In this case, you project your good traits onto the other.They are kind and flawless, and you are the monster.
But this claiming of all the blame blocks the other person from sharing their own truth about the situation. They can’t face their own responsibility and grow and learn from what has happened. The result can often be that the other person becomes increasingly frustrated, feels trapped, and pulls away.
Your relationships remain stuck in an often dramatic pattern of claiming fault/begging for forgiveness, instead of working through challenges together and creating real connection.
The result? You feel lonely, unloved, and even more of a terrible, shameful person who must therefore always be at fault. And the cycle continues.
The hidden benefits of always using self-blame
If self-blame leaves us feeling lonely and stuck, then why would we continue to use it?
Personal coaching would suggest that if we want to stop a habit, we must first accept the benefits it gives us. What would be the benefits of always taking the blame?
And when we feel sorry for ourselves, it forces the other to feel sorry for us, too. It might not be the best way to get attention, but it does the trick.
3. You maintain control.
This might be hard to accept, but the truth about always claiming responsibility is that it is manipulative. You constantly block the other person from deciding how things will go, and you use sympathy to make sure they don’t pull away and leave you.
So effectively, always claiming ‘it’s all my fault’ ends up a way to have power over another. It might be hard to believe when you have such low self-esteem that you’d want power over another. But low self-esteem can mean we want the power to stop other people hurting or abandoning us.
5. You can avoid changing.
If we always take the blame, then we don’t have to experience new emotions or new conversations.
6. You don’t have to be vulnerable.
Accepting someone else has perhaps wronged you (even if not meaning to) can mean you must allow yourself to feel hurt and vulnerable. Using self-blame means you can resort to shame instead of vulnerability.
Why am I the sort of person who always feels ‘its’ all my fault’?
Nobody is born thinking that everything is all their fault. It’s something we somehow learn from the experiences we have, or decide to believe because of the way those experiences make us feel.
Often a habit of self-blaming comes from achildhood trauma. If we are abused, neglected, abandoned, or lose someone we loved, our childlike brain can find no understanding of what has happened other than to think, ‘it is something I did somehow, it’s all my fault’. And our brain takes this assumption as fact (called having a ‘core belief’ in psychology). It then applies it to any other difficult thing that comes along, until it is a pattern we carry into adulthood.
Self-blame can also come from certain types of parenting that don’t allow us to be ourselves. If you were, for example, shown love when you were ‘good’ or ‘quiet’ but shunned, criticised, or punished if you dared to be angry or sad or show a different opinion, then you would take on the idea that you have a ‘bad’ side. If you show that side, well, then…anything that goes wrong is ‘all your fault’.
Why is it so hard to stop feeling it’s all my fault?
Blaming ourselves can be quite addictive.Addictions tend to grow when we are using something to avoid emotional pain.
And even though on the surface blaming yourself seems to be about making yourself feel many things (worthless, bad, no good, furious at yourself) what we often are doing is avoiding feeling the one emotion that our childhood trauma would have caused –sadness.
How can I break this pattern of always feeling it’s all my fault?
If you find you can’t stop feeling everything is all your fault, it might be time to seek support.Counsellors and psychotherapists are trained at helping you find the root of your shame and self-blame. They create a safe space to process old experiences and repressed emotions. And they help you learn and practise ways of relating that don’t involve the default setting of deciding it’s all your fault.
Therapies you might want to try to end cycles of self-blame include: