Addiction to Blame

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2004-07-07 00:26

Allen consulted with me because his wife of 18 years had threatened to leave him if he didn't stop blaming her all the time. He admitted to frequently blaming her in a variety of situations. He blamed her if he thought she made a mistake, if he thought she was wrong about something, if he was feeling alone, or even if he had a bad day at work. He blamed her for asking him questions when he didn't know the answer. He would sometimes even blame her if his golf game was off. He always blamed her when he felt judged by her, or when he didn't get her approval. While he freely admitted that he blamed her, he couldn't seem to stop, and he had no idea why he blamed her.

As I explored various situations with Allen, it became apparent that he was not just blaming his wife. Allen was constantly blaming and judging himself. He would verbally beat himself up for mistakes, telling himself things like, "I'm such a jerk," and would often say very negative things to himself, such as, "Things will never get any better," or "I'm just a loser," or "I'm a big disappointment to myself." He would then feel angry and agitated as a result of abusing himself, but he never connected his anger with his self-judgment. Instead, he would dump his anger on his wife, or yell at other drivers on the freeway.

It became apparent to Allen that he would not be able to stop blaming his wife until he stopped blaming and judging himself. His addiction to blaming others was a direct result of his self-abuse.

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