Trap 6: Blame

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This continues a new series of posts excerpted from Monkeytraps in Everyday Life: A Guide for Control Addicts (in press).  It’s about psychological monkeytraps: what they are, how they work, and how recovering control addicts can learn to notice when they’ve trapped themselves by trying to control what cannot or should not be controlled. Read the introduction to the series here.

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Trap 6: Blame

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Step 1: I experience discomfort

I am angry or anxious or frustrated or in some other emotional pain.

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Step 2: I misread the discomfort.

“Person X is making me feel this way.”

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Step 3: I try to control the discomfort.

I let Person X know This is your fault, you must fix it.

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Step 4: My attempt fails.

If my discomfort is X’s fault, I myself am dependent and helpless, which makes me feel worse.

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Step 5: I misread the failure.

“Person X isn’t doing enough to fix my feeling.” 

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Step 6: I experience discomfort.

I am angry or anxious or frustrated or in some other emotional pain.

 

Footnote:

Blame & control

There is a very dangerous drug on the streets that nobody is talking about. It’s called blameoin (pronounced: blame-o-win). Blameoin is a drug that makes you believe that someone else is always at fault and there is nothing you can do about it. Blameoin users blame others for everything. (“That’s my incompetent boss’ fault!”) Blameoin allows its users to preserve their ego. Users don’t have to take responsibility for their actions. They can continue to believe they are perfect because everything is someone else’s fault. Just like with other dangerous drugs, users feel better in the short term, but the drug slowly destroys their life. Every time they snort blameoin, they lose power to whoever or whatever they blamed. They make themselves powerless to improve the situation. If it’s your boss’ fault, what can you do about it? Your options are limited when trying to affect other people’s actions. Your actions are the easiest ones to affect. Blameoin takes away your ability to control those actions.

~ Jeff Steinmann, “The danger of blame”

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Next:

Trap 7: Changing me

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Monkeytraps: Why Everybody Tries to Control Everything and How We Can Stop
is available here.

Monkeytraps: Why Everybody Tries to Control Everything and How We Can Stop by [Steve Hauptman]


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