The Crucial Importance of Removing Guilt from Blaming Your Parents (and others)
Often in our career and personal life things go really really badly, often perhaps even disatrous and our instant reaction is to find someone to blame. It feels so good to blow up and yell at somebody or even if the person is not present, it just feels so good to be able to unleash that rage and blame someone else for whatever went wrong. We love to complain and put blame on others. During our whole life we were taught that blaming others was wrong, but is it…?
Blaming is a very controversial word used to indicate the holding of someone or something as the cause of one’s discomfort. It is controversial because even if it is a fact that people have a certain reciprocal influence on each others’ lives, when blaming is chosen as the instrument to express disappointment for any unproductive outcome, it is often not accepted by many people. This is because of the association with blaming and the rules of right and wrong conduct, which causes confusion around the term. In the general view, to blame someone or something is not seen as proper behavior and therefore often condemned.
Blaming is also frequently used as a way to not take responsibility for one’s own life, because if it is somebody else that causes our problems then we are off the hook. Many people employ this strategy to avoid really being the protagonists of their own lives, showing up and claiming the reward when everything goes well and pointing their fingers when things do not unfold as they wished. In this case, blaming really does intoxicate our lives, making our relationships difficult and preventing us from growing.
So blaming can be a negative force in our lives. However, what really produces the discomfort many people feel around blaming is the root cause of blaming itself: the blame that our parents put on us for their own failures. I have met many parents who made their own happiness depend on their children’s choices, and who take every chance to express their eternal disappointment when their children don’t meet their expectations. The impact that this had and still has in our lives is often underestimated, and often even not considered an issue, because of the conviction that others, and especially our parents, are not to be blamed for our own problems. Nevertheless, parental influence has enormous impact on the psycho-emotional development of a child.
From a very young age, our parents made us feel responsible for their well-being and this is a great responsibility for a child to hold. Unconsciously, the process of blaming created in us a sense of guilt and so we grew up holding onto the conviction that our parents’ happiness depended on us and that it was our obligation to do everything in order to fulfill their wishes and make them happy. Because if we made them happy, then we deserved their love. And so the wound created by them blaming us for their own unhappiness became wider and deeper: we believed it entirely and implicitly, ending up living our lives with that worm inside of us. The consequences of this are devastating. Nevertheless, at the very moment when we ought to see and understand that our parents attitude was the cause of our problems, we are silent and don’t even allow ourselves the thought, because we fear that our reproach to our parents might be seen in a bad light by others but also by ourselves.
By doing this we cut off communication with ourselves, shutting out a deeper understanding of our problems, their root cause and possible solution(s). This affects our psycho-emotional state and physical functioning even more, and compromises our daily, concrete reality. Still we prefer to remain in the conviction that our parents have been “good”, or that they could not have done any different and therefore are not to blame for what they did. The result is that we live our lives with a feeling of bitterness toward our parents, whether we want it or not. Moreover, in this way, we allow them to continue to blame us for their unhappiness, and ultimately we re-create the same scenario with other people or our own children, which sees us in our turn become blamers of others. It is a vicious circle that works inside us, often unconsciously making us and those around us pay the consequences.
And yet, no matter how desperate the situation can seem, there is something we can do about it. Breaking the cycle is easy; it takes only our willingness to do it. We could start to look at blaming from another, more balanced, perspective.
We allow experiences in our lives, consciously or unconsciously, according to what we have inside us. If we learn how to identify those internal toxic unconscious reasons that allow unpleasant events and make us behave in compromising ways, we can improve our lives. This is because we will fully understand what drives our behavior, which will in its turn help us to see responsibilities to each other. More importantly, through this internal work we will free ourselves from the toxic parental emotional load and therefore no longer experience the painful past. In this way we become able to manage our own emotions in a healthy way and so step out of roles of blamer and blamed, to finally become people who are able to master our lives.
The problem with blaming is not blame itself but the toxic source and intention of it, which come from the pressure from our parents. When we fail to recognize or deny the damaging family influence, we continue to reproduce that fruitless way of living. We fake respect and love for them, which will be a way of covering up our anger and resentment toward them, and thence the impossibility of loving ourselves and creating a life that suits us, not to mention the consequences this has on our children.
If we admit that our parents have been responsible for our problems, it doesn’t mean that we are not respecting them, but that we give ourselves the chance to be free of the past, to forgive them, to learn our own successful life strategy and give to our children the possibility to grow in a healthy environment.
In conclusion, holding someone responsible for what happens to us is just a verbal confirmation of something that really occurred. The most important thing is that we are willing to see further than the blaming itself, to identify inside us what caused it, so that we can give ourselves the chance to become masters of our own lives and choose an efficient life strategy. Giving ourselves the possibility to discover the unconscious reasons of our behavior is the beginning of working toward our freedom, for a better world. We owe that to ourselves, our children and the coming generations.
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About the author
Elena Perella is NOT a therapist, a psychologist or a psychiatrist; she is a coach who focuses on helping clients indentify the real reasons behind their suffering and problems. Born and raised on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Elena is passionate about what she does, and with good reason. Elena coached herself through a severe depression, eating disorders and domestic violence and her experience has led her on a journey of discovery of how to break out all of these challenges. As a result she created Sentidu Life Coaching to help people experience their own transformation and break free in the areas they feel stuck.