When life hurts, our first instinct is to pull away. We label pain “bad,” “negative,” certainly wrong. How much of our lives are spent running from pain?
When we fear pain, it’s often a quick leap from “this hurts” to “whose fault is it?” Because we don’t want to hurt and we just want to make it go away – now – we scramble to find someone to blame. We can blame others – and we do. But I suspect most of us blame ourselves.
Oh, ouch, this hurts.
When we blame ourselves, it’s easy to take the blame one step forward and attack ourselves. We can attack ourselves with our words and beliefs (“I’m a mess”) and we can attack ourselves with food – we can binge as a form of self attack, as a way of punishing ourselves. Then we feel doubly bad – the ouch of blame and the ouch of the binge.
Blame can appear in our thoughts like this: “Because this bad thing happened, I must’ve done something wrong.” Then it’s a quick leap to, “I should’ve been able to prevent it. It’s all my fault.”
Watch how the mind does this. Someone breaks into your car and your mind goes, “If you would’ve put the bag in the trunk, you wouldn’t have been robbed.” If you remind yourself that you have a hatchback, your mind says, “See – that’s why you shouldn’t have bought that kind of car!”
You slip on ice water on the floor and the mind says, “If only you were more careful…”
You lose your keys at the store and the mind says, “If you weren’t in such a hurry…”
We never win with this kind of thinking, because we’re always, somehow, to blame! I suspect that this kind of thinking comes from a very, very young part of us who still thinks that everything is their fault. For example, when a young child’s parents get divorced, or if a parent falls ill, the child thinks it’s all their fault – that they did something to cause it, and conversely, that if they would’ve been “better” it wouldn’t have happened. These beliefs may still be playing out in our minds, even though we’re not little children any more.
When I examine my tendency to blame this is what I uncover – I’ve blamed myself for every tiny, big, little, gigantic mistake because it’s a sly attempt at control. If I could only perfect myself enough, then I would be mistake free. I would never hurt! Life would be a blissful state of perfect harmony.
Oh, those sweet perfectionistic parts! They so much want to be loved……
How can we put those perfectionistic, controlling parts to rest so we can drop the blame? So we can let go, soften the tension – how often do we brace ourselves against what’s wrong or what could go wrong in the future – and relax into this moment, no matter what it holds?
I invite you to put those hurts parts to rest with self compassion – through your own love and kindness. (I share more about how to do this here, how to rock your cravings to sleep. If you’d like to learn more, this tool is a part of the Heal Overeating: Untangled program.) Can you look at those controlling, blaming parts of you through the eyes of love? Can you see that the part of you that likes to attack and blame is innocent at heart – merely trying to keep you from hurting, to prevent future pain? Can you forgive it? Can you soothe their anxiety, their fear in your loving presence?
And dear one, if you see yourself in this post, please release this idea that anything bad that happens to you is your fault and should’ve been preventable. Please let go of this idea that bad things are happening only to you, period – that somehow you’re getting nailed while the rest of us are sailing right along. (Rain falls on us all. We all go through cycles of up and down….the Olympics are surely proof of this.) Let go and allow this moment to flow through you…it just is.
When we drop the blame, we feel the ouch. We feel the anger of the robbery or the ache of the fall or the hassle of lost keys. We feel the sadness that we want to eat to escape. It takes courage to feel this without looking for someone or something to blame. It takes courage to feel this without eating. It means feeling what we don’t want to feel, what we’re afraid to feel.
It is a surrender. It is opening your heart to this moment – yes, this messy moment – and bowing. It is saying, in so many words: I can include you in my heart. I can include you in my compassion. I can forgive you for your messiness. It is saying you, and you, and you – I will make room for you. I will make room for all of me: for all my feelings and experiences and parts.
The fear that says the pain is too much….is just a fear, a fiction, a fable. When you open your heart, you walk through the door and realize oh, oh! It is not true.
Wanting more hands on help?
If this post resonated with you, you might be interested in reading these posts:
- 5 reasons why you overeat (includes more about self attack and bingeing as a form of self attack)
- Healing the shame that keeps you stuck
- Do you judge your pain?
Which program is right for me?
If you’d like to learn more about healing self blame in your life, the best fit for you is Heal Overeating: Untangled, an audio program to heal the emotional roots of overeating. Sessions 11 and 12 of this 12 session program focus on self forgiveness and moving out of blame and shame.