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How Blame Corroded My Relationships

Aaron McHugh

My life didn’t turn out as I planned. I started to believe it was someone else’s fault. I blamed God. I blamed the long lines of people who always wanted something from me. I blamed myself for not being tougher. I silently accused anyone who inconvenienced me.

Brene Brown says, “Blame is the discharging of discomfort and pain.” My discomfort and pain started spilling out. I couldn’t keep the lid on the jar anymore. The problem with blame is that accountability is assigned to other people for our life, work, relationships, health, kids, finances, and family don’t look like we believe we deserve. Resulting in the energy projection of “my life sucks and it is your fault.”

Deeper than the blame, I felt powerless. Powerless to steer my life towards better outcomes. Powerless to save my daughter from death. Powerless that being a good guy didn’t save me from a life full of pain and disappointment.

The pain became the lens through which I viewed all things.

Feeling like my life was a bullet train, moving at 200 mph, I felt there was no way to get off or slow it down. The problem with blame is it prohibits us from looking inward to see what’s wrong with us. When it’s always someone else’s fault, then I could skirt responsibility for my own poor decisions, unhealthy rhythms, and character defects.

My transformation began when my therapist, my friends, my family illuminated the pathway of empowered that lead to new choices. I’d spent decades managing my externals in hopes of arranging for peace internally. I invested most of my energy on managing outcomes; Organizing for other people’s happiness often at the expense of my own.

It turns out happiness is an inside job.

Friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, customers, employees, innocent bystanders at the grocery store, please forgive me. I didn’t know that despite all of my life’s disappointments that I could choose joy in spite of the pain.

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