Real Connections Blog

“Where You Place Your Blame is Where You Put Your Power: Harnessing the Power Within”

  • Rick Elgersma
  • February 8, 2024

I’m a blamer. I seem to have something to tell someone else about what they’ve done wrong, and I do it every day” said a client the other day. His sense of power depended on two points. Guilt lessens his humanity, and makes him feel less than. So he uses negative means to increase his power.

However, “he who has no sin throws the first stone,” says the good book. We all use power to either place ourselves on a higher run or someone else on a lower rung. 

In the intricate dance of human relationships, blame and power often go hand in hand. When we place blame, we are, in essence, asserting our power over others. But what does this mean, and how does it affect our interactions and personal growth?

1. Understanding Blame and Power

Blame shifts responsibility for our feelings, actions, or circumstances onto others. Blame shields us from the discomfort of acknowledging our mistakes, and dictates how others should feel and behave. It says, “I am in control here, and you are not. You are at fault.” The person being blamed feels powerless. Our relationships cannot sustain such ideas. Do we truly want that for ourselves and others?

2. The Connection Between Blame and Power

The power we desire is often displaced into a conflict that rarely achieves the goal hoped for with the statement. For instance, one client told his wife that they had agreed to partner up in keeping the house clean and that the other person has been a bad partner. What usually happens at this point? The spouse or partner either withdraws, or they shift blame back to the blame. “argues all the ways they’ve been a good partner, and how the other partner was the bad partner, shifting blame around even more. “OH YEAH?! You do the same thing, but WORSE!”

Moreover, when couples constantly place blame on each other, they give away their power to change and grow. They become stuck in a cycle of powerlessness, unable to move forward.

3. The Consequences of Blame

Where we place blame is where we put our power. Again, is that really what we want? Blame controls others, and makes us feel powerful. Yet the feeling of power is most often a false sense of security. Blame can damage relationships irreparably, create resentment, prevent ownership, and hinder personal growth. On the other hand, taking responsibility for the issue at hand allows us to influence positive change in our relationships and offer true security.

Blame also lessens the desire to productively work towards resolution.

4. Harnessing Negative Power

What do you do with the power that comes from blaming others? You turn it into a weapon. The weapon is never used to protect your relationship. That means that blame stands against our natural need for connection.

Like I said, we all blame from a negative, closed position to some degree. However, when a person can take responsibility and ownership, the person is more able to influence positive change in the partnership. That is true power. 

5. How Do We Harness Positive Power?

The question is, how shall we use power? Power in itself isn’t wrong. When each partner submits to the other, power is not only beautifully used, it cannot destroy the marriage or relationship. When power is used to create connection, and inspire contentment the overall nature of our relationship provides the belonging people need.

The answer lies in self-awareness and personal growth that can be gained from a tiny little tool. Reflective listening.

Instead of using blame as our power tool of choice, we can use it as a mirror to reflect on our actions and behaviors. Relational tools like reflective listening, a method where one person actively listens and then mirrors back the speaker’s words, can foster an environment of openness between couples, paving the way for constructive discussions and problem-solving, and lifting the overall health of our relationships.

Reflective listening takes practice. But by using the tool, you can cultivate a sense of hope where you can flourish in the fertile ground of honest communication. You also promote the best and most healthy fruits of great relationships: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Now, that’s big.

Employing tools that share power between the couple can lead to a surge in productivity, cultivate positive emotions, and improve overall health. Blame is junk food for marriage. Blame slows relational metabolism, creates disunity, and downgrades the health of the marriage.

6. Conclusion – Beautiful Results

Negative power can be redirected toward contentment, self-awareness, and personal and relationship growth. When you ensure each of you feels heard, understood, respected, and valued, you can reduce the likelihood of misunderstanding, and promote harmony and mutual respect. After all, true power lies in fostering understanding, growth, and connection.

woman riding on man's back on green field

Share Power

be happy

Contact us to get Started

We're here to help, please reach out and we’ll help at our earliest convenience.
© 2023 Real Connections Counseling. All rights reserved  |  Admin login