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    How to Transform from Blamer to Learner

    By Scott Tsui–

    Recently, I discussed two broad categories of people in relationships who have better chances of achieving relationship success. There are Naturals, who are comfortable in their own skin. Naturals are thoughtful, compassionate, forgiving and “relationship ready.” Then there are Learners, who learn and develop through curiosity about themselves and look to advance their relationships through listening, reflecting and making positive improvements.

    Now we’ll discuss Blamers, those who are the opposite of the other two types. Blamers often find it difficult to sustain happy, meaningful and lasting relationships. They believe it’s not their fault and feel victims of external circumstances. There are three main types of blaming that Blamers practice.

    Blaming Others

    Blamers who blame others lack emotional and psychological maturity. They don’t take responsibility for their actions and conversations. They often have narcissistic traits. When problems occur, they are never their fault. They’re never wrong and you probably won’t hear an apology. Criticism comes easy to these Blamers.

    Jake, a gay man in his mid-50s who is tall, slim, good-looking and successful, was recently left by his boyfriend. His history was a series of short-lived relationships; no partner could take his attitude for too long. Those who knew him viewed him as self-centered with a lack of empathy and compassion. When asked if Jake knew the reason why his ex broke up with him, and if he had tried to save the relationship, his simply replied, “No, because he’ll never tell you, so why bother.”

    In investigating this in more depth, it became apparent that Jake’s attitude was, “It’s not my fault.” He wasn’t prepared to take responsibility for his part in this relationship. His ex had been trying to communicate with Jake for a while, but Jake refused to listen and to talk things over. 

    A relationship is about give and take and understanding each other, listening and not necessarily agreeing with, but respecting, one another’s opinions. Few people are willing to look internally and ask themselves critical questions, such as:

    • Who do I need to be so that my partner wants to be with me?
    • How can I appreciate my partner and understand them?
    • What role do I play in this relationship for it to be loving and long lasting?

    The easy way out is to simply move on to another relationship and repeat the dating cycle until the next breakup happens again.  This is shallow and meaningless. Subsequently, a Blamer always wonders why they can’t sustain a lasting relationship. If Blamers keep rejecting the idea of developing the self-awareness required in building a relationship, they’ll continue to suffer from their tunnel vision and self-served behavior and won’t find the solution or the happiness that connection brings.  

    Self-blame

    A complete opposite of blaming others, self-blame comes from internal conversations such as, “What’s wrong with me?” “I am not worthy,” “I don’t deserve it,” or, “It’s all my fault, I shouldn’t/should have … .”

    At the age of 8, Dan was abandoned by his father. This left a belief pattern of “people leave because of me.” Dan found it difficult to maintain relationships. He had low self-esteem, low trust and was often apologetic, taking on the blame. Dan broke up with his partner because he didn’t feel worthy of his partner’s love. 

    According to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers, the people most likely to suffer from self-blame often have been invalidated, abused or had a significant event in their childhood and are more likely to have troubled romantic relationships in adult years. That kind of childhood experience leads to the notion of viewing oneself as the problem.

    We can turn to self-doubt and lack of confidence when we’re afraid or can’t control situations. Self-doubt is not ingrained in our mind permanently; it’s situational, while self-blame could turn into emotional abuse or judgement to ourselves. While some people with self-blame might need professional help to resolve issues, others can prevent it by omitting derogatory and harsh self-talk. Instead, they can strive to find compassion, kindness and forgiveness within themselves and give permission to love. Self-blamers should become aware of being over critical or judgmental. Raising awareness is the first step to preventing self-blame. Social support, higher education and physical activities could further minimize or eliminate self-blame. 

    Blaming Events

    We all have defining events in our past. Some of those events become stories that can be paralyzing and prevent us from moving forward to a bright and hopeful future.

    Kevin, a 65-year-old gay man whose partner cheated on him over thirty years ago, equated relationships to pain. He was so hurt that he has remained single ever since and hasn’t dated anyone or attracted relationships.

    If we develop the consciousness, and the ability to differentiate between the psychology and perspective of “because of this happening, I become helpless” compared to “because of this happening, I thrive and become stronger,” we can give ourselves a survivor attitude rather than one of victim. Using empowering language is foremost, as this creates an opportunity to heal and to avoid blame that could ruin any opportunity of developing meaningful, romantic relationships.

    In short, blaming plays a big part in relationship failure. As Tony Robbins said, All pain comes from a story that is selfishly viewed; as a result, our perception becomes a reality. If we focus continuously on ourselves and we are not getting what we want, there will always be pain.”

    Switching to solution-based thinking and activating a learning attitude are the primary keys to transforming from Blamer to Learner. Life will become more meaningful, and you’ll see the world in a much better space.

    Scott Tsui is the Relationship Results Coach, author of “Lonely No More – 8 Steps to Find Your Gay Husband” and the creator of the world’s first online gay relationship training: Gay Men Relationship Blueprint. Tsui works to help gay men find, attract and sustain meaningful relationships. For more information: http://scotttsui.com/