Every man’s way is right in his own eyes.

An armed robber has a [good] reason for his actions, so does a prostitute. The man who assaults his wife will prove himself right. And the woman who sleeps with her husband’s driver will justify her actions. By nature, no one truly accepts blames, but we all are quick to pass them.

Research in social psychology suggests that blaming is often intuitive and automatic, driven by a natural impulsive desire to express and defend interests, social values and expectations.

On the other hand, people’s reaction to blaming is spontaneous defensiveness. Every time you say someone is wrong, they also think you’re wrong. The reason is that every man is self-justified.

Are You Ever Wrong?

My wife will always ask; “Are you ever wrong?”

In the past I get logical when things go wrong [most people do]; I’d explain my effort, inaction and action. I’d make bogus statements and become verbose in my explanations. I’d try to exonerate myself as quickly as I could. Then I’d say things like:

It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t mean it that way. I never said that. You misunderstood me. You get irked too easily. That was your fault. It was unintentional. I tried my best. I was pissed off. I wanted to do it. You didn’t wait.  I was hungry. You didn’t give me the time to handle it. Etc. I’d always find excuses for my inappropriate actions.

But why do we blame everything and everyone except ourselves when things go wrong? Why do we hold others responsible for our failures and frustrations?

Let me ask you:

Why do you have bad relationships? I guess you’re going to blame your lovers. They are jerks! I know.

Why are you broke? You should blame the government for maladministration and bad leadership. “Bring back our stolen money” you should chant.

Why didn’t you go to school? Bad parents! They didn’t pay your fees.

Why are you jobless? Heartless CEOs! They don’t have pity.

Why are you not in business? Nothing is working!

Why didn’t you learn a trade? It’s frustrating!

Now, where do you come in? What’s your role?

It’s easy to find fault in others. And it’s very easy to rot in self-pity. If however you don’t make your life work, who will? How you got to where you are should not be the problem. The question always should be; how do I get out of this mess?

Let me share this with you:

My favourite, quite expensive glass cup got broken some time ago and it became an issue between my wife and I.

My wife wasn’t at home one Tuesday evening when I got back from the office. Usually, I don’t eat in the morning and I eat only at home.

I was very hungry and the only thing I could eat was ice-covered. I needed 10 minutes or so to unfreeze it, but, it seemed like a lot of time, and maybe work too, so I decided not to eat. Instead, I looked for the available thing; like biscuit, cake or chips. But I found nothing of such.

I wasn’t happy that my wife was out because it was her day off. 40 minutes later, I heard her greeting mama Esther, our neighbor who almost got me killed with the aroma of her Egusi soup.

On seeing my wife, I scowled. “Welcome,” I mumbled and I didn’t pay mind to her response. She looked at me and said, “You must be very hungry. Has it been long you came in? I shrugged in response.

She went straight to the kitchen. I didn’t know what she did, but I heard a shattered sound. It was my favourite glass cup! I rushed to see her, she wasn’t hurt.

A hungry man, they say is an angry man. “Dear, now the cup is broken. You should have been careful with it.” I said to her and pouted unconsciously.

“I’m sorry, but you know we don’t keep cups here. I didn’t see it.” she responded.

“How do you mean you didn’t see it?” I inquired in a high and angry tone.

Smart woman – she noticed I was angry, so she didn’t say anything. But she felt really bad: firstly, she felt it was my fault to have kept the cup wrongly and she didn’t see it. Secondly, she felt I should be concerned about her, and not about an ordinary cup we could easily replace. Thirdly, her rush was to make something for me to eat.

My approach was wrong; first, I blamed her. Second, I was careless. Third, I was impatient.

The Little Foxes: watch it!

A little blaming comes with a little self-defense. A little argument plus hurtful words stairs up anger with spiteful response. A little ego in display and a relationship is destroyed. The cup was broken and gone. Nothing would bring it back except I replace it.

Here Are Your Lessons:

#1. Don’t stop your life or destroy your relationship over a “Broken Cup.” [Whatever that means to you]. Your lover’s feelings should come first, always.

#2. Communicate your feelings without blaming the other person. You’re very hungry. Your spouse was late. You feel unhappy. Just say it. And…

#3. Ask questions. Why are you late, darling? Why didn’t you do it? Be polite and wait for responses.

#4. Don’t assume anything and don’t link up past events. Deal with issues independently because your feelings are brewed by your thoughts. And your thought, by what your focus is on.

I wasn’t angry just because I was hungry or because my wife broke a cup, but also because my wife broke something dear to me few weeks before the cup thing happened. I felt she was careless. I linked up issues.

#5. Stop trying to fix your partner, fix yourself instead. You only need one person to change in order to get your desired result, and it does not have to be your spouse.

Since I feel I’m more careful, I now wash the dishes. Guess what, I broke a serving dish last month. You needed to see my wife jest at me.

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#6. Blame yourself and not your partner [project your role]. Anytime you blame yourself, your partner automatically will take the blame. But when you blame your partner, they will become defensive.

If I had said something like; “Oh, how stupid of me. I shouldn’t have kept the cup there.” my wife would have said something like; “No, it’s not your fault, I should have seen it too.”

Give it a try.

#7. Show interest in people, and not in things. “If your cup is broken” let it go! Your lover knows it’s important to you. They already feel bad, don’t add to it. Things can easily be replaced, but not people.

#8. Change your perspective. Blaming people does not improve situations, it worsen them. And actions cannot be undone; a better action can only be taken.

Things will not always be right. Not by blaming anyone, but by taking responsibilities for your life.

Take action

What will you do today in order to improve the quality of your life and relationship? Write them down, and do them.

You wanted to know how I resolved the issue with my wife, I know. Well, she kept to herself all evening that evening. I apologised to her before bed time and we discussed our feelings. Above all, I took the blame!

That’s enough for now. Watch out for the Part II

Speak your mind: Let Me Know What You Think

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