Information

Why do people blame others rather than take responsibility?

Why do people blame others rather than take responsibility?



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

In business classes we are told to be responsible and take responsibility for our action. Get mugged? Well, lock your door next time. That sort of thing.

But that's not how most humans behave. Humans blame others for their mistakes and problems they could have prevented. Why?

What's the benefit of blaming others compared to taking responsibility?


The Abilene Paradox is one of the situations in which individuals may blame others for their actions because that is how they perceived the situation. Consider this anecdote (video):

On a hot afternoon visiting in Coleman, Texas, the family is comfortably playing dominoes on a porch, until the father-in-law suggests that they take a trip to Abilene [53 miles north] for dinner. The wife says, "Sounds like a great idea." The husband, despite having reservations because the drive is long and hot, thinks that his preferences must be out-of-step with the group and says, "Sounds good to me. I just hope your mother wants to go." The mother-in-law then says, "Of course I want to go. I haven't been to Abilene in a long time." The drive is hot, dusty, and long. When they arrive at the cafeteria, the food is as bad as the drive.

They arrive back home four hours later, exhausted. One of them dishonestly says, "It was a great trip, wasn't it?" The mother-in-law says that, actually, she would rather have stayed home, but went along since the other three were so enthusiastic. The husband says, "I wasn't delighted to be doing what we were doing. I only went to satisfy the rest of you." The wife says, "I just went along to keep you happy. I would have had to be crazy to want to go out in the heat like that." The father-in-law then says that he only suggested it because he thought the others might be bored. The group sits back, perplexed that they together decided to take a trip which none of them wanted. They each would have preferred to sit comfortably, but did not admit to it when they still had time to enjoy the afternoon.

Nobody wanted to go, yet the group decision was contrary to everyone's personal opinion since every individual perceived that another individual had taken a decision, arguing against which would simply result in discord.

When the decision turns out to be bad, then everybody simply states what they initially believed which was that another individual of the group had clearly wanted to go, and they had simply consented to the decision. This of course, is one scenario, in which individuals may blame another (specific) person for a group decision.

The benefits of this can be explained in many ways. One of the ways to analyze the benefit is by using cognitive dissonance theory. In simple terms, when our behavior (or thinking) does not match up with our belief, it results in mental stress due to the incongruity of the situation. To counter or save ourselves from that incongruity, we either adjust our belief or alter our behavior(thinking). In this case, the act of taking the trip was against our belief, and hence taking responsibility (agreeing that the decision was yours) for the action would be incongruous. Therefore, we blame another individual for the group decision, as that is easier to process (congruent) and less mentally stressful.


Why Narcissists Always Blame Others

Narcissists like to externalize blame. It’s a fundamental feature of their modus operandi. Why do they do it? Traditional viewpoints assert they simply have to. As the theory goes, it would internally decimate them to fault themselves. It would cause emotional pain too great to bear. And it could crush their “fragile” egos. So, their unconscious mind puts up defenses, Particularly, defenses of denial and projection. They may know a mess has been made. But it can’t be because of them. It has to be someone or something else’s fault. These defenses supposedly keep them from feeling anxious or loathing themselves. But are these really the reasons why narcissists blame others? Many these days think not. At least not always.

As I’ve written about before, there are two kinds of narcissists. (See: Two Main Varieties of Narcissists.) And the theories above seem to fit one of those types, at least to some degree. But the majority of narcissists these days are of a different ilk. Some folks are just plain selfish and heartless. And such folks can also be quite cruel. They may blame others for “starting it,” deserving it, or for being “just as bad.” But they don’t unconsciously do it as a defense against inner pain. They do it to justify the pain they deliberately cause others. And they do it to look better than they know they really are.

Blame and Impression Management

Narcissists always have to be right. That means others have to be wrong. That is, unless those others agree with them. Some narcissists solidly believe in their superiority. Accordingly, they always try to assert it. They want only validation and vindication. And they can seek it with enough passion and conviction to make you to doubt. They can make you feel small. They can even make you feel crazy. That’s the “gaslighting” effect. (See also: Gaslighting Victims Question Their Own Sanity.) But the reason they blame is even more sinister.

It’s easy to call out the faults of others. We’re all flawed creatures. But narcissists go on the attack for a reason. They know how others really regard them. More importantly, deep down, they know how character-deficient they are. So, they build themselves up by tearing others down. It’s all part of the game of “impression management.” Now, some are fairly skilled at this game. And some are so charming and slick about it that others get seduced. They become enamored. But certain narcissists can be downright boorish. Their impression management tactics offend the sensible. But they can succeed with the naive, vulnerable, or equally disturbed.

Blame and Shame

The old thinking was that narcissists blame to avoid shame. And, as mentioned before, this can sometimes be the case. But many narcissists today have no shame. In fact, shame and empathy deficiencies define some narcissist’s pathology. (See: Malignant Narcissism.) So, the truth is they blame only to try and justify their attacks. Dare to offend them, and as they see it, you’re a fair target. They don’t care enough about what they’re doing. Nor do they care how it makes them look doing it. They lash out without compunction. And that’s because they lack both empathy and a sense of shame.

Tidbits

No new workshops are scheduled for this year. But some are being scheduled for January and March 2019. Check the Seminars page in a few weeks for details.

Podcasts of Character Matters are still available on the UCY.TV YouTube website. And I’ll soon be posting a link to the latest pilot podcast for the new program still in development.

As always, thanks for recommending my books and this blog to others.


