News from Jude Bijou and Attitude Reconstruction™
Joy, Love, and Peace in 2017
Blame, Criticism, and "It's your fault." October 2017
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"My name's Louise. I'm highly sensitive to criticism and need a lot of nurturing."
"The employees have to assume a share of the blame for allowing the pension fund to become so big and tempting."
"I have only my selfie to blame."
Hello dear ones,
This month I revisit the world of blame. I find it amazing how popular the topic is in the world of cartooning. It just goes to show how pervasive finger-pointing and criticizing are. It was hard to pick just a few cartoons, so this newsletter is heavy in the world of "A picture (often with a caption) is worth a thousand words."
The pervasiveness of our president's communication style of name-calling, criticizing, and blaming has led me to go over strategies to deal with such demeaning behaviors. I shudder to think how our president is modeling and sanctioning this kind of communication, and what that is doing to feelings of connection in our country and around the world.
But first, some light fare...
Five Articles of Interest, Some with Visuals
I guess I'm out of it. I hadn't heard of Marc Maron until I read the article in
, the Sunday newspaper supplement, last Sunday. He is known as "Mr. Podcast." He chats with a neat mix of folks for 90 minute interviews twice a week.
Check it out.
Here's some amazing
in Japan that come to life after the rice harvest.
Three Videos Guaranteed to Bring a Smile!
First is a clever animated clip by Brene Brown on "Blame." The opening graphic is taken from this video.
Next, if you're looking for a good laugh, watch
talking with Ellen DeGeneres.
skit with Steve Carell, Justin Timberlake, and Jimmy Fallon always gets me smiling and laughing, no matter how many times I view it.
Blaming, Criticizing, and Finger-Pointing
The problem is even closer to home than what we witness in our politics. Chances are you've seen and heard an emotional manipulator around you. Perhaps you even live or work with someone who regularly pulls out their blame gun and sprays accusations on everyone but themselves. They get angry and indignant and go on and on about how stupid, ineffective, or lame others are. They use their verbal tirades to dismiss situations and ideas that are divergent to their position. Everyone else is responsible and wrong; they're right and know how to fix any problem. Or maybe they're more subtle, people discounting or ignoring what you have to say.
Finger-pointing is a behavior demonstrated by people targeting their anger at others rather than owning their own frustrations, because the world isn't the way they think it should be. Those folks control by intimidation. They don't like it when someone speaks up their truth if it's different from theirs.
They put people down to avoid looking at their shortcomings or recognizing their low self-esteem. Beneath every blamer is a person who doesn't truly feel good about themselves. This is good to remember so you don't take the subtle or not so subtle attacks personally.
In fact, anger is a normal reaction to injustices and violations. It is a pure bodily sensation, characterized by the impulse to strike out and destroy physically or verbally. It's a natural emotional expression but needs to be expressed constructively.
Being berated for spending too much money, not keeping the house clean enough, for the way we drive, or for a decision we made gets old. It takes a toll on our self-worth, health, and well-being. There are other destructive consequences. We become afraid and defensive, waiting for the next strike. Love takes a dive out the window. We can't help but take what the blamer says to heart, and get down on ourselves, feeling hollow, a bit numb, and sad. We're pissed off at being unjustly accused and demeaned.
Four Strategies When You're The Target of Blame
You can do something about people in your personal environment who exhibit negative behaviors, such as blaming, criticizing and name-calling. Here are successful strategies when you're the object of someones frustration and anger.
1. Don't take the bait and respond. Don't try to defend yourself and strike back with similar tactics. Let their comments roll off your back. Pretend they are speaking a foreign language or reframe their cruel words by reminding yourself that they are feeling the emotion of anger. You are merely the convenient target. The reality is you are fine. They have an awful style of communicating.
2. Excuse yourself and in a safe place identify the comment, criticism, or blame that really bothers you. Deal with your own anger, fear, and/or sadness physically and constructively when you think about the comment. That means express the emotional energy as a pure sensation.
For anger that means pound, stomp, yell nonsense words. While pounding hard, fast and with abandon, make sounds, oooowww, and keep to the facts, stating, "I just feel so angry. Angry. Angry." While moving out the emotional energy, it's imperative not to bad-mouth or focus on the blamer. Take a look at this short video to see it done effectively.
Take a tennis racket to your mattress or punch a pillow. Go for it until you are exhausted. Catch your breath and do it again, thinking about the comment but refrain from name calling or swearing.
For fear, shiver and shake, getting in touch with how scary it is being around a loose cannon. Keep shivering until you touch the fear and your body trembles on its own.
For sadness, allow yourself to cry, because it hurts to be so misunderstood, negatively viewed, and repeatedly not being seen for your true self.
3. Figure out what's true for you about the comment. What do you want to say about yourself? How does it feel to be targeted? For instance you might want to say, "I'm afraid you're going to be critical no matter what I say. I feel like I can't win. I can't get it right. I feel like I'm being unfairly attacked for minor things. I don't want to be attacked, because it makes me feel like shutting down. I don't like being constantly corrected. Your cruel words can ruin my whole day. I want to feel more love and more connected to you."
4. At a neutral time, speak out your truth. More than likely you will have to lovingly repeat your truth many times to counter their deflections and knee-jerk reactions. Stay strong and deal with specific incidents. Make it clear that it is up to them to change their behavior. Don't get distracted and clearly repeat your truth until you feel it is heard. If necessary set a boundary - say what you will do in the future if the blamer continues his barrage, such as leave the room, hang up the phone, break down and cry, etc.
End your communication with an appreciation of the blamer, thanking them for listening and acknowledging something you like in them.
If you follow and practice these guidelines, you will feel good about yourself for finally breaking the cycle, and calmly standing your ground to say what you've finally been bold enough to say and do.
I enjoy kidding others. I mean no harm. Are you suggesting I change how I relate to friends?
Perhaps it's time to think about the consequences of your kidding? You're having fun at the expense of others. What you say has a demeaning edge and hurts other people, causing them to become cautious around you. So while you are maybe getting a laugh, you are really building a wall. Connection and good feelings flee. Distance increases. What's more important? Loving, trusting, personal relationships or making yourself feel good at other's expense?
I'm sending you best wishes for a great kickoff to your fall season.
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