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a benefit of blaming others or ourselves

The many faces of blame

Blame consists of two types: toward others and toward ourselves (called guilt or being self-critical).

Although these two different types of blame sometimes hide behind the same name, as with the word "frustration," most faces or names are distinct according to whether the blame is focused outward or inward.

Blame toward others

Resentment, anger, feeling righteous, frustrated, impatient, tolerating someone, feeling rebellious, feeling you're treated unfairly, sarcastic toward another, feeling betrayed, feeling you don't deserve how someone is treating you, looking down on others, feeling defensive, feeling annoyed, feeling you deserve something you didn't get, withdrawing, feeling cheated, feeling taken advantage of, feeling you're better than someone else, feeling disappointed in someone, trying to prove you're right, feeling indignant, feeling disrespected. These are some ways that blaming others can occur.

Blame toward oneself

Guilt, regret, frustrated, impatient, depressed, upset with yourself, discouraged, self-critical, comparing yourself negatively to others, feeling powerless, trying to do better, feeling not good enough, feeling unloved, feeling not smart enough, thinking you need to improve, thinking you're a failure or a loser, and pushing yourself to do more. These are some ways that blaming yourself can occur.

The benefits of blame

Although the costs of blame, whether of other or yourself, are huge, it's the benefits or the anticipated benefits are what keep these behaviors in place. I've written about many of those benefits elsewhere.

But there is one benefit that is often paramount and must occur first before any other benefits: the benefit of anesthesia.

Anesthesia against feeling compassion for and a desire to understand others

We typically blame another whenever their behavior or beliefs occur as a threat to us. We believe that we may need to take defensive action which may result in hurt or harm to that person or group of people. Such action, however, might be difficult to take if we felt compassion for or got curious about that person or people. Therefore, the first benefit that blame provides to us is a feeling of indifference or even pleasure at the prospect of hurting that other person or people, as well as having no interest in understanding them more deeply.

This anesthetic benefit occurs whether it be the blame you feel if your spouse forgot your birthday or the benefit of anesthesia that a soldier feels when blaming an enemy soldier so that he can attempt to hurt or kill them.

Anesthesia against feeling compassion for and a desire to understand ourselves

We blame ourselves when our behavior, thoughts, or beliefs occur as a threat to us, however we might hold ourselves to be. We believe we need to criticize ourselves which will make us feel bad. We cannot feel compassion for and be curious about that part of ourselves we are blaming or we would not be able to criticize ourselves. 

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