Ten Reasons Why Some People Won’t Take Responsibility for Mistakes

1 – They Think it Will Benefit Them

Most of the time, people avoid taking responsibility for their mistakes because they think it will benefit them. It happens when the person can’t think of another solution or feel that they can’t handle it. They think that avoiding responsibility is easier than holding themselves accountable.

2 – They Have a Victim Mentality

Counselors reveal that this is sometimes caused by the person having a victim mentality. If someone has a victim mentality, they feel that bad things happen to them and that other people are to blame. They also believe that something is always preventing them from succeeding, so they don’t even try.

Oftentimes, they believe that there is no solution to their problem. The person gives up and believes that it didn’t work out because of the obstacle, rather than admitting it was because they didn’t try to find a solution.

3 – They Feel Powerless

People who don’t take responsibility for their mistakes also may feel powerless. They want things to go well, but it seems that they can’t do anything about their life to make them better. This is often because they think that change is impossible or that it will never work out.

4 – They Use Negative Self-Talk

Counselors also reveal that negative self-talk or self-thoughts contribute to this behavior. People believe that bad things only happen to them and that they deserve all of those bad things.

5 – They Fear Rejection and Feel Like No One Cares About Them

They often feel like no one cares about them, so they don’t want to admit their mistakes because they are afraid of further rejection. Their fear of making others angry or disappointed in them is too great to admit fault when it is necessary.

6 – They Lack Self-Confidence

Another reason for not being able to take responsibility is a lack of self-confidence or self-esteem. They may not think they are good enough or smart enough, and they won’t work on being better. Plus, they won’t try anything new.

7 – They Harbor Negative Feelings

Frustration, anger, and resentment can all contribute to someone not taking responsibility for mistakes, too. When these negative feelings take over, it feels better to blame someone else or think of how someone wronged you. They also don’t like to see other people being happy and successful.

8 – It’s a Defense Mechanism

Past trauma often contributes to not taking responsibility. It develops as a coping mechanism, and it can be hard to change that once the situation is over. When they think a situation will be challenging, they will deny responsibility to avoid dealing with the problem.

9 – They Feel Like They Are Losing Control

People who avoid taking responsibility would blame their behavior on someone else if they lost control. If they lost their temper or said something hurtful, they will blame the other people for making them say it. They do this because they feel like they have lost control and always need to always feel in control.

10 – They Have a Fragile Ego

This type of person wants to feel better than others and that they are right and others are wrong. To do this, they will blame their mistakes on others or make it seem like someone else caused them to fail.


Responsibility provides a sense of purpose

Avoiding responsibility destroys a sense of purpose. Purpose comes from a sense of contribution and connection to something larger than yourself. But first, it is necessary to take responsibility for yourself. By being the best version of yourself, you can then be the most helpful to others.

Being responsible for yourself

This requires taking care of your basic needs. In the recovery community, it is common to use the acronym, HALT. Are you hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? Regularly check in on your current state and address deficiencies where appropriate.

Another way to maintain self-responsibility is to organize the clutter in your physical environment and the chaos in your day-to-day life. Prioritize your sleep, nutrition, and exercise. If all of this sounds overwhelming, start small. As Jordan Peterson says, “Clean your damn room!” But as he also says, “Cleaning up your room involves cleaning up far more than your room.”

Doing something useful for yourself is the first step in reorienting yourself amidst the mental fog of purposelessness. As the fog begins to thin out, you can start to see beyond yourself. This leads to step two:

Being responsible within your family

Once you’re adequately useful to yourself and can help from a place of genuine giving, you can be useful to others close to you.

I mention genuine giving because many people try to be useful to others without addressing their own needs first. This often results in codependent relationships where you do things for others to fill a lack of self-esteem in yourself. It is an experience of toxic shame where we constantly feel the need to prove ourselves and receive external validation. This may feel like “taking responsibility,” but it is often unhelpful and is just feeding the internal tiger, masking underlying issues with self-worth.

See my article The Need to be Needed for an in-depth description of this interpersonal dynamic.

If you’ve worked through these personal areas and can engage in close interpersonal relationships based on genuine heartfelt giving, the next step is this:

Being responsible within the broader society

Being socially responsible can happen in various ways. Right now, it simply means staying home to prevent community spread of the viral infection.

During regular times, being socially responsible might take place in your work, volunteer roles, or leisure activities.

The key to maximizing your social responsibility is contributing in a way that fits your unique personal strengths. For example, if your strengths are working with people, and you value compassion, developing and applying these strengths allows you to maximally contribute socially.

A lack of fit between your strengths, values, and interests can hinder your level of usefulness in your work, resulting in a low sense of purpose within the role. Finding alignment between your abilities and your role requires first knowing your strengths and cultivating them.

Not cultivating and applying your unique strengths doesn’t just rob you of a sense of purpose, but it also robs the broader society of your potential contributions.


You can only grow if give yourself the correct feedback

Being objective when it comes to acknowledging a mistake is how we improve and develop. We don’t progress as human beings just to survive and arm ourselves against the world. We need to develop the ability to respond to life and to give ourselves feedback, avoiding the effects of low self-esteem or vanity.

There is no shame in making a mistake or failing at something. Only proper feedback on the causes allow us to build toward improvement. We do not grow by avoiding mistakes, but by analyzing their causes and recognizing weaknesses and limitations.


Psychology explains why so many leaders pass the buck—and who is really to blame

Leaders know all too well that with great power comes great responsibility. This mantra has been echoed by luminaries including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and even Spiderman.

It is the great charge of a leader to shoulder responsibility for making decisions that will have profound implications for many. But that doesn’t come naturally, at least not to most of us. Rather, our natural inclination is often to pass the buck to someone else.

