Guilt: The Attribution Game

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Robert Maurer
@robertmaurer
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One of the favorite pastimes of
people to destroy each other is la
fault
. Over time it has been the cause of wars, weakness and,
of course, much of the frustration experienced by humans. The
blame attribution game is very simple and has only one rule: blame others of any
bad thing that happened.

At the basis of this form of understanding
the world is hiding three irrational beliefs: 1. If something has gone or can go
badly, you have to find someone (other than us) to attribute the
responsibility. 2. The person who caused the problem
it does not deserve our respect (even if we have attributed the
responsibility for what happened). So that you can ignore it or even in cases
extreme, use verbal or physical violence against him. 3. We will never accept any kind
of responsibility for what happened. We will never admit any guilt and we do not deserve
no type of disparaging treatment from others. Seen in this perspective, it is not
difficult to realize that these beliefs are completely false but if
let's take an example, we will see how these guide and condition our ideas
and ways of understanding the reality around us. Currently, due to the crisis
economic situation that is going through Europe, more and more people are losing their jobs
and they see their civil and social rights diminish. If we apply the three
previous beliefs, the logical thing to do would be to look for the culprit. Some
they blame the banks, others on foreign immigrants and a third group from
blame the politicians. Once again we see what any scapegoat is
valid to avoid assuming our share of responsibility. And what's even worse is that in some
countries (see Greece, Hungary) have already switched to applying physical violence
towards these scapegoats (who are almost always primarily immigrants
foreigners since for now bankers and politicians are however untouchable),
simply because we think they have no rights since they are the
guilty of the situation in which we find ourselves. Obviously, I'm not saying these
categories do not have their share of responsibility in the economic crisis
(because we all have some), but I would like to state that a thought of
this type only serves to generate hatred between the different categories, it creates divisions
useful only to someone (divide and conquer)
and, above all, it does not solve real problems once and for all, simply
because it does not go to the root of the same. This unhealthy game of attribution
of guilt also applies to relationships, especially when there is one
infidelity. Clearly whoever has committed the infidelity has a share of
greater responsibility but this does not exempt the person "betrayed" from taking on
their share of responsibility in the end of the relationship. How can this situation be changed?
First, we must become
aware that the three beliefs mentioned above are entirely
unfounded. For example, there isn't always someone to blame when you do
verifies a negative event, or at least there is no natural person or group
particular social responsibility that is entirely to blame for what happened. As already mentioned, a
sometimes the responsibility must be diluted among all of us, even if not in equal parts,
because it is not constructive to look for a scapegoat, even when that is there
it would make you feel better. The second belief refers to the
our tendency to underestimate the needs and rights of the accused.
However, sometimes people do wrong things but with good ones
intentions. We must not equate bad behavior with a person
"bad". For example, the fact that someone does not do well at math does not
it means that he is an imbecile but rather that he has no particular skills in
this matter but maybe it can be brilliant in others. The third belief is probably the most
difficult to eradicate, given that it would involve accepting our share of
responsibility in a negative event. Something that will make us feel uncomfortable and
which, of course, we will tend to reject. However, next time
try to blame others, stop for a second and ask yourself what it is
your own share of responsibility. It is not about being masochists but
rather than think more mature,
accepting our mistakes and working on ourselves not to repeat them.  
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