Charles consulted with me because his wife of 18 years had threatened to leave him if he didn't stop blaming her all the time. He admitted to frequently blaming her in a variety of situations. He blamed her if he thought she made a mistake, and if he thought she was wrong about something, and when he felt alone, and even if he had a bad day at work. He blamed her for asking him questions when he didn't know the answer. He would sometimes even blame her when his golf game was off. He always blamed her when he felt judged by her, or when he didn't get her approval. While he freely admitted that he blamed her, he couldn't seem to stop, and he had no idea why he blamed her.
As I explored various situations with Charles, it became apparent that he was not just blaming his wife. He was also constantly blaming and judging himself. He would verbally beat himself up for mistakes, telling himself things like, "I'm such a jerk," and would often say very negative things to himself, such as, "Things will never get any better," or "I'm just a loser," or "I'm a big disappointment to myself." He would then feel angry and agitated as a result of rejecting himself, but he never connected his anger with his self-judgment. Instead, he would dump his anger on his wife, or yell at other drivers on the freeway.
It became apparent to Charles that he would not be able to stop blaming his wife until he stopped blaming and judging himself. His addiction to blaming others was a direct result of his self-loathing.
Charles had absorbed his parents judgments of him into his ego wounded self, and now he was treating himself the way they had treated him. Charles was appalled when he realized that all his anger at others was really his anger at himself for rejecting himself. He was projecting onto others what he was doing to himself. He saw that he was especially sensitive to others' judgment because he was so judgmental of himself.
Charles realized he believed that if he judged himself enough, he could have control over getting himself to do things "right," just as his parents had judged him to control him. He realized this wasn't true by an experience he had playing tennis.
"I played last Wednesday and I was in a really good mood. I was just playing for the fun of it, rather than to play well, and I played my best game ever! The very next day I played worse than I have for a long time. I realized that, having done so well on Wednesday, I now wanted control over doing as well on Thursday. As soon as I tried to control it, I lost it. I want to stop doing this, but I've been doing it my while life. How do I stop?"
Stopping any addiction is always a challenge. Changing our thought process is especially challenging. Changing from being self-rejecting to self-loving has to become more important to you than continuing to try to control yourself through your self-judgments. When you really want to heal your addiction to blame, here is what you can do:
- Pay attention to your feelings. Learn to be aware of when you are feeling angry, anxious, hurt, scared, guilty, shamed, depressed and so on, and decide that you want responsibility for being the cause of these feelings.
- Make a conscious decision to learn about what you are telling yourself that is causing your pain, rather than ignoring it, turning to substance or process addictions, or continuing to judge yourself.
- Ask yourself, "What am I telling myself that is causing me to feel badly?" Once you are aware of what you are telling yourself, ask yourself, "Am I certain that what I'm telling myself is the truth, or is it just something I've learned or made up?" Then ask yourself, "What am I trying to control by telling myself this?"
- Once you are aware that you are telling yourself a lie that is causing you to feel badly, and why you are telling it to yourself, ask the highest, wisest part of yourself, or ask an inner teacher or a spiritual source of guidance, "What is the truth?" When you sincerely want to know the truth, it will come to you.
- Change your thinking, now telling yourself the truth.
- Notice how you feel. Lies will always make you feel badly, while the truth brings inner peace. Any time you are not in peace, go through this process to discover what lie you are telling yourself. Eventually, with enough practice, you will be in truth and peace more and more of the time.
Charles practiced this process -- the Inner Bonding process -- and gradually, over time, he stopped judging himself and blaming his wife.
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