How to Win At The Blame Game
Have you ever had a week where you wished you could just close your eyes and the week would be over with already? Last week was like that for me. Hubs had his second hip replacement, and I’m in the mode of caretaker, coach, nurse, driver, chef, counselor and private masseuse at the moment. Each day Hubs is getting better, but he has a complication this time, so the healing process is going to be a little slower. He has a foot drop which is caused by damage to the sciatic nerve. According to the Hubs, his foot feels like it weighs two hundred pounds. His foot is numb, and he doesn’t have the normal feeling from the ankle down. I’m sure you have experienced when a limb has fallen asleep, and you get tingles, pricks, and numbness and when you try to move it, you can’t. We will know more about how well it will recover in a few months, but in the meantime, it is a waiting game plus lots of physical therapy.
A few days after we got home from the hospital, the enemy was having a day with me. I was feeling guilty because I was the one who urged Hubs to get his hips replaced. His first hip replacement was seamless, and he has received so much relief from his pain. We were both excited for him to get the other one done. So, when this issue came up the enemy was right there telling me it was my fault because I was the one who encouraged him to get it done.
Finally, I went to Hubs and told him I was sorry, and he looked at me bewildered. He assured me this was no one’s fault. It was just something that happens sometimes, and we would get through it like every other challenge. Hubs then told me not to even think about taking the blame for his issue. As with any surgery, there is always a risk. He is not discouraged and believes it will work itself out with God’s help.
The one thing which stood out to me was when Hubs told me not to take the blame. You see, all my life I have taken the blame for things that weren’t my fault. I even admitted doing things that I didn’t do just to try and keep the peace. I remember when I was young and my grandmother called because someone popped my uncle’s basketball by throwing darts at it. My parents kept asking me over and over again if I did it because my brother said I did, so I took the blame even though I didn’t do it. I had to buy a new basketball, apologize and go to bed every night at 6:30 PM for two weeks while everyone else was outside playing. Years later my brother admitted he was the one that did it and he had just let me take the blame.
Growing up, I always heard how my brother wanted to be an only child and never wanted any siblings, so when my brother developed a mental illness, who do you think blamed herself? Yes, me. I didn’t understand mental illness at the time, but I thought maybe if I hadn’t been born my brother would have never gotten sick.
In many of my friendships or relationships, if there were an issue I would take the blame because I wanted the problem to be resolved. It was easier to take the blame and keep the peace than to have the dispute remain unsettled.
When my daughter was a baby, she developed an immune deficiency which left her very vulnerable to illnesses. As a mom, I thought it was something I wasn’t doing correctly. Once again I took the blame. It had to be my fault she was sick so often because I was the one who was caring for her the most. However, the reality is babies and kids get sick.
Unfortunately, this carried over through much of my adult life until a counselor pointed out that I say I am sorry for nearly everything, including things I have no reason to be sorry about. She went on to tell me it wasn’t my job to fix every problem people put in my lap. Wow! Can you imagine my relief in knowing I’m not responsible for everyone’s well-being? That was a counseling session which truly changed my life.
When the latest episode of the blame game cropped up, I was ready to own it all again. I had dealt with this problem a long time ago and realized I was not responsible for every bad thing that happened to people around me, or even to myself. But we all have triggers which can lead us back to our past feelings or behaviors. Have you ever heard a song or smelled a scent that transported you to another time and place? I’m not a psychologist nor do I play one on TV, but I believe our triggers can be great motivators, either for good or bad.
In order to prevent my triggers from taking control in a negative way, I knew I had to A.C.T. on my response. I developed this little exercise to help me win the blame game.
A. Acknowledge: Admit your issue
C. Capture and Control: Capture your thoughts and Control Your Response
T. Train: Train your negative trigger into a positive response
Training your response to triggers can be helpful. For example, I have a friend who used to chew her nails to the cuticle and make them bleed. She was taught an alternate response, which was to chew on a piece of sugar-free gum when she wanted to chew on her nails. It works perfectly for her.
Whenever a trigger plays havoc with me, I pray and write. Prayer and journaling have become a very effective way of releasing my emotions. Journaling has always been a very soothing, comforting and healing tool for me. Prayer also helps me reveal where the trigger came from so I have a point from which to move forward.
One of the best things you can do is talk it out. Find a safe place with a person you can trust and tell them what is going on. The longer you hang on to it, the more it grows. I’m blessed to have some ladies from my small group who are my judgment free zone. It doesn’t mean they don’t tell me what I need to hear, but they care enough about me to speak the truth in love.
I appreciate each of you, and always want to be honest with you about my life. Some days we sparkle more than others, and some days we need to see God sparkle through others. Let me know if you would like me to pray for you. When we pray for others, our focus is changed, and we realize we are not alone in our struggles. The enemy loves it when we become isolated from one another, so he can get the lone sheep cornered and attempt to devour it.
The past is a good reminder of how far we have come. No longer do we have to be prisoners of our past paralyzed in pain. Not this time, not ever! Because Jesus always leaves the ninety-nine and comes looking for his lost sheep. The struggle is real, but Jesus is fierce and fighting for each of us.