelings – I have just given them my power. Helloooooo victim Sandy!!! Here's the thing, I am an adult and as an adult, I really don't have to explain or justify myself to anyone. And get this... I don't even need to have anyone understand me - not even the person who is blaming me. YIKES! That's a new awakening! Try that on for size! Often trying to be understood by someone who is angry with you doesn't go well any way. Unless they are open to learning, it typically just makes things more tense.
I have also felt myself on the receiving end of the blame game, especially in recent months. I am super tempted to buy into the story line and feel like total crap when someone I love tells me that I am the cause of all their pain and all the problems that seem to come up between us. BUT! If I buy into this story of them giving me all the power in their experience – I have once AGAIN jumped into victim mentality. I am a victim of their blame, and that is total crap on my part (and theirs, BTW).
When we feel wounded, we love to blame. When we feel blamed, we feel inferior. But in either case, we have put ourselves at the mercy of the person we are blaming and are either taking no responsibility for our own experience or we are taking responsibility that doesn’t even belong to us.
The person who's blaming me is feeling hurt, powerless, so they aim their blame me, then I get hurt and I blame them OR! I take on the blame and feel guilty. It becomes a crazy 8*... mad, then guilty, mad, then guilty in a continuous loop. (* See the end of this chat for more info on the Tony Robbins Crazy 8 theory) I am just doing the same exact thing I am accusing the other person of!!! It’s not moving me forward and not emotionally or physically healthy.
I'm a firm believer that when something feels negative emotionally, it's because I am choosing not to see the love in the situation. I am choosing fear. I'm not seeing things from the perspective the Divine sees it from. When we feel anger, frustration, resentment, blame...the other person isn't "wrong", and neither am I. We're just both hurting. We are choosing to see the other person or the situation in a way that is counter to how the Universe sees it and that results in emotional pain.
Somebody in this dance needs to evolve and Since I’m the one with the awareness – that means it’s ME who needs to go first. I’ve decided that I’ve GOT to find a better way. I’m calling bullshit on MYSELF and taking my power back, in-house.
In the midst of being blamed or shamed, have you noticed? Your words don't work. Both parties either get more defensive, or beat down with guilt, and you stay stuck on the roller coaster of the crazy 8. So for me, here is what I’m going to do, I'm going to change my own frequency. I'm going to amp up my love, appreciation and my own alignment with my higher power. Lovingly disengage and work on sending loving-kindness to the blamer via my energy and frequency rather than defending or going into guilt.
I am going to spend 30 days up-leveling my own “frequency”. I am going to raise my own standard and my own energy vibration with some super simple daily actions. These actions are a combo of research done by happiness studies done by Shawn Achor, Tony Robbins and also some basics from Abraham-Hicks plus my own knowing what works for me... feel free to join me!
My aim is to focus as much as possible on things that feel good. When I’m feeling blamed by someone, taking on guilt and blaming myself, or if I feel like blaming someone else, I will distract myself with something that feels good like this list above. I'm going to cue up my vibe and my energy closer to the level I have grown to. The end result will be that my frequency will rise to more of a place that is in alignment with who I really am now, and my happiness center of gravity will rise to a more natural and current level. To do this I will have to re-frame the meanings on some things and these activities above will help me to move in that direction.
I'm going to do my best to look PAST the junk anyone blaming me is throwing out there and remember that it's just a discharge of pain. It's just like the example of Jesus, looking past the labels and outward appearances of people and just focus in on the light of them. At the same time, I won't subject myself to the blame and accusations when they come. I will lovingly disengage out of love and compassion for myself as well.
The note on my calendar in front of me today says “Growth is never about focusing on someone else’s lessons, but only on our own." Blame is focusing on someone else’s lesson. I have way too many of my own to embrace, and I’m going to focus on them and see what unfolds. Come along and let’s see where it leads us!
The Crazy 8 Details - can you see your self or your relationship in this?
* The Crazy Eight is a concept from Tony Robbins Strategic Intervention training. It describes what we often tend to do when we feel life is not a match to our own "blue print" of what it should be and feels like it is not in our own control. The emotional states of sadness and anger can tend to loop continuously as we try to convince ourselves we are regaining control, but we aren't. We do this in an attempt to meet a need and to connect with ourselves. It's a terribly painful way to live, I can attest to that!! And many, many relationships have this pattern. Tony explains that unless we find a completely new emotional state we swing continually between the two, which he calls the crazy 8.
Sadness/depression/victim mentality is at one end of the loop. Here we withdraw, feeling sorry and helpless for ourselves. We attempt to exert some control through disconnecting and being in a low mood. We are fed up, life is unfair and we see people and experiences through dark glasses. This produces a very low energy state in the body. Feelings on this side of the 8 include guilt, depression, isolation, hurt, shutting down, and feeling rejected.
At the other end of the loop is the energy state of anger and blame. Fueled by adrenaline we feel more in our power and a higher state of energy in the body. We make someone or something the villain. Common feelings as we sling to this side of the loops include: anger, frustration, blame, resentment.
When we refuse to take responsibility for our own choices of feeling states, we can stay looping around this bad boy our entire lives. It's a self defeating cycle that can happen often in relationships if we don't wake the hell up. When you understand why you are angry or sad, within yourself rather than blaming, you can take responsibility for the real need you are not meeting. Remember, it is always easier to feel angry or sad because it gives you instant connection with yourself. If we are willing to dig deeper and connect with ourselves in a more emotionally mature, intelligent way - our relationships with ourselves and others improve. The crazy 8 is a reflection of our relationship with ourselves. Some of the quickest ways to change our meaning on things is to change our physical state (body posture, movement, etc), change our language, and change our focus. The quote from Tony below is a really amazing way to get off the crazy 8 loop!!!
Need a little playlist to help you reach for a higher frequency?
Sandy Edie Hansen
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