We all do it. The blame game. We tend to blame others for our faults. We start when we are quite young, blaming a sibling or even the dog for the broken lamp. This is so common that almost everyone can recall either blaming someone else or being the one getting blamed when we were growing up.
Have we left the blame game behind or have we carried it with us into adulthood? Are we using it to “explain” our addiction? Do we play the victim to avoid responsibility, even now? Are we blaming an abusive childhood or a bad relationship for our addictive behavior? Have we become addicted to playing the victim?
Let’s look at some warning signs that you’ve become addicted to playing the victim and blaming others:
- Do you hear yourself say or think, He made me do it or She drove me to drugs?
- Do you find yourself excusing addictive behavior because you have to deal with difficult people? I need this so I can handle being around her today. It’s all her fault!
- Do you frequently change jobs, blaming coworkers for your problems?
- Do you see recurring themes in your life, such as starting and ending unhealthy, or perceived unhealthy, relationships?
These are just a few signs that you may be addicted to playing the victim and blaming others.
So, what can you do about it?
Remember that no one can make you do, say, or feel anything. You are the one who has to make different choices to achieve different results.
If you tend to lose your sobriety when associating with certain people, then choose to associate with different people. If you can’t avoid associating with them, find another way to comfort yourself without losing your sobriety. Do some deep breathing. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and meditate for a few minutes. Remind yourself that this too will pass, and you will be okay.
If you find yourself changing jobs or relationships because of other people, take a step back and look at yourself. Is that coworker really causing your problems? Are you really not also at fault in some way with that relationship? Could treating those whom you are “blaming” with kindness diffuse the situation and ease tensions?
Remind yourself that you can change any situation by changing the way you think and speak about it. It may sound corny to some but thinking positive thoughts can change the way you behave. And remember, you can’t change others. You can only change yourself.
And don’t forget to look to the saints as examples of how you can change, grow in holiness, and not fall into the trap of playing the victim and blaming others. For instance, St. Rita of Cascia endured an abusive husband for many years. Instead of playing the victim, she grew in holiness. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton lost her beloved husband. When she converted to Catholicism, her family ostracized her. Yet from this adversity, she refused to play the victim and was able to do great work for God, founding a school and a religious order. You may not be called to found an order but we are all called to a life of holiness and dependence on God.
Additionally, if you haven’t already, join a Catholic in Recovery small group to connect with fellow Catholics pursuing recovery. And don’t underestimate the help of a professional counselor or spiritual director as well. Their support can be critical to helping you maintain your sobriety, let go of playing the victim and blaming others, and continue to create a better life, one day at a time.
You don’t have to do it on your own. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It is a sign that you recognize you are human, and that you are not perfect. We have all fallen short of the glory of God, but with His help, we can improve. As long as we are moving in the right direction and trusting in God, we can have hope for a brighter future.
Celeste is a wife, mother, and grandmother living in Louisiana’s Cajun Country. She is a lifelong Catholic and committed to spreading the Gospel through small group formation programs. She is a recovering food addict (embracing the slogan, “If you can’t stop at one, have none!”), an avid knitter, and a lover of God.