Even though I have heard this term before, I never thought, for the life of me, that this was a defined phrase. I was therefore taken aback to find a definition on the internet as I did my research. It was a pleasant surprise as I noted that it was right on point
The Blame Game
“a situation in which one party blames others for something bad or unfortunate rather than attempting to seek a solution.
“he elects to play the blame game but that isn’t very constructive”
Of late I have been talking to my children about the blame game, pointing out that it does not work. There is no solution in the blame game. One day, in the evening at supper time, which also happened to be only a day after one such talk, my twenty-one year old son brought me a plate of food. My eldest daughter had done a very good job and the plate looked appetizing, but there was no cutlery. When I asked him why there was no dear old fork, he gave me the most hilarious response ever! At least I thought it was because he was coming from the kitchen, and as a helping hand he should just have grabbed one.
“You know, I was wondering why she did not put a fork on the tray.”
Even as he said this, I could see that he felt so lame uttering this response. I could not help it. I just burst out laughing. Seriously? Even for such a simple task, he was shifting blame. He could solve the problem by simply grabbing one from the drawer! So I suggested a solution to this dilemma.
“Could you please just go back to the kitchen and bring me a fork?”
Sheepishly, he turned around and in just under forty seconds he was done! Problem solved. Yet we had wasted more time discussing the omission than the time it took taking action. Had he just brought one in the first place, there would have been no problem to solve.
Over the years of counseling, I have found that the blame game is very much alive among couples or families in abusive relationships. Imagine this scenario. A spouse finds out that the partner is having an affair. The aggrieved party seeks help or counseling as there is communication breakdown, only to be blamed for bringing the name of the offender into disrepute. Focus is rerouted to this new issue and the real one of infidelity is skirted around until it is shelved. Energy is therefore spent on arguments and emotional blackmail. In the meantime, no solution is offered by the offender as this tactic is used to dodge blame. In most cases of physical abuse, it is not rare to hear the statement ‘look what YOU made me do’ or ‘its your fault that I lost my temper’.
On a spiritual note, a woman manifested a demon during prayer. The woman always confessed that when they married, her husband was such a good person. After only a few months, he changed and became very abusive and literally turned into a womanizer. Everyone who knew him before was shocked at the transformation. Under the fire of the Holy Ghost, the spirit confessed and implied that this was the work of the mother- in-law working through witchcraft to destroy the marriage! In another case that exhibited similar characteristics, the demonic spirit implied the woman in this case had been given to it as a wife during a ritual to bring back ancestral spirits into the family, and she should never have married. Let me just say that since I was little, I have seen enough to know that witchcraft is real, because after all, the devil is real.
I must add though that while I know that it is a reality, I do not believe in it. I believe in God. I also believe that as is characteristic of the devil, he will twist the truth. However, even if it is true, I always remember that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. In the meantime let us assume that those hearing these statements believe it is true, whom are they going to blame for the marital problems and abusive nature of the offending spouse in these scenarios? Will blame solve the problem? In any case, why would a mother bewitch her son only after he gets married! Is it because she believes the daughter- in- law is depriving her of her son’s love and resources or affection? Will pointing fingers as happens in lot of our societies solve the problem, considering that sometime, if not most of the time, most women, and usually the elderly, are falsely accused?
What about the intelligent young man or young woman for whom parents, some of them single, sacrificed everything for what they believed was a good education at a very expensive school, only to find out their child was initiated into a cult or has become a drug addict? Who do you blame in this scenario? The parent(s) for putting their child in a school where they were initiated, or do you blame the child? Can you blame the peers who were also initiated or the school authorities for failing to fulfill their promise to protect those entrusted to them?
In all these cases, whether blame is undeniable, or circumstantial, dwelling on the blame game will have all the parties concerned trapped in a vicious cycle. Statistics show that in most cases violence and abusive behavior is as a result of abuse itself. Children exposed to and observing violent behavior may become abusers themselves. I came across a few stories, especially from the United States, of men who became serial killers. One was exposed to so much violence and abusive behavior from parents believed to be Christians, he became a serial killer. Who do you blame? The parents, religion, or the community who did nothing? What could the community have done? Do we point fingers to the church or the various civil society organizations or governmental systems such as social welfare for failing to protect children in various homes and facilities across the world? Recently on BBC News was featured a documentary titled
“Norway’s Silent Scandal”.