While most people are comfortable making decisions when only their own outcomes are at stake, when faced with decisions that have the potential to affect others, psychology shows that people look for opportunities to delegate those decisions. This tendency is especially pronounced when those choices have potentially unappealing or unpopular consequences.

In a series of experiments, recently published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, we find that people are two or three times as likely to delegate an unappealing choice on behalf of other people than on their own behalf. Part of this may be strategic. Niccolo Machiavelli shrewdly advised, “Princes should delegate to others the enactment of unpopular measures and keep in their own hands the means of winning favors.” Delegating unappealing decisions can be an effective way of avoiding blame for negative outcomes.

But most people are not that Machiavellian, and avoiding blame is not the only reason why leaders pass the buck. When a decision has potentially negative consequences for other people, the psychological burden of responsibility for that decision is much greater than if it were only to affect oneself, and this can factor heavily into the calculus of whether and how a leader makes decisions.

We found evidence for this in one experiment in which we gave some people the ability to avoid blame by keeping their identities unknown to those for whom they were choosing. Participants were more likely to delegate a decision for someone else when their identity would be known than when it would not be, suggesting that blame plays a role in prompting delegation. But participants were also more likely to delegate when choosing for someone else than when choosing for themselves, regardless of anonymity. This suggests that the prospect of feeling personally responsible for someone else’s bad outcome is enough to drive many of us to delegate.

While passing the buck can be an effective means of self-protection, it can be bad news for the people who will be affected by the decision. Our findings suggest that there is no guarantee that these decisions will end up in the hands of a more capable decision maker. In one experiment, we presented participants with a choice that they could either make themselves or delegate to a coworker who did or did not have expertise into the decision. Although people were more likely to delegate to an expert than non-expert overall, when stuck with a choice between unappealing options, people delegated to anyone else who could assume responsibility and blame for the outcome—even if that person did not have any relevant expertise into the decision.

What people do seem to care about when considering potential surrogates is whether they have the authority to assume responsibility for the consequences of the decision. Participants in our experiments were less likely to delegate if they would still be held officially responsible for the outcomes of choices that others make. They also avoided delegating to lower-status people, regardless of who would be officially held responsible, because they believed they would still bear responsibility and blame if the choice turned out poorly.

Harry Truman alluded to this phenomenon when he famously said, “The buck stops here.” He understood that he was the person who would ultimately be responsible for any decision made by his staff or even the federal government at large. Other people could pass the buck to him, but there was no one to whom he could pass the buck. He even emblazoned these words on a plaque that he kept on his desk in the Oval Office as a daily reminder of this role and responsibility.

As Truman put it, “The president—whoever he is—has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.” Indeed, employees and citizens act as if this is the case. Presidential approval ratings tend to track Americans’ views of the economy, even though the president’s direct influence over the state of the economy is diffuse. The same principle applies to the heads of private companies: Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf resigned after widespread and bipartisan anger that he did not know about or do more to stop the company’s fraudulent sales practices. Even when choices are delegated, the buck stops at the top.

Perhaps, then, this is the key to encouraging leaders to take responsibility for tough decisions rather than pass the buck. Reminding those at the top that they will ultimately bear the responsibility and carry the blame for any choice made by people under them may encourage them to face challenging decisions head-on and exercise their best judgment when called upon to make choices that determine not just their own fate, but the fates of others.

The greatest leaders don’t need reminding of this in the first place—they recognize that bad decisions will fall on their shoulders, regardless of who makes them. Even greater are those who recognize this sacrifice and seek out that responsibility for the good of those who serve them, and of those they serve.


Discussion

Accepting blame when it is reasonably due or where it protects vulnerable others is what people with integrity do. And strangely, perhaps, many us accept blame or take it on ourselves when it is unreasonable to do so.

Unreasonable self-blame can be due to deep personal reasons that may go back to childhood or it may be Conditioned into us. We can counter this self-destructive tendency by noticing and stopping it by interventions from self-talk to deliberately avoiding such harmful situations.


Following are the personality traits of sociopaths:

-Dishonesty
-Rebellious without a cause
-Hasty
-Hostile and assertive
-Careless
-No consideration for others pain
-They lack the sense of safety when it comes to others.

Now that you are aware of the characteristics of sociopaths and narcissist, it’s time you sit down and see the number of boxes you can tick while thinking about a specific person. If some of the points match then it’s ok because we all have our different sets of imperfections.

But if the ticks are alarmingly high in number then take the red signs as a clear hint. They will do everything in their power to make you believe that the faults have always been in you. You need to protect your mental health and heart from such people because they won’t think twice before ruining it.

Now that you know what they do and how they do it, you might be intrigued to know as to why they do it to people who love them and we have an answer for that.


Boundaries, Blaming, and Enabling in Codependent Relationships

If you’re in a relationship that’s riddled with blame (or you grew up in a blaming family),you know how painful this experience is — and how blamedestroys relationships.

However, you may not know that displaced blame is the result of weak or confused boundaries.

I typically describe personal boundaries as a separation between two people. A boundary separates you from someone else helping you recognize that your feelings, thoughts, and actions are different than others and this separation means its okay for you to have your own feelings, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and needs, rather than absorbing other people’s feelings or conforming to their beliefs.

Boundaries also differentiate what youre responsible for and what other people are responsible for. When there are healthy, appropriate boundaries, each person in a relationship takes responsibility for their own feelings and actions.

However, when it’s not clear who is responsiblefor what, people get blamed for things they didn’t do and can’t control.

Healthy boundaries make it clear that were each responsible for our own feelings, thoughts, and actions.

