It's all my fault

People blaming each other is undoubtedly one of the least pleasant kinds of human interaction. Such blaming is always patterned, of course, and we have had some awareness of this ever since our realization that every person has always done the very best that he or she could at each moment of the past. We have said clearly many times in our literature that, in the light of this, "blame" and "fault" are false concepts and that rational responsibility must be separated from irrational "blame."

The patterns laid in by being blamed must feel very enticing to change roles in. It certainly must feel like a relief to any victim to end being blamed by jumping into the blaming role. As all of us know, many people have found their way into that role and have blamed us with greater or lesser efficiency on many occasions.

The naive response to being blamed is usually to deny being at fault or to intuitively attempt to reverse the roles. We see (and hear) many loud and noisy arguments taking place between people with each one insisting that whatever is wrong is the other person's fault, not his or hers.

If one becomes a counselor, the permissiveness which people often attach to the role is likely to seem to invite a good deal of blaming from people who are seeking relief from their own past roles of being blamed.

I have certainly experienced this in thirty-odd years of counseling. I have often sought to defend myself, sometimes simply by denying that I'm at fault, sometimes by trying to 'explain theory' as to how there is no such thing as rational blame. (I am sure that, on many occasions which I don't remember, I have also slipped into 'blaming back.')

Only in the last year have I finally realized that there is a simple, elegant way to handle this when one is a counselor.

This block-buster of a technique is simply to verbally and cheerfully accept the whole blame for everything from the client. Encourage the client to say that it's all your fault and smilingly agree with her or him that it is. Furnish rationalizations as to why it must be true and agree enthusiastically and wholeheartedly. Encourage the client to blame you. The client who has suffered so bitterly from inability to get out of a victim-of-blame pattern that is often chronic will discharge with great glee and ease. (And will eventually insist on leaving the pattern entirely.)

Since it had been your own rational decision to take and act out this role, you will not suffer from it at all. It's a remarkably liberating technique.

Harvey Jackins

Last modified: 2016-12-20 06:43:20-08