Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Fox Reality Show - The Blame Game

This year Fox will present a new reality show called the Blame Game. In the past we have had the Newlywed Game and Family Feud. The benefit of the Blame Game is that everyone already knows how to play, since we have all played the home version.

That sounds funny, right? But funny it isn't. The truth is we all have played the blame game over the course of our relationships. We might have felt better in that moment, wagging our pointer finger at our partner and revelling in our righteous indignation, but we accomplished only one thing. We fueled the fires of resentment and bitterness. Since our goal is to improve our relationship with our partner, the reality is that the blame game has no place in our lives. It is a defense mechanism left over from our childhoods.

Children often play the blame game, and play it well. Siblings learn quickly how to escape punishment from caretakers by blaming their antics on one another. Teens blame their rebellion on the difference in privileges between their home and the home of their friends. By the time we reach adulthood it is time to leave the blame game behind.

Partners may blame one another for difficulties in the relationship forgetting that the saying, "It takes two to tango" often applies. In a misunderstanding or disagreement, both parties generally share responsibility whether equally or not. Focusing on coming to an agreement is a more productive path rather than bickering about who was more at fault. In the end, personal responsibility and acknowledgement occur only in an atmosphere of acceptance, flexibility and open communication.

It is important to recall, especially when we are in the midst of a disagreement, that we can disagree but do not have to become disagreeable. Playing the blame game is disagreeable, accomplishes nothing toward the goal of bettering our relationship and builds walls, not bridges.

We all are fallible. If we treat one another with respect we will reap the reward of being respected. We allow our partner the dignity of making mistakes without losing self esteem. This small gift gives our relationship solidity. We do not want to be denigrated when we stumble. We treat our partner the way we wish to be treated when we falter.

We practice tolerance, patience and gentleness in our daily lives. We try to leave everything a little bit better than we find it. As we use our tools and increase our own self esteem we will be better able to give our partner dignity and respect even in the face of disagreement. We practice self care curbing our tendency to react vs respond. In this way we give ourselves the gift of a dignified and respectful relationship.

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