Codependents and people-pleasers tend to absorb other people’s feelings (making them their own) and take too much responsibility for making other people feel better or fixing their problems. And, not surprisingly, codependents tend to choose partners and friends who unload their negative feelings and problems onto others and dont take responsibility for their actions. So, we end up with a perfectly matched dysfunctional relationship one partner is taking too much responsibility and one is not taking enough.

When boundaries are weak or confused, there is blame. You get blamed for things you didnt do, and youre held responsible for things that you couldnt control. Heres an example of how this happens:

Freddy sleeps through his alarm and is going to be late to work. Instead of taking responsibility for his own actions (not getting up on time), he blames Linda. I cant believe you didnt wake me up, he rants. Im going to be late because of you! Since Freddy and Linda didnt have an agreement that she would wake him up, it isnt Lindas job to make sure her husband gets to work on time. However, since Linda is codependent, she accepts responsibility for not getting Freddy up absorbs his anger and spends the day angry at herself for causing Freddy to be late to work.

Heres another example of shifting the responsibility and blame:

Tyler discovers that his wife, Maria, has been texting a male colleague late at night, sharing very personal things and pictures of herself. Tyler thinks its inappropriate and he feels hurt and angry. He confronts Maria about it and her response is to minimize it and blame Tyler. She says, Why are you making such a big deal about this? Youre never home anyway, so what do you expect me to do? Maybe if I wasnt so lonely, I wouldnt be talking to James. Maria is not taking responsibility for her actions (texting James) or her feelings (loneliness). Instead, shes trying to make Tyler responsible for her feelings and choices.

In dysfunctional families, theres frequently displaced blame and inappropriate expectations about who is responsible for what. For example, abusers will blame their victims claiming you made me hit you or its your fault Im in jail rather than taking responsibility for their own actions.

And in dysfunctional families, children are often expected to take on adult responsibilities or fix adult problems (paying bills, watching younger siblings, being moms confidant or comforting her after dads rage). And children get blamed for things they cant control (like Dad losing his job or drinking too much).

If youre like Linda and have codependent traits or grew up in a dysfunctional family with confused boundaries, youre probably quick to accept blame even when you didnt do anything wrong or you couldnt control what happened.

Were willing to accept blame because we learned that:

  • were responsible for what other people do
  • our purpose is to serve others and make them happy
  • our feelings dont matter
  • were inadequate

Weak boundaries, lack of differentiation between yourself and others, and confusion about who is responsible for what, leads to emotional abandonment, shame, and feelings of inadequacy.

When your parents dont tend to your emotional needs when they dont see that you have feelings and needs that are separate from their own you feel abandoned and unimportant. For example, if you were expected to parent your parents, the relationship was all about you meeting their needs, doing what they wanted, and taking on their responsibilities they werent tending to your needs as parents should.

This is unfair to children. It saddles them with unrealistic expectations and the responsibility of taking care of their parents and fixing their problems. And children are bound to fail because these are unrealistic expectations — but since they dont know that children shouldnt be responsible for their parents, they end up feeling inadequate, flawed, and ashamed.

When boundaries are confused, children feel unimportant because the parent-child relationship has become so twisted that its all about meeting the parent’s needs and theres no room for the child to be himself to have feelings, interests, thoughts, and needs that are different than his parents. Distorted boundaries tell children that they dont matter, their only purpose is to take care of others.

Most of us want to help our friends and family members when theyre having a hard time and this is usually a good thing. However, if we have weak boundaries, were likely to feel responsible for other peoples feelings and problems making them our responsibility to solve — when, in fact, they arent our responsibility and they arent in our control.

Janas mother overspent and doesnt have enough money to pay her rent. She complains to Jana incessantly, cries, and makes hopeless statements like What will I do? Theyll probably kick me out and Ill end up homeless. Jana hates seeing her mother so upset and steps into problem-solving mode suggesting she pick up an extra shift at work, offering to create a budget with her, and nagging her to return some recent purchases. Janas mother continues to sulk and cry but doesnt do anything to solve her financial problems. Jana feels guilty that she doesnt have the money to pay for her mothers rent, so she decides to cancel her daughters guitar lessons in order to save money so she can help her mom.

Jana and her mother dont have clear boundaries Jana is taking too much responsibility for her mothers problem while her mother isnt taking enough responsibility. Since Janas mother is responsible for paying her own rent, she should be the one looking for more ways to save or earn more money. Instead, Jana enables her to overspend by coming up with the money for her.

In the long-run, this will create more problems between Jana and her mother. Jana will probably spend huge amounts of time and energy trying to solve her moms problem only to end up resentful that her mother didnt take her advice or make any changes. And if Jana stops rescuing her mother, shell probably be blamed because her mother thinks it is Janas responsibility to solve her problems.

Healthy boundaries are essential in all relationships. They reflect an understanding that were each responsible for our own feelings, thoughts, and actions.

If boundaries are a challenge in your relationships, you can start to strengthen them by making a list of what youre responsible for and what you can control. For codependents, this list is usually much shorter than we think! And we have to remember that weve been conditioned to feel responsible for others when it isnt necessary or appropriate, and others are well-practiced at foisting their responsibilities and problems onto us. And although its hard to take responsibility for our own feelings and actions (and not take responsibility for other peoples feelings and actions), doing so will help you create healthy boundaries and fulfilling relationships.


Boundaries, Blaming, and Enabling in Codependent Relationships

If you’re in a relationship that’s riddled with blame (or you grew up in a blaming family),you know how painful this experience is — and how blamedestroys relationships.

