Blame, in its simplest terms is about who is at fault for something that occurred in the past. That thing can have consequences in the present, and indeed into the future, but the original catalyst has passed. Blame is by its nature backward looking.

Blame feels good. It feels righteous. Its often in acknowledgement of injustice, or unfairness. Sometimes it is long deserved.

There is value in realizing that someone has caused you harm. We must know the source of our pain to learn from it. However, many of us, on finally saying ‘you did this to me’, can’t find a way to stop.

There is a dark power to blame. In that crazy way the human mind works, it frees us from responsibility. ‘You did this, not me’ it says, and waits for that to make a difference.

Blame is about two things- deciding who did wrong, and making amends or making them pay. This may work for the criminal justice system, car crashes and bad boyfriends. It doesn’t work for emotional abuse and codependency.

Often what we long for most as abuse victims is amends. We want our abuser to acknowledge the level of damage they perpetrated. The sad fact is this- for most of us, it is extremely unlikely our abuser or addict will ever seek amends.  Your parent may never apologize for locking you in a vehicle while they went to drink. Your partner may never acknowledge that they spent all the money and blamed you for it.

If we can’t get an apology, we want to make the wrong-doer pay. As an abuse victim, this also falls short. There is no restoration to a lost childhood, or shattered trust, or developing PTSD.

The person who hurt you, cannot heal you.

The difficult fact is this- someone injured you so completely that your life will never be the same. They inflicted the pain, but you have to feel it. They bullied you, but you have the eating disorder. They lied to you, but you’re the one who can’t have a trusting relationship. They gave you alcohol as a way to cope, but you’re the one still drinking.

Blame requires perpetrator and victim. To play the ‘blame game’ you must maintain the powerlessness of the victim. You also must maintain your connection with the abuser- the life of a victim is lived ‘in relation’ to a perpetrator.

The problems can rightly be laid at your abuser or addicts feet- but they have no means to fix them. If they could fix you, they would’ve fixed themselves. You have to fix your own problems.

So be angry. Feel rage at the injustice of the situation. And then begin the process of learning how to do what your abuser never did- taking responsibility for your own healing.

Photo by Tamara Menzi on Unsplash

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