The Blame Game

The Blame Game

The Blame Game

I had a talk with a friend and his younger sister a few weeks ago after I had just gotten my new tattoo. We got to talking about tattoos and tattooshops in Berlin. I recommended one to her, and my friend, initially worried about his little sister and her tattoos, revealed that even he might want to get a big piece himself next year and that was it. Or so I thought. A few weeks later, the younger sister had gotten a tattoo, on the same spot on her body as I had gotten mine. My friend jokingly became ‘angry’ with me and implied that she had gotten the tattoo because I had been talking so positively about mine.

I understand you want to blame somebody else for your own weaknesses and challenges – you can come over but you can’t smoke, otherwise I will smoke as well! – but why feel the need to blame others for mistakes of people close to you?

I don’t say I’m guilt free of any form of ‘the blame game’. In my case, I tend to point out things around me that make my mistake feel less bad towards myself. Example; I was in a car with a friend of mine in Canada, and we had just gotten coffee (if that’s what you can call it) at Tim Horton’s at a stop next to a highway. I was sitting in the passenger seat, trying to open my sandwich bag with my cappuccino held together by my knees when my friend accelerated and the contents of the full coffee cup spilt all over my jeans and the passenger seat. My friend exclaimed “oh my god! what are you doing?” and after apologizing, I immediately said “to be fair though, your car is a fucking mess already” (which it was, but that’s beside the point). I shift the blame onto the messy car to make my stupid action seem less bad, even though it is quite irrelevant.

We are all responsible for our own mistakes and often learn the best after we’ve fallen ourselves, instead of steering clear after someone warning us. I know I’ve made mistakes I could not have learned from if I had not actually made them. Why do we then feel the need to protect the ones we love by shifting responsibility for their actions towards the influences around them. In the tattoo case, had it not been me (if it even was), it would have been someone else. And would it not have been someone else, something else would’ve done the trick.
Do we find our loved ones weak but we simply don’t want to admit it? Does it come from an uncertainty within ourselves, meaning we find ourselves too weak to protect the ones we love? Or is it simply that we sleep better at night, knowing we are less to blame for the pain or bad choices of our friends and families, making it easier to close our eyes when we’ve shifted responsibility to an external enemy?

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