However, you may not know that displaced blame is the result of weak or confused boundaries.

I typically describe personal boundaries as a separation between two people. A boundary separates you from someone else helping you recognize that your feelings, thoughts, and actions are different than others and this separation means its okay for you to have your own feelings, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and needs, rather than absorbing other people’s feelings or conforming to their beliefs.

Boundaries also differentiate what youre responsible for and what other people are responsible for. When there are healthy, appropriate boundaries, each person in a relationship takes responsibility for their own feelings and actions.

However, when it’s not clear who is responsiblefor what, people get blamed for things they didn’t do and can’t control.

Healthy boundaries make it clear that were each responsible for our own feelings, thoughts, and actions.

Codependents and people-pleasers tend to absorb other people’s feelings (making them their own) and take too much responsibility for making other people feel better or fixing their problems. And, not surprisingly, codependents tend to choose partners and friends who unload their negative feelings and problems onto others and dont take responsibility for their actions. So, we end up with a perfectly matched dysfunctional relationship one partner is taking too much responsibility and one is not taking enough.

When boundaries are weak or confused, there is blame. You get blamed for things you didnt do, and youre held responsible for things that you couldnt control. Heres an example of how this happens:

Freddy sleeps through his alarm and is going to be late to work. Instead of taking responsibility for his own actions (not getting up on time), he blames Linda. I cant believe you didnt wake me up, he rants. Im going to be late because of you! Since Freddy and Linda didnt have an agreement that she would wake him up, it isnt Lindas job to make sure her husband gets to work on time. However, since Linda is codependent, she accepts responsibility for not getting Freddy up absorbs his anger and spends the day angry at herself for causing Freddy to be late to work.

Heres another example of shifting the responsibility and blame:

Tyler discovers that his wife, Maria, has been texting a male colleague late at night, sharing very personal things and pictures of herself. Tyler thinks its inappropriate and he feels hurt and angry. He confronts Maria about it and her response is to minimize it and blame Tyler. She says, Why are you making such a big deal about this? Youre never home anyway, so what do you expect me to do? Maybe if I wasnt so lonely, I wouldnt be talking to James. Maria is not taking responsibility for her actions (texting James) or her feelings (loneliness). Instead, shes trying to make Tyler responsible for her feelings and choices.

In dysfunctional families, theres frequently displaced blame and inappropriate expectations about who is responsible for what. For example, abusers will blame their victims claiming you made me hit you or its your fault Im in jail rather than taking responsibility for their own actions.

And in dysfunctional families, children are often expected to take on adult responsibilities or fix adult problems (paying bills, watching younger siblings, being moms confidant or comforting her after dads rage). And children get blamed for things they cant control (like Dad losing his job or drinking too much).

If youre like Linda and have codependent traits or grew up in a dysfunctional family with confused boundaries, youre probably quick to accept blame even when you didnt do anything wrong or you couldnt control what happened.

Were willing to accept blame because we learned that:

  • were responsible for what other people do
  • our purpose is to serve others and make them happy
  • our feelings dont matter
  • were inadequate

Weak boundaries, lack of differentiation between yourself and others, and confusion about who is responsible for what, leads to emotional abandonment, shame, and feelings of inadequacy.

When your parents dont tend to your emotional needs when they dont see that you have feelings and needs that are separate from their own you feel abandoned and unimportant. For example, if you were expected to parent your parents, the relationship was all about you meeting their needs, doing what they wanted, and taking on their responsibilities they werent tending to your needs as parents should.

This is unfair to children. It saddles them with unrealistic expectations and the responsibility of taking care of their parents and fixing their problems. And children are bound to fail because these are unrealistic expectations — but since they dont know that children shouldnt be responsible for their parents, they end up feeling inadequate, flawed, and ashamed.

When boundaries are confused, children feel unimportant because the parent-child relationship has become so twisted that its all about meeting the parent’s needs and theres no room for the child to be himself to have feelings, interests, thoughts, and needs that are different than his parents. Distorted boundaries tell children that they dont matter, their only purpose is to take care of others.

Most of us want to help our friends and family members when theyre having a hard time and this is usually a good thing. However, if we have weak boundaries, were likely to feel responsible for other peoples feelings and problems making them our responsibility to solve — when, in fact, they arent our responsibility and they arent in our control.

Janas mother overspent and doesnt have enough money to pay her rent. She complains to Jana incessantly, cries, and makes hopeless statements like What will I do? Theyll probably kick me out and Ill end up homeless. Jana hates seeing her mother so upset and steps into problem-solving mode suggesting she pick up an extra shift at work, offering to create a budget with her, and nagging her to return some recent purchases. Janas mother continues to sulk and cry but doesnt do anything to solve her financial problems. Jana feels guilty that she doesnt have the money to pay for her mothers rent, so she decides to cancel her daughters guitar lessons in order to save money so she can help her mom.

Jana and her mother dont have clear boundaries Jana is taking too much responsibility for her mothers problem while her mother isnt taking enough responsibility. Since Janas mother is responsible for paying her own rent, she should be the one looking for more ways to save or earn more money. Instead, Jana enables her to overspend by coming up with the money for her.

In the long-run, this will create more problems between Jana and her mother. Jana will probably spend huge amounts of time and energy trying to solve her moms problem only to end up resentful that her mother didnt take her advice or make any changes. And if Jana stops rescuing her mother, shell probably be blamed because her mother thinks it is Janas responsibility to solve her problems.

Healthy boundaries are essential in all relationships. They reflect an understanding that were each responsible for our own feelings, thoughts, and actions.

