We blame others if we fear punishment for wrongdoing.

Blaming provides an early and artificial solution to a complex problem. It provides a simplistic view of a complex reality: I know what the problem is, and you’re it. Blame thus makes inquiry difficult and reduces the chances of getting to the real root of a problem. Blame also generates fear and destroys trust. When we blame, we often believe that other people have bad intentions or lack ability. We tend to excuse our own actions, however, because we know firsthand the challenges we face. The qualities of blame are judgment, anger, fear, punishment, and self-righteousness.

“Blame ‘shifts the burden.’ In a ‘shifting the burden’ situation, a problem has multiple solutions. People often grab onto the most obvious, short-term fix rather than search for the fundamental source of the problem. The lack of a permanent, long-term solution reinforces the need for additional quick fixes. Blame is a fix that actually diverts the blamers’ attention away from long-term interpersonal or structural solutions to problems.”

“Although blame provides some immediate relief and a sense of having solved a problem (‘It’s their fault’), it also erodes communication and shifts the focus even further from accountability, the more fundamental solution.”

“Blaming can also be addictive, because it makes us feel powerful and keeps us from having to examine our own role in a situation.”

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