The 4 Reasons We Play the “Blame Game”

man pointing finger at woman, blame

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*You left the stove on too high and now your meal is burnt.
*You slipped going down your front steps because they were iced over.
*You were late coming home from work because you ran into a friend at the grocery store.

When something like the above occurs, what is your first thought? Do you immediately blame someone or something else? Or, do you resent yourself for always being responsible?

There are two sides of the blame game.

The first is someone who ALWAYS finds someone else to blame. Your wife distracted you while you were cooking, your landlord should have put salt down on the sidewalks before the bad weather, your friend held you captive in conversation at the grocery store. Some people can find anyone to blame but themselves.

However, on the other end of the spectrum are people who blame themselves for everything, even when they had nothing to do with the misfortune. They blame themselves for having bad weather at the family picnic they planned, they blame themselves for the children crying at the dinner table or blame themselves when the roof leaks. Some people believe they cause every bad thing all or most of the time.

Both sides of the blame game are unhealthy and here’s why:

Unlike other games, the more often you play the blame game, the more you lose. Learning to decipher your role in a bad situation (or even if you had a role at all) will help you grow from your experiences and achieve more fulfilling relationships and memories.

Here are 4 reasons why we play the blame game:

  1. Blame is a defense mechanism. Blame helps you preserve your sense of self-esteem by avoiding awareness of your own flaws or failings.
  2. Blame is a tool we use when we are in attack mode. Blame is also a way we can hurt others.
  3. We are not very good at figuring out other people’s behavior. (This is why assessments in the workplace are important.) We are very quick to make judgements or assumptions about others that are not the most flattering and/or the truth.
  4. It’s easier to blame someone else than accept responsibility. There is less effort needed to recognize your contribution to how you are feeling and acting rather than just faulting someone else.


An emotionally, healthy leader learns not to be on either spectrum of the blame game. They look first at themselves and take responsibility for their part before pointing blame at the other people involved.


Healthy leaders understand the difference between blame and accountability.


If you’re interested in getting help differentiating between the two for your team, please see our website!


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