If boundaries are a challenge in your relationships, you can start to strengthen them by making a list of what youre responsible for and what you can control. For codependents, this list is usually much shorter than we think! And we have to remember that weve been conditioned to feel responsible for others when it isnt necessary or appropriate, and others are well-practiced at foisting their responsibilities and problems onto us. And although its hard to take responsibility for our own feelings and actions (and not take responsibility for other peoples feelings and actions), doing so will help you create healthy boundaries and fulfilling relationships.


Discussion

Accepting blame when it is reasonably due or where it protects vulnerable others is what people with integrity do. And strangely, perhaps, many us accept blame or take it on ourselves when it is unreasonable to do so.

Unreasonable self-blame can be due to deep personal reasons that may go back to childhood or it may be Conditioned into us. We can counter this self-destructive tendency by noticing and stopping it by interventions from self-talk to deliberately avoiding such harmful situations.


Why Narcissists Always Blame Others

Narcissists like to externalize blame. It’s a fundamental feature of their modus operandi. Why do they do it? Traditional viewpoints assert they simply have to. As the theory goes, it would internally decimate them to fault themselves. It would cause emotional pain too great to bear. And it could crush their “fragile” egos. So, their unconscious mind puts up defenses, Particularly, defenses of denial and projection. They may know a mess has been made. But it can’t be because of them. It has to be someone or something else’s fault. These defenses supposedly keep them from feeling anxious or loathing themselves. But are these really the reasons why narcissists blame others? Many these days think not. At least not always.

As I’ve written about before, there are two kinds of narcissists. (See: Two Main Varieties of Narcissists.) And the theories above seem to fit one of those types, at least to some degree. But the majority of narcissists these days are of a different ilk. Some folks are just plain selfish and heartless. And such folks can also be quite cruel. They may blame others for “starting it,” deserving it, or for being “just as bad.” But they don’t unconsciously do it as a defense against inner pain. They do it to justify the pain they deliberately cause others. And they do it to look better than they know they really are.

Blame and Impression Management

Narcissists always have to be right. That means others have to be wrong. That is, unless those others agree with them. Some narcissists solidly believe in their superiority. Accordingly, they always try to assert it. They want only validation and vindication. And they can seek it with enough passion and conviction to make you to doubt. They can make you feel small. They can even make you feel crazy. That’s the “gaslighting” effect. (See also: Gaslighting Victims Question Their Own Sanity.) But the reason they blame is even more sinister.

It’s easy to call out the faults of others. We’re all flawed creatures. But narcissists go on the attack for a reason. They know how others really regard them. More importantly, deep down, they know how character-deficient they are. So, they build themselves up by tearing others down. It’s all part of the game of “impression management.” Now, some are fairly skilled at this game. And some are so charming and slick about it that others get seduced. They become enamored. But certain narcissists can be downright boorish. Their impression management tactics offend the sensible. But they can succeed with the naive, vulnerable, or equally disturbed.

Blame and Shame

The old thinking was that narcissists blame to avoid shame. And, as mentioned before, this can sometimes be the case. But many narcissists today have no shame. In fact, shame and empathy deficiencies define some narcissist’s pathology. (See: Malignant Narcissism.) So, the truth is they blame only to try and justify their attacks. Dare to offend them, and as they see it, you’re a fair target. They don’t care enough about what they’re doing. Nor do they care how it makes them look doing it. They lash out without compunction. And that’s because they lack both empathy and a sense of shame.

Tidbits

No new workshops are scheduled for this year. But some are being scheduled for January and March 2019. Check the Seminars page in a few weeks for details.

Podcasts of Character Matters are still available on the UCY.TV YouTube website. And I’ll soon be posting a link to the latest pilot podcast for the new program still in development.

As always, thanks for recommending my books and this blog to others.


You can only grow if give yourself the correct feedback

Being objective when it comes to acknowledging a mistake is how we improve and develop. We don’t progress as human beings just to survive and arm ourselves against the world. We need to develop the ability to respond to life and to give ourselves feedback, avoiding the effects of low self-esteem or vanity.

There is no shame in making a mistake or failing at something. Only proper feedback on the causes allow us to build toward improvement. We do not grow by avoiding mistakes, but by analyzing their causes and recognizing weaknesses and limitations.


Following are the personality traits of sociopaths:

-Dishonesty
-Rebellious without a cause
-Hasty
-Hostile and assertive
-Careless
-No consideration for others pain
-They lack the sense of safety when it comes to others.

Now that you are aware of the characteristics of sociopaths and narcissist, it’s time you sit down and see the number of boxes you can tick while thinking about a specific person. If some of the points match then it’s ok because we all have our different sets of imperfections.

But if the ticks are alarmingly high in number then take the red signs as a clear hint. They will do everything in their power to make you believe that the faults have always been in you. You need to protect your mental health and heart from such people because they won’t think twice before ruining it.

Now that you know what they do and how they do it, you might be intrigued to know as to why they do it to people who love them and we have an answer for that.


Ten Reasons Why Some People Won’t Take Responsibility for Mistakes

1 – They Think it Will Benefit Them

Most of the time, people avoid taking responsibility for their mistakes because they think it will benefit them. It happens when the person can’t think of another solution or feel that they can’t handle it. They think that avoiding responsibility is easier than holding themselves accountable.

2 – They Have a Victim Mentality

Counselors reveal that this is sometimes caused by the person having a victim mentality. If someone has a victim mentality, they feel that bad things happen to them and that other people are to blame. They also believe that something is always preventing them from succeeding, so they don’t even try.

