Some people cannot take responsibility for their own actions. Instead of taking an honest assessment and taking measures to correct a problem or an attitude, they blame someone else. It was their fault. The pain of being in the wrong is too nerve-wracking. Maybe their childhood was too strict and they avoided punishment at all costs. Who knows what programs a person to avoid taking responsibility for an action? The resulting character deficit leaves broken relationships, and costs the person the trust and respect of others.
Relationships with these people go in cycles. First, they want to be friends, and can be generous and nurturing. Then comes the little disagreements. The person who searches to find a way of diverting responsibility (talking it out honestly) usually makes a little comment that the offender had ulterior motives: they were blaming the “righteous” one–it was all their fault. Blame plays a big role at this stage, and doesn’t go away.
If the blamed (righteous) one internalizes it, they can set up a me-against-them mentality. You are against me. It is all my fault, according to you. (So you are bad by being so disapproving, is the subtle message.)
That is turn sets up a tiny grain of animosity between the parties, and that grain rubs and rubs at peace. Given enough time and unresolved conflict, a gap widens in the relationship. It can turn into deep seated dislike, although there might still be a sense of love between them.
Remember the words I wrote about generosity? Many people who have this problem sets up a scenario where the other feels obligated, even protective to keep trying to get along. After all, the subtle message of it’s your fault may be true. You want to do everything in your power, to do the best you can to prove it’s not true. Most of the time things might go well and the healthy person thinks, “Why rock the boat. I can handle it.”
If the healthy person comes to feel a great deal of dislike under the surface, they might sever the relationship. However, if they expect honesty and agreement, they will not likely find it. The other person must continue the blame game or accept responsibility, which isn’t likely. Many times the dislike spews out unchecked by the need to keep the status quo.
The pain of accepting responsibility couldn’t be as damaging as blaming others. None of us are righteous, but we can be forgiven.
Psalm 32:5: “I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin.”