ehowton (ehowton) wrote,

The Sustainability of Blame

Blame fascinates me. It fascinated me as a child and it fascinates me now. When I hear it from my children, I use it as a tool of instruction - to better their lives. When I hear it from an adult a little piece of me withers and dies because it kills me to see a grown-up confused about simple social constructs.

Fault-finding can be a powerful coping mechanism for children who require absolution from wrongdoing, and I applaud it and use it, applying it liberally as needed. But nothing screams "I am petulantly immature" as when an adult uses it, especially as a coping mechanism. Maturity provides us with much more effective tools in which to cope than blame - this, on the heels of pcofwildthings' post of the TED video on being wrong. Apparently I am the aberration in the world for teaching my children to celebrate failure as the world's most effective learning tool. Guess what? Even as an adult I too can still learn through failure. The rest of world apparently fears it, doesn't understand it, or fears that which they do not understand. Two of those scare me, one of them I can work with.

So when something goes wrong, what do you do?

Primitive (Childish) Defense Mechanisms


    • "Acting out" refers to the discharge by means of action, rather than by means of verbalization, of conflicted mental content; Emotional Management - "The ability to manage emotions effectively is a key part of emotional intelligence. Regulating emotions, responding appropriately to them and keeping them in check despite wanting to do otherwise are all important aspects of emotional management."

      • PROBLEM SOLVING EFFECTIVENESS: Not effective; Problem still exists.


    • When confronted by stressful events, people sometimes abandon coping strategies and revert to patterns of behavior used earlier in development. For example, an individual might cry or sulk upon hearing unpleasant news.

      • PROBLEM SOLVING EFFECTIVENESS: Not effective; Problem still exists.


    • The misattribution of a person’s undesired thoughts, feelings or impulses onto another person who does not have those thoughts, feelings or impulses. Projection is used especially when the thoughts are considered unacceptable for the person to express, or they feel completely ill at ease with having them. For example, a spouse may be angry at their significant other for not listening, when in fact it is the angry spouse who does not listen. Projection is often the result of a lack of insight and acknowledgement of one’s own motivations and feelings.

      • PROBLEM SOLVING EFFECTIVENESS: Not effective; Problem still exists.


    • Its not just a river in Egypt! It is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. Children do this, as to immature adults. Many people use denial in their everyday lives to avoid dealing with painful feelings or areas of their life they don’t wish to admit.

      • PROBLEM SOLVING EFFECTIVENESS: Not effective; Problem still exists.


    • Inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

      • PROBLEM SOLVING EFFECTIVENESS: Not effective; Problem still exists.


    • Freud believed that anxiety is an unpleasant inner state that people seek to avoid. In an attempt to protect ourselves from this anxiety, people employ reaction formation unconsciously in their daily lives. Reaction formation involves adopting opposite feelings, impulses or behavior. Someone adopting a reaction formation defense strategy would treat a spouse or loved one in the same manner in which they’d treat a hated enemy. Another example would be that two people really fond of each other fight all the time to suppress their desire of love for each other.

      • PROBLEM SOLVING EFFECTIVENESS: Not effective; Problem still exists.

There are however more mature defense strategies - coping mechanisms which afford us a greater flexibility in maintaining our sanity while simultaneously addressing the stressor. In learning about myself more and more, I find I employ neither the mature nor the primitive, rather the few in between, to varying degrees of success. Or failure. I have used "repression" - albeit not unconsciously, and "undoing" to less effectiveness than my primary mode of coping, which I recently learned was "intellectualization."

Intellectualization is a 'flight into reason', where the person avoids uncomfortable emotions by focusing on facts and logic. The situation is treated as an interesting problem that engages the person on a rational basis, whilst the emotional aspects are completely ignored as being irrelevant. Jargon is often used as a device of intellectualization. By using complex terminology, the focus becomes on the words and finer definitions rather than the human effects.*

This is exactly me, warts and all. I assume, perhaps incorrectly knowing what I now know, that by first understanding the logic, I can then allow my feelings to catch-up. Then again, I know myself very, very well and how I act/react to certain stimuli through a rigorous regime of scenario running - my entire life has been a construct of problem solving by viewing problems as parts of an overall (holistic) system in an attempt to piece together outcomes or events based upon development of (causal) intended/unintended consequences rather than reacting to specific or individual parts in isolation - the behavior behind the seemingly innocuous event rather than focusing on the innocuous event itself. My global thinking, while sometimes a grievous hindrance to my own wisdom though incomprehension of simplistic ideas allows for a marvelous feedback-loop of self-correction. In my opinion. Your own outsider's view on this may vary :)

A feedback loop involves four distinct stages. First comes the data: A behavior must be measured, captured, and stored. This is the evidence stage. Second, the information must be relayed to the individual, not in the raw-data form in which it was captured but in a context that makes it emotionally resonant. This is the relevance stage. But even compelling information is useless if we don’t know what to make of it, so we need a third stage: consequence. The information must illuminate one or more paths ahead. And finally, the fourth stage: action. There must be a clear moment when the individual can recalibrate a behavior, make a choice, and act. Then that action is measured, and the feedback loop can run once more, every action stimulating new behaviors that inch us closer to our goals.*

Be mindful. Strive continuously for self-improvement. Never become complacent. And aggressively reevaluate without provocation.


Happiness isn't just the destination, its also the journey. ~ehowton

Tags: happiness, maturity, philosophy, psychology, reevaluate

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