Search the Site
Dianna Gordon MacYoung?
Crime Avoidance Lectures
Hosting A Seminar
Our Linking Policy
Train with MacYoung
Topics of Interest
Blame vs. Responsibility
On this page:
Blame & Responsibility, BIG Difference! | Assumption of Power | Blame Strategies| Blame Is Lame | Blaming Mindset and Justifying Bad Behavior | Hard Look At Blame | Self-Esteem vs. Self-Respect | How To Get Attacked
Let us start with two important facts and what they mean.
First, is that until you've seen someone get their head blown off (or had someone try to do it to you) the idea of dying for your actions is a pretty academic. It's a 'well-that's-theoretically -possible-but- not-really-likely -to-happen' concept. In short, it is an idea that is pretty low on the priority list.
Unfortunately, this commonly results in a mindset that mistakes a limited possibility with a day-to-day attitude of 'that'll never happen to me.' And it is the latter attitude that dictates behaviors.
Unfortunately, this attitude adds to the trauma when violence does happen. Simply stated, the person has never done any mental preparation for even the likelihood of the event, much less learned how to prevent it. There is no way to convey the magnitude of destruction to a person's ego, world view and faith in humanity that occurs when someone with this attitude is savaged by violence.
The second fact is that there is NOBODY on this planet more concerned with your personal safety than you.
It doesn't matter that there are people out there to protect you, when push comes to shove, the buck stops with you. Yes there are laws, yes there are courts, yes there are prisons, yes there are statistics, and there are countless 'bigger picture' issues (including politics) involved. BUT, those are all after the fact. They are all about after it happens. They don't help to keep it from happening to you. Out at the sharp end of things, crime and violence is going to happen to you!!! It is therefore your responsibility to make sure it doesn't happen to you.
This brings us back to the fact that nobody is more concerned with your safety than you. While it is not going to be a daily priority, (ergo no need to be paranoid) when the circumstances warrant it, if you don't make it a priority -- you're going to savaged by violence.
And that is where blame comes in. It is psychological damage control to help you cope with what happened to you. An attempt to get your world back to what it was before this horrible thing happened. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: No amount of damage control is ever as good as prevention.
Unfortunately, the same attitude readily blames others for unintended consequences is the same one that will put you into danger. So ask yourself now, which is more important to you, being 'right' or not being raped?
If the former, you'll be looking at blame, if the latter then you'll be looking at responsibility.
Blame and Responsibility, BIG Difference
Before you read further, please do something Clarify in your own mind your definitions of blame and responsibility.
Please do this before you read on.
Our Random House Unabridged defines blame as:
1) to place the responsibility for (a fault, error, etc.) on a person. 2) to find fault with, to censure 3) US slang; to blast (used as a humorous imperative or opative. 4) to blame, at fault, censurable 5) act of attributing fault, censure or reproof. 6)responsibility for anything deserving of censure.
Whereas responsibility is defined as
1) The state or fact of being responsible. 2) an instance of being responsible 3) a particular burden or obligation on a person who is responsible. 4) something for which someone is responsible 5) reliability or dependability, esp. in meeting debts or payments 6) on one's own responsibility, on one's own initiative or authority.
Responsibility is mentioned twice in the definition of blame, but never is blame mentioned in the definition of responsibility.
That should tell you something. What else is interesting is how the words censure and fault -- which play such a large part in the definition of blame -- are never mentioned in the definition of responsibility.
But perhaps the most important difference between the two words is blame is focused on directing responsibility for failure -- and your ire (censure/reproof) -- onto others. In short, blame is a form of psychological damage control, especially after a traumatic experience.
Here's something else worth noting; look
again at the definition of blame. There's something missing. Neither
the qualifications of the one placing the blame or the
accuracy of the charge is established. In other words, just
because someone is blaming you for something
a) doesn't make them qualified to judge
b) doesn't make it true.
That may seem like a small thing, but actually it has serious implications. Not the least of which is: Blame does not require you to meet any consistent standards of behavior -- other than what you feel is appropriate for the situation.
That's why blame is such a squirrely issue. Blame is entirely subjective and dependant on a person's whims -- and this includes blaming for selfish, manipulative and sadistic purposes. Blame is entirely too subjective to be a reliable standard.
So with these points in mind we can conclude
1) Blame really isn't about other people, it is about you
a) either passing the buck. b) being judgmental
Stop and think if this doesn't fit as a description of the people who have used blame against you. Blame is an ugly game. And it is an ugly game no matter who is playing it. But here is where we run into a very common double standard. Like violence, people often feel blame is wrong when it is used against them, but it's okay for them to use it.
Whereas, responsibility does require meeting a standard other than your own. And it requires you to consistently meet these established standards of behavior. Now add onto this responsibility is about what you do to work with other people.
What many people miss is the fact that responsibility is not only about self, its also about empowerment. Whoa! There's a shocking bit of news. The reason we say this is with responsibility comes power. But it comes with a price. You do not get power without accepting responsibility.
The seduction of blame is the promise of power without responsibility. Return to top of page
Assumption of Power
Before you can see when responsibility is sacrificed for blame, it helps to understand what power is -- and the difference between power and force.
Hard Look At Blame
So why is blame so appealing? Because it allows you to 'cherry pick' the results of your actions. By not differentiating between blame and responsibility, we can reap benefits, but pass off responsibility for negative consequences for our actions. We take a pragmatic look at the blame game.
Blame Is Lame
Blaming someone is nowhere near as effective as prevention.
The Blaming Mindset Can Justify Your Own Bad Behavior
How much is blaming others used to cover your own bad behaviors
Self-Esteem vs. Self- Respect
There's a big difference between the two.
How To Get Attacked
Speaking as a professional who's job it was to tell nasty people "no," we noticed there were people just seemed to be wearing a sign that said "ATTACK ME!" While many will think we're talking about people who project 'victim,' we aren't. The people we're talking have an innate talent to just piss off violent people. It almost seems like these folks have a checklist of ways to provoke an attack. Believe it or not, there really is a checklist. There are certain behaviors that will get you attacked! The reason this link is on the Blame Page, is that after engaging in these behaviors it is not uncommon for the person bleeding to blame the attacker -- when in fact, the assault could have been avoided.
Return to top of page
Street Safe: How to Recognize and Avoid Violent Crime
Learn More >
Special Bonus Feature
Learn More >
Surviving Workplace Violence
Learn More >
Minimum Damage, Maximum Effect
Learn More >
Do You See What I am Saying? Reading Body Language
Learn More >
Learn More >
|? 1998-2008 No Nonsense Self-Defense, LLC. All rights reserved.|