Reflections on Blame and Shame: Part 4

What’s the number one thing NOT to do when feeling blamed?

Don’t go in to “self attack!” Know that it says much more about the other person and perhaps very little about you.

Here are 3 other ideas:

1. Notice the impulse to blame yourself and see if you can wait for a moment before doing that.  Offer yourself understanding and compassion.

2. Identify your underlying feelings.

Ask yourself: What feelings am I avoiding by blaming myself? Anger about the intrusive or judgmental comment? Fear of disconnection? Shame for getting sick? Desire for more time or money?  Anger at having the disease?

Try to focus on the real feelings you are having and don’t camoflauge them by attacking yourself. These feelings are important signals that should not be ignored or stuffed. Give yourself permission to feel all of it. If you can, express it directly. Write about it or find a safe friend or therapist to talk things through.

3. If it’s not hurting you or causing you resentment, ignore it.   Sometimes the unhelpful comment comes from an awkward place of not knowing what to say.  Sometimes a person feels loving towards you but their comment but misses the mark and feels mis-attuned.

This next week, be aware of the moments during your day when you are tempted to blame or criticize yourself. Stop, breathe, feel, and offer yourself compassion.

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