Oftentimes, they believe that there is no solution to their problem. The person gives up and believes that it didn’t work out because of the obstacle, rather than admitting it was because they didn’t try to find a solution.

3 – They Feel Powerless

People who don’t take responsibility for their mistakes also may feel powerless. They want things to go well, but it seems that they can’t do anything about their life to make them better. This is often because they think that change is impossible or that it will never work out.

4 – They Use Negative Self-Talk

Counselors also reveal that negative self-talk or self-thoughts contribute to this behavior. People believe that bad things only happen to them and that they deserve all of those bad things.

5 – They Fear Rejection and Feel Like No One Cares About Them

They often feel like no one cares about them, so they don’t want to admit their mistakes because they are afraid of further rejection. Their fear of making others angry or disappointed in them is too great to admit fault when it is necessary.

6 – They Lack Self-Confidence

Another reason for not being able to take responsibility is a lack of self-confidence or self-esteem. They may not think they are good enough or smart enough, and they won’t work on being better. Plus, they won’t try anything new.

7 – They Harbor Negative Feelings

Frustration, anger, and resentment can all contribute to someone not taking responsibility for mistakes, too. When these negative feelings take over, it feels better to blame someone else or think of how someone wronged you. They also don’t like to see other people being happy and successful.

8 – It’s a Defense Mechanism

Past trauma often contributes to not taking responsibility. It develops as a coping mechanism, and it can be hard to change that once the situation is over. When they think a situation will be challenging, they will deny responsibility to avoid dealing with the problem.

9 – They Feel Like They Are Losing Control

People who avoid taking responsibility would blame their behavior on someone else if they lost control. If they lost their temper or said something hurtful, they will blame the other people for making them say it. They do this because they feel like they have lost control and always need to always feel in control.

10 – They Have a Fragile Ego

This type of person wants to feel better than others and that they are right and others are wrong. To do this, they will blame their mistakes on others or make it seem like someone else caused them to fail.


Stop Blaming Other People and Pick Up a Mirror

Do you know someone who is constantly blaming everyone else for his/hers misfortunes? Someone who is convinced and would like you and everyone around them to believe that every unfortunate situation that has happened to them is everyone's fault, but their own? If so, then what you might want to know is that their only hope is to stop blaming, and pick up a mirror.

It's very common for people to "cast stones" and blame others for the problems in their life - a possible defense mechanism people use to cope with problems. And why wouldn't we want to find fault -- especially if the fault is no fault of your own, but someone else's.

The truth of the matter is while blaming others may make us feel better about ourselves in the long run we become disempowered, and it prevents us from living our full potential. Further if we never look within for the solutions to our problems, how can we learn from our mistakes? This may be why some people create luck while others stay stuck!

When we deflect blame onto others, what we are really doing is shifting our attention on to someone else so that not only is someone else responsible for our issues, but we also don't have to reflect on our part in the problem.

Everyone has had an obstacles arise in his or hers life at one time or another. But what allows us to work through obstacles, and to find viable solutions is our ability to reflect, and that means picking up a mirror and taking a look at our role in these dilemma's.

For instance, right before a problem occurs there are always signals alerting us to something that we need to pay attention to. But, what happens for some people is that they ignore the signs - they feel lost, confused or overwhelmed - and they simply avoid the issue, thereby missing the opportunity to identity and resolve their problems.

It's only as we learn to face our problems that our problems get simpler and easier to manage when they arise. Here is a six-step process I guide my client's through to help them stop blaming, look in the mirror and work through their problems:

1. Take a look at how you're contributing to your problem: When we can see what we could have done differently to better our situation we not only create the space to learn and grow from the situation, but we feel more empowered in the process.

2. Try to relive the situation, but this time instead of placing the blame on someone else, take FULL responsibility for your actions and feelings: When we take full responsibility for our actions or inactions -- whether anyone else is at fault or not -- we allow ourselves to learn, grow and emerge from past, present or future problems that resemble the current situation.

3. Pay attention to the signs and signals rather than ignoring or avoiding them: When we pay attention to the signs we can address the matter should it reoccur or we can prevent that issue from reoccurring because we allowed ourselves to learn and grow from the experience.

4. Be more forgiving and understanding: Many times we blame others because we lack the ability to understand or forgive ourselves for our misfortunes. However, the only way to expand our way of thinking, we must face any challenge that may arise so that we have the knowledge and the experience that is required to emerge and move past it.

5. Ask yourself what you would do differently the next time this problem occurs: Many times we will encounter the same problem over and over again until we can appreciate and learn the lesson that needs to be learned. The next time a problem occurs, rather than ignoring it, come up with a plausible solution.

Dealing with our problems may be frustrating, but remember, as we get better at problem solving, we grow in wisdom we become more creative, and we express our full potential.


Psychology explains why so many leaders pass the buck—and who is really to blame

Leaders know all too well that with great power comes great responsibility. This mantra has been echoed by luminaries including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and even Spiderman.

It is the great charge of a leader to shoulder responsibility for making decisions that will have profound implications for many. But that doesn’t come naturally, at least not to most of us. Rather, our natural inclination is often to pass the buck to someone else.

While most people are comfortable making decisions when only their own outcomes are at stake, when faced with decisions that have the potential to affect others, psychology shows that people look for opportunities to delegate those decisions. This tendency is especially pronounced when those choices have potentially unappealing or unpopular consequences.

In a series of experiments, recently published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, we find that people are two or three times as likely to delegate an unappealing choice on behalf of other people than on their own behalf. Part of this may be strategic. Niccolo Machiavelli shrewdly advised, “Princes should delegate to others the enactment of unpopular measures and keep in their own hands the means of winning favors.” Delegating unappealing decisions can be an effective way of avoiding blame for negative outcomes.