The highlight was on the conviction of a prominent expert in that country’s troubled child protection system for downloading images of child sex abuse, and how this has put the organization under scrutiny. It turned out that this male psychologist who was responsible for splitting families by taking away their children and placing them into foster care using trivial reasons, was found guilty of watching child pornography. It was stated that in the footage found were children between 10 to 14 years of age and little babies being subjected to various despicable and heinous sexual acts. The question is what kind of adults will these children become? Who blames who for what?
While a lot of research and data is available that suggests that in some cases violence and abusive behavior has decreased, we unfortunately still have way too many people, more so women and children living under violent and abusive conditions. I believe more needs to be done in finding solutions to the issues of women and child abuse, and dwelling on the blame game, and everyone needs to be involved including the men.
Recently, I attended the African Regional Dialogue 2018 in Nairobi Kenya. One of the highlights was the launch of The State of African Women Report – Key Findings. I observed that while a lot is being done to bring civil society organizations including faith based ones to work together, one of the biggest challenges is “language”. During one of the plenary sessions, I commented that we needed to be willing to “listen to” and “hear “ each other’s languages as we come from different platforms and hence perceive the same problems differently. While we may all recognize the pain caused, our explanations as to the various causes will differ. I stated that my being involved in these matters is as a result of my pastoral background and more so intimate relationship with God and the many hours of prayer in which I believe God spoke to me to go and minister to the homeless, and taught me not to hate gay people because there was a spiritual aspect to these things. God said to me I was to work with the homeless and all lost souls that he brings my way and He will deliver them from these forces of darkness many of which came in as a result of traumatic experiences such as sodomy. The question is, when I speak like this, is a psychologist willing to listen and understand my perception and those of the many men and women of God, whether apostles, prophets, evangelists, or pastors? Right now we are getting more and more testimonies of young people being delivered from violent behavior or what we term sexual perversion such as homosexuality or lesbianism. What we term demonic possession and manifestation maybe termed split personality by psychologists. Different language, same problem. In the meantime, those understanding these problems from a social scientific view or some other level of educational or religious background will tell you that they do not care much about prayer and may dismiss these realities as hogwash. What do we do? Do we point fingers at each other or should we stop to listen and understand each other’s language so that we may enable each other to work in our different spheres of influence?
There will always be evil in the world we live it, but I believe that love conquers all. I believe therefore, that when those of us who believe in love in its purest form came together, at individual, community, organisational and national level, we will discover more solutions to these problems. While media does a lot in bringing such conversations to light, a lot more needs to be done to come to more positive conclusions. My concern is that most discussions or conversations on our media platforms simply highlight and magnify the problem, and in the process unintentionally “normalises” what should remain taboo. In fact, it is ironic how much some of the film and music industry promotes violence through movies and song. One male artist vowed and stopped singing violent derogatory lyrics against women when his daughter was born! Thank God for the transformation, yet many young people had already been exposed and carried on the trend.
The blame game is not new. It started right at the beginning of earthly relationships. When the Lord asked Adam what he had done wrong in the Garden of Eden, he responded by shifting blame not only to his wife, but to God as well. Eve likewise shifted blame to the serpent.
“And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, what is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat”
“The woman you gave me …..” In other words it was God’s fault because He is the one who had given him Eve. It sounded as if he was saying was he on his own, the mistake would not have happened! Likewise, and Eve speaks as if she had no strength to resist the serpent. This trait, which came as a result of the fall of man to sin, is still alive today because that sinful nature is still in mankind. That is why in some cases we hear people ask “why Lord?” when they are in pain, as if God was the cause! We continue to shift the blame from one system to another, be it parental, sibling, community or national level.
All the blame game does is produce a vicious cycle as it creates a situation in which one party blames others for something bad or unfortunate rather than attempting to seek a solution. Instead of questions such as “look what you made me do”, or “its your fault”, we all need to stop in our tracks to introspect. I feel it is important for each one of us to ask ourselves questions such as “what could I have done differently to add value to my relationship or this situation”, or “what if I reacted in love instead of violence?”
Remember, Jesus loves you. If you have not yet received Christ as your Lord and savior, feel free to say this simple prayer.
“Lord Jesus Christ, I believe you were crucified and died in my place. You were buried, and on the third day rose again, conquering death. Your blood was shed for the forgiveness of my sin. I open my heart. Come into my life and be my Lord and savior. In your name I pray. Amen” (Romans 10-8-11)
It would be wonderful to know how the Lord has touched you and we look forward to hearing from you.