Why Alcoholics Should Not Play The Blame Game

Why Alcoholics Should Not Play the Blame Game

Blame is defined as holding someone or something responsible for anything that has gone wrong. Some people blame themselves for a certain event, while some hold a ‘higher’ power accountable for all the things that are happening.

Then there are people who blame others for the predicament they are in. Unfortunately, this way of thinking is often seen in alcoholics. For some reason, they think that their spouse or partner is responsible for all the bad things that are happening in their lives.

The Science of Blame

According to Dr. Susan Whitbourne, blame can be traced to the social psychology of attribution. This theory delves with how people rationalize the cause of certain behaviors and events.

There are two types of attribution. One is dispositional attribution, where the circumstance is blamed on a person’s internal characteristics. To wit, an individual’s acts can be blamed on his/her beliefs, emotions, and motivations.

Then there’s situational attribution. This explains that a certain event or behavior is outside the patient’s control. These people blame the environment or a certain situation for their faults or shortcomings. Unfortunately, this habit is often seen in alcoholics. They often blame their spouses or partners and other circumstances in life for their drinking problems.

Why Alcoholics Blame Their Spouses of Partners

Psychologists cite these seven reasons why alcoholics like playing the blame game with their loved ones:

1. They can’t figure out the cause/s of their addictive behaviors.

It’s hard enough to determine why other people behave a certain way. It’s even more difficult to ascertain why you behave the way you do. If you can’t seem to pinpoint why you are addicted to alcohol, it’s better to blame others for such an outcome.

2. Blame is better than accepting responsibility.

Most alcoholics know that they only have themselves to blame for the predicament they are in. However, accepting this fact can be hard to do. That means owning up to your bad behaviors – and changing them eventually – so they don’t happen again.

True enough, alcoholics find it hard to change their old, drinking ways. As such, they end up blaming their spouses for everything. Those who do often spew up “I drink because you nag/work a lot” etc.

3. Blame is a perfect defense mechanism.

Some people call it displacement, while some call it projection. No matter how you see it, blame is deemed as a way to preserve self-esteem. By placing the blame on others, you end up failing to recognize your own flaws and shortcomings.

While this defense mechanism might make you feel good, it can be disastrous to your relationship. According to another article by Dr. Whitbourne, blame can contribute to relationship breakdown. After all, you are holding your partner accountable for a problem you have made on your own.

4. Blaming keeps you in control.

Every person likes to be in good control of his/her own life. But it’s not always the case with alcoholics. They often lose their bearings, which is why they end up addicted to alcohol. As such, blame is one way that they could do to keep things ‘under control.’ It enables them to pass the responsibility to another person, so they don’t have to own up for the bad things they did.

5. Blame allows you to unload your pent-up feelings.

Most people have repressed emotions. They are usually laid back and calm. However, when push comes to shove, they end up laying the blame on others. Such is usually the case with drinkers. Blaming allows them to unload something that they have been hiding for so long. Since this usually feels so good, the alcoholic ends up playing the blame game time and time again.

6. Blame allows you to retaliate against your partner.

Sometimes, alcoholics just want to get even with their partners. They want to hurt or retaliate their spouses for say, throwing away their secret liquor stash. As such, they end up blaming their spouses for everything that has gone wrong in their lives.

Dr. Whitbourne categorizes this as a destructive form of conflict resolution. Experts define this as something destructive and dysfunctional. In the context of drinking, the alcoholic forgets the pressing issue at hand (his addiction) just to get even with his/her spouse.

Unfortunately, nobody actually ends up victorious with destructive conflict resolution. Its’ bad outcome is usually carried out in another session, so more blaming happens the next time around. This brings about a negative spiral that may destroy the relationship for good.

7. It’s easier to lie.

The famous TV physician Dr. House once said, “Everybody lies.” Unless you are saint, you have probably lied once in a while. And why not? It’s far easier to do. While you know it’s not true, blaming your spouse for your alcoholism is simpler than admitting your own problem.

Why It’s Bad to Blame Your Spouse

Remember, your spouse is not the foremost reason why you are drinking. It is your own fault and nobody else’s. Blaming your partner will not only destroy your relationship, it can harm your journey to recovery as well. By doing so, you lose:

1. Your power.

Blaming makes you powerless. It can make you believe that you can’t do anything to change your path. This could be detrimental to the rehab process, which empowers you to make positive changes in your life.

2. Your personal growth.

Blaming stunts the way you mature as a person. It can distance you from the opportunities that are present during rehab.

3. Your relationship.

Blaming your spouse puts your relationship at a breaking point. It cuts off healthy communication because you end up pushing your partner away. Remember, communication is key in rehab – as with the other aspects of life.

Wrapping Up

Blaming others for your alcoholism might be easy to do, but it’s not healthy at all. You lose your power, personal growth, and relationship in the process. As such, the act of blaming can get in the way of recovery. With that being said, enrolling in rehab can help you address alcoholism, blame, and so much more. Such treatments can help salvage your life and relationships in the process.


Latest posts by Raychel Ria Agramon, BSN, RN, MPM (see all)

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