But most people are not that Machiavellian, and avoiding blame is not the only reason why leaders pass the buck. When a decision has potentially negative consequences for other people, the psychological burden of responsibility for that decision is much greater than if it were only to affect oneself, and this can factor heavily into the calculus of whether and how a leader makes decisions.

We found evidence for this in one experiment in which we gave some people the ability to avoid blame by keeping their identities unknown to those for whom they were choosing. Participants were more likely to delegate a decision for someone else when their identity would be known than when it would not be, suggesting that blame plays a role in prompting delegation. But participants were also more likely to delegate when choosing for someone else than when choosing for themselves, regardless of anonymity. This suggests that the prospect of feeling personally responsible for someone else’s bad outcome is enough to drive many of us to delegate.

While passing the buck can be an effective means of self-protection, it can be bad news for the people who will be affected by the decision. Our findings suggest that there is no guarantee that these decisions will end up in the hands of a more capable decision maker. In one experiment, we presented participants with a choice that they could either make themselves or delegate to a coworker who did or did not have expertise into the decision. Although people were more likely to delegate to an expert than non-expert overall, when stuck with a choice between unappealing options, people delegated to anyone else who could assume responsibility and blame for the outcome—even if that person did not have any relevant expertise into the decision.

What people do seem to care about when considering potential surrogates is whether they have the authority to assume responsibility for the consequences of the decision. Participants in our experiments were less likely to delegate if they would still be held officially responsible for the outcomes of choices that others make. They also avoided delegating to lower-status people, regardless of who would be officially held responsible, because they believed they would still bear responsibility and blame if the choice turned out poorly.

Harry Truman alluded to this phenomenon when he famously said, “The buck stops here.” He understood that he was the person who would ultimately be responsible for any decision made by his staff or even the federal government at large. Other people could pass the buck to him, but there was no one to whom he could pass the buck. He even emblazoned these words on a plaque that he kept on his desk in the Oval Office as a daily reminder of this role and responsibility.

As Truman put it, “The president—whoever he is—has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.” Indeed, employees and citizens act as if this is the case. Presidential approval ratings tend to track Americans’ views of the economy, even though the president’s direct influence over the state of the economy is diffuse. The same principle applies to the heads of private companies: Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf resigned after widespread and bipartisan anger that he did not know about or do more to stop the company’s fraudulent sales practices. Even when choices are delegated, the buck stops at the top.

Perhaps, then, this is the key to encouraging leaders to take responsibility for tough decisions rather than pass the buck. Reminding those at the top that they will ultimately bear the responsibility and carry the blame for any choice made by people under them may encourage them to face challenging decisions head-on and exercise their best judgment when called upon to make choices that determine not just their own fate, but the fates of others.

The greatest leaders don’t need reminding of this in the first place—they recognize that bad decisions will fall on their shoulders, regardless of who makes them. Even greater are those who recognize this sacrifice and seek out that responsibility for the good of those who serve them, and of those they serve.


Responsibility provides a sense of purpose

Avoiding responsibility destroys a sense of purpose. Purpose comes from a sense of contribution and connection to something larger than yourself. But first, it is necessary to take responsibility for yourself. By being the best version of yourself, you can then be the most helpful to others.

Being responsible for yourself

This requires taking care of your basic needs. In the recovery community, it is common to use the acronym, HALT. Are you hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? Regularly check in on your current state and address deficiencies where appropriate.

Another way to maintain self-responsibility is to organize the clutter in your physical environment and the chaos in your day-to-day life. Prioritize your sleep, nutrition, and exercise. If all of this sounds overwhelming, start small. As Jordan Peterson says, “Clean your damn room!” But as he also says, “Cleaning up your room involves cleaning up far more than your room.”

Doing something useful for yourself is the first step in reorienting yourself amidst the mental fog of purposelessness. As the fog begins to thin out, you can start to see beyond yourself. This leads to step two:

Being responsible within your family

Once you’re adequately useful to yourself and can help from a place of genuine giving, you can be useful to others close to you.

I mention genuine giving because many people try to be useful to others without addressing their own needs first. This often results in codependent relationships where you do things for others to fill a lack of self-esteem in yourself. It is an experience of toxic shame where we constantly feel the need to prove ourselves and receive external validation. This may feel like “taking responsibility,” but it is often unhelpful and is just feeding the internal tiger, masking underlying issues with self-worth.

See my article The Need to be Needed for an in-depth description of this interpersonal dynamic.

If you’ve worked through these personal areas and can engage in close interpersonal relationships based on genuine heartfelt giving, the next step is this:

Being responsible within the broader society

Being socially responsible can happen in various ways. Right now, it simply means staying home to prevent community spread of the viral infection.

During regular times, being socially responsible might take place in your work, volunteer roles, or leisure activities.

The key to maximizing your social responsibility is contributing in a way that fits your unique personal strengths. For example, if your strengths are working with people, and you value compassion, developing and applying these strengths allows you to maximally contribute socially.

A lack of fit between your strengths, values, and interests can hinder your level of usefulness in your work, resulting in a low sense of purpose within the role. Finding alignment between your abilities and your role requires first knowing your strengths and cultivating them.

Not cultivating and applying your unique strengths doesn’t just rob you of a sense of purpose, but it also robs the broader society of your potential contributions.


Watch the video: Όταν το φλερτ γίνεται εφιάλτης. Πώς αντιμετωπίζουμε γνωστικά την απόρριψη; (August 2022).