The Blame Game

Roots and light When I was growing up it was my responsibility to care for the chickens. In the winter what that meant was carrying a heavy bucket of water from our house the thirty or more yards to their coop. The spring I was twelve the wetlands near the coop flooded and there was plenty of water right there. I took advantage of it. However, something then happened to the chickens. They began dying. Apparently, they had somehow caught a disease.

My parents called me into the living room. They were sitting on the sofa looking stern. They asked me if I had been doing anything different for the chickens. “No,” I lied. Then they faced me with the evidence. My great aunt’s gardener had seen me getting the water from the swamp. Uh oh! I don’t remember my punishment—probably a suspension of my allowance. Sadly, I didn’t really learn my lesson then, though eventually I did. I was often too fearful of the consequences to tell the truth.

Many if not most of us are. The vase is broken, the favorite toy ruined, the car dented and we hear: “He/she made me…”  or “I couldn’t help it.” Heard that before? This familiar copout is often every child’s first response—except perhaps for, “I didn’t do it.” How do we teach children to take responsibility for their actions? It isn’t easy and every parent has his or her idea how best to accomplish this. Sometimes they manage to make that happen, and the child grows up to be a responsible adult.

However all too often even as adults we are reluctant to take the responsibility we need to for our own actions. We may be afraid of the results when someone finds out. I know often I was, or we may not want someone to think ill of us, as in “how could I be so stupid as to make that mistake?”  There are as many reasons as there are situations. The bottom line is that we do not like to admit to being ill advised, ignorant, or just plain absent of mind.

Blaming is something many do when they want to get out of a situation where they feel trapped or one that will lower their value in another’s eyes and mind. The problem with playing the blame game is that not only is it dishonest, it is also unkind to the person or persons we may be blaming for our mistake.

I learned to own up to my responsibility only as an adult. My husband Stephen was actually the one to help me to do this. He would not allow me to get away with evading it, and he would make sure I was ultimately honest. I’ve learned that honesty really is the best policy when it comes to admitting to wrongdoing. Feelings of guilt are thereby avoided as well as other consequences that may arise when and if the truth emerges—and all too often it will.


Happy Anniversary To Us by Tasha Halpert

S7T bt BrendaStephen and I met in 1977 while we were both working for a small theater group called Theater Workshop Boston. I was an occasional personal assistant to the director, Stephen did a freelance publicity and public relations and the director had hired him to help out. We were both called to the office on the same day, being together there for several hours while we helped the director. We agreed to meet again soon afterward to spend more time together.

That second meeting quickly grew into a friendship as we discovered much in common and found a great deal to communicate about. Soon because I needed to move from my small apartment, Stephen invited me to become his roommate. Fortuitously, the current one had just moved out. W

As we proved to be so compatible, we soon moved in together and got another roommate to help make ends met. We threw in our lot together and began working as a team soon after that. Stephen taught me about publicity and public relations; I taught him about meditation and intuitive skills. We began teaching classes together. He encouraged me to write, and I began what ended by being a series of books we self published later on.

After nearly three years because we wanted to show the world it was possible to do that and still be lovers we made the decision to marry. On July 5,1980 beneath a beautiful Copper Beech, we were married by a minister friend of mine. After 35 years we are still both married and lovers. As well, we are best friends. To some extent this is due to a decision we made at my insistence very soon after we met: we agreed always to be honest with one another about our feelings.

I felt then and feel even more strongly now that a good, long lasting relationship must be built on honesty in general but especially when it comes to feelings. There are times when it is painful to be honest about how one feels. However, if one does not share the feelings they can grow into resentment and then anger. If instead the feeling is shared, this does not happen.

Change can be optional. What matters is that the feelings are expressed. Sometimes it is impossible to alter behavior, especially if it is an ingrained part of his or her nature. For instance, I will probably always have a tendency to wait to leave for an appointment until the last minute, thus frustrating Stephen. He will doubtless always collect things, resulting in piles and crowded living space.

Generous measures of patience, tolerance and kindness toward one another have been vital to the longevity of our relationship. Also important is that we do not compete with one another. Each rejoices over the triumphs of the other, nor is there any jealousy or envy between us. When you truly love someone it is their happiness that matters. As well, so does yours. In our years together we have tried always to give each other room to grow. Our love for one another is the fertile soil that makes that happen.