I said I was going to blame you.
I use this line on my husband regularly. Whether or not it is fair isn’t really up for debate, because it totally isn’t. Sometimes I have had a shitty day and I take it out on him because he loves me and will put up with it. When he finally hits a point where I have been snippy too long and he exclaims, “That isn’t my fault!” I reply with the above. Ain’t love grand?
As the office manager at work, I am on the other end of this situation every single day. Sometimes things are my fault. Sometimes I simply forget or had to put something off due to shifting priorities. It happens. Often times, though, it is due to the errors of another. Many times, that person or entity is not in the office, which means that while the problem is not technically my fault, it is my problem. I have become very adept at accepting blame and deflecting rage over the past 11 years here, to the point where it rarely gets to me anymore. While frustrating at times, the reality is that I would rather have someone rage at me than at a vendor or a member of my team. I have grown a very thick skin and guilt is not in my repertoire of emotions (except under very rare circumstances), so I’d rather take the hit than have an employee with hurt feelings. I have also worked incredibly hard to create a network of vendors that are awesome and I will defend them to the end.
Accepting blame is hard. It’s hard when the situation is our fault, and it is even more challenging when it is not. We all have our pride and when that takes a hit, it sucks. It feels shitty. However, there is little that pisses me off more than someone who doesn’t accept the blame for their actions or behavior. When a person is confronted with a situation where they fucked up and they immediately start explaining, back-pedaling, and shifting blame to anyone other than themselves, it infuriates me. We all make mistakes. People who acknowledge their error, apologize if necessary, and make a sincere effort not to let the problem arise again are awesome. People who don’t lose massive respect points in my book. Massive. It takes courage to own up to one’s failings; cowards deflect blame*.
It is strange to me how this inability to accept blame has no real pattern. I have young people in my life that readily own up to problems, and I know 65-year-old men who will blame every single person down the chain of their command before admitting they were wrong. What is it that causes this flaw? What are the steps people can take to instill this trait in those around them? I have tried, usually in vain, to work with people in the past on this, but it seems like something deeply, deeply ingrained, a bad habit that they just can’t break.
Do you have people in your life that do this? Do you call them out on it, or accept it as the way they are? Are you often the brunt of someone’s blame spiral? Vent to me, loveys!
*Please note that this statement in no way relates to the exceptional amount of bullshit victim blaming, slut-shaming, etc. I am speaking solely about a person clearly and obviously screwing something up and blaming a bunch of other people for it instead of accepting responsibility for their actions.