Monday, January 31, 2011
The Blame Game...
There is much discussion of late with regards to the true nature of ‘reality’ and what it means to be human. Often we are told by the masters of self that our world is merely a reflection of our own thoughts and feelings and I wonder is there tangible physical proof of this wide held ancient belief. I think that this universal truth is never so evident than in our relationships to those who are closest to us. It is often said that a smile may be passed onto another, that a life lived in peace and harmony will in turn bring a sense of peace to those touched by that life. We see it all the time, in the beauty of a kind word or good deed, a smile offered to a stranger; the proof as they say is in the pudding and once all the ingredients of a happy life are put together it is easy to see what such a life is able to create through the simple act of merely being. As with all things in our world, a world built on balance there is however a part of this universal law that produces the opposite effect and that is the reflection of our own fears and doubts manifested in how we interact and react to those around us.
Although it may seem too complex a theory to some when we discuss it in terms of lower and higher vibrations there is a very basic natural truth in the way people respond to people. They do so as a direct result of how they feel about themselves. As difficult as it is to believe it is in fact a very simple and easy to understand principal that once reflected on and understood can change the way anger and resentment when experienced can affect you and those you love.
One of our most commonly used forms of self destruction is a little past time that humans delight all too often in playing; a little game called blame. Think back to the last time you had an argument with somebody close to you, and dissect not only how the argument played out but how the argument began in the first place. Explore what issues seemed at the time to be the cause and then dive deeper into the emotion and events that lead up to that argument; you may find that it was in fact your own insecurities that allowed another’s actions to cause your own negative and aggressive reaction. Simply put, a mild comment made by another when married with our own doubts can manifest into a defensive accusation by us.
Say for example there is a young married couple and as is often the case one or the other has put aside their goals or ambitions so that the other may in turn achieve theirs. This is a common thing as all good relationships are built on give and take. One is working full time, the other going to school and relying for the moment on their partner to cover the cost of their living expenses. Perhaps the person who is paying the bills is not precisely happy in their line of work yet they have chosen to remain there as it is a stable source of income that provides a safety net of security for the family. An opportunity comes up for the individual to leave their job and go into a field that is more to their liking but the amount of income will be less and if the chance is taken it may interfere financially with the comfort level within the home. The person has a choice, take the job and with it the risk of not having a way to cover all the expenses in the home or stick out the old job a while longer until their partner is finished school and able to contribute more to the household. It’s really not a hard call to make and most would stay in the old job in the interest of supporting the dreams of the one they love. It is a sacrifice made knowing full well the costs of the sacrifice and it is very likely that there will be no ill will harboured by the person working because it is an act done out of love for another. Both parties are aware of the sacrifice and both have no doubt had to consider the costs and emotions that come with the choice being made. A few months go by, the student is still in school and the person who is working is finding it exceedingly more difficult to be happy with regards to the environment they work in. As relationships go it is expected that when one is having a bad day, one will vent occasionally to the one person they trust the most, the person they share their life and their home with. The problem lies in that the student is well aware of the position the other is in at work and may be harbouring some deep seeded (though unwarranted guilt) with regards to being responsible on some level for the others misery. Sadly this can lead to a defensive attitude when it comes time for the other to unload their issues and concerns, and a benign comment not intended to be an attack can seem to the other person to be an accusation. i.e.: the working partner is discussing their troubles at work and muses that they will be glad when the other is done school so they can explore other options and the student immediately fires back a comment about ‘if it is such a burden the I will just quit’...
Now where is the anger coming from? Certainly it is not due to an ungrateful attitude towards the person who has made the sacrifice, nor is it based on the fact that there is an attack being made on the student by the partner who is working. For if both parties were working one or the other discussing an unhappy situation at work would not be uncomfortable for the other, in fact the outcome would be entirely different as it would be natural for one partner to feel protective of the other and would more than likely agree that ‘yes – your job sucks – maybe it is time to go’...
Because of the situation however it has suddenly become unsafe to discuss this topic and it would seem that the person who has done the giving must ‘suck it up’ and not mention the fact that they might for the moment not be particularly happy doing what they are doing. Of course the argument can be made that the choice has already been made and the person who is working having made the choice should not be complaining about the choice made yet I argue that where is there harm in discussing the repercussions and costs of choices made. Is it such a sin to make such statements? To say ‘yes, I gave up something I wanted for the sake of somebody else and now I am paying the price’; why is it wrong to do so? Perhaps it boils down simply to the fact that the receiver is not comfortable with the sacrifice made, and although that seems a far stretch to some it is not so hard to imagine if the person who is going to school is feeling guilty about the other person having to work in a place they do not like then they may become very defensive and irritable at the mention of the others unhappiness as they see it as a reflection of their own inability to provide for themselves.
The truth is most of the time this defence mechanism is not needed, if you take the time to really consider the spirit with which something was done you can actually appreciate the sacrifice made or the gift given and do your best to give back as you are able. This could be as simply a thing as hearing the other person out, letting them unload and allowing them to discuss and explain their own discomfort without assuming that they are doing so with the intent of making you feel as if you owe them something.
It is an odd cycle this thing we call blame, for the person working can certainly NOT blame the person who is going to school for their unhappiness at work since it was the choice of the individual and made in a state of full awareness of the price that had to be paid. Nor can the student blame the other for needing an outlet and an ear for their frustrations at work as it is part of our interactions with others that we naturally share our troubles with those we love. So how do we stop such a destructive cycle? By being aware of how it happens and what it is about our own emotions that allows us to feel as if others are attacking and accusing. For in the game of life what it really boils down to at the end of the day is that you cannot control another’s actions but you can control your own reactions and if you allow your own fears and insecurities to get in the way of an open, understanding, supportive and communicative relationship then quite frankly you have nobody to blame but yourself.
Jean Victoria Norloch