The Nature of Blame

The tendency to blame other people and institutions for whatt has happened to us tends to get a bad press, often being thought of as a bad way to think or a way of thinking that is a process where there is no escape.

It is one area of emotional insight work that falls into the trap of judging emotions rather than accepting them as part of how we think.

The other main areas that are akin to this are things like gratitude, which is sort of an seen as a good emotion, or anger or self-pity which are seen as not very pleasant character traits and thought of as bad emotions.

Anyone entering a rehab will be, or is likely to be surprised that the main focus of the time spent in rehab will not be on alcohol particularly, but on the therapeutic approaches that the rehab offers as a way of helping the alcoholic understand the underlying emotional drives that have fuelled a drinking.

Rehab will most likely invoke the 12 step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous, and is likely to use a watered-down version of the 12-step process as part of their own addiction treatment program.

Whatever the approach used by the rehab, it is likely to include a process that is known in AA language as taking an inventory. This is in fact much simpler than it sounds in theory, it is simply the individual taking stock of their lives and looking at where their sense of anger and fear and other emotional highs and lows have taken them.

It is probably simpler to look at the process as outlined in the book Alcoholics Anonymous which focuses on resentment as being the main priority in taking an inventory. It asks the individual to outline and detail their resentments in a particular way, in such a way as to give them an insight into who they are angry with and why they are angry.

The real freedom comes from understanding what it is within the individual themselves that triggers their anger, irrespective of the cause or how strong or big the trigger is.

The important thing about dealing with one’s anger or resentment however one does it, is to realise that one is not judging the emotional response, one is simply acknowledging it as being a reality of how the individual may think.

Often the individual does not want to acknowledge that they do think this way, but all that does is actually suppress the anger and the blame even further. Self-censorship of one’s emotions is a highly damaging process.

Telling yourself you are not angry or that you do not blame people when you actually do, merely buries the anger and rage even further and is likely to create an even deeper neurosis which will do much more long-term damage that people may realise.