I recently told my mom that I have spent my whole life trying not to be her and blaming her for all my short comings.
I wanted to stop playing the blame game because it was holding me back from crafting the life I wanted.
That was the last thing I ever wanted to say to my mom but the blame game has kept me in a loop.
I’ve been creating situations to hold me back from achieving my dreams so I could keep blaming my past (or my mom).
The more I blamed her for the choices she made in the past, the more I wanted to prove myself right and make her wrong, which impacted my behavior and my financial decisions.
How the blame game affects behavior
Blame is a refusal to take responsibility for your life by assigning responsibility to someone else.
You blame others to preserve your self-esteem and pride and as long as you keep blaming you will remain stuck in the position you're in.
If we believe that the person or object could have prevented the event then we feel blame and decide on the appropriate action to take.
In 1999 Bradfield and Aquino surveyed 237 employees in a government agency in 6 states in the USA and found that when we feel blame we behave in one of 2 ways: we either take revenge on the person or object we blame or we forgive them.
How blame affects your financial behavior
1. Imposed financial dependency on those you blame
We use money as a tool to carry out vengeance and the easiest way to make people pay for their wrongs is to make them support you financially.
This denies them their financial freedom and because you believe they “owe” you (whoever they are, be it the government or your parents) you feel vindicated. The flip side of this analysis is that you never get financial freedom
2. Increased debt and mismanaging money
The refusal to take responsibility for your finances leads to increased debt. At some point we all have to accept that we’re adults and we are all responsible for our finances.
3. Stealing money to correct “the wrong”
When you blame others for the situation that you’re in, you put them in the wrong and can justify even immoral behavior.
1. Become aware that you’re blaming others
The first step to letting go of blame is to become aware of it, especially when you’re dealing with your finances. Pay attention to blame-like thoughts: “it’s their fault”, “they did me wrong”, “they should have known better.”
2. Take back your power
Holding onto the way that others wronged you disempowers you because it keeps you in the past, and makes your past more important than your present.
Be brave and acknowledge that being a victim protects you because it allows you to play small, never get hurt and wins you sympathy from others.
Once you’ve acknowledged this, start acknowledging your pain and make the choice to release the past and to forgive.
3. Learnhow to forgive and choose to play big
I highly recommend the 3 step letter writing process for forgiveness
I would love to hear your thoughts about the impact of blame on your finances in the comment section below.