Freedom From Blame and Control

Freedom From Blame and Control

I’m not okay and it’s your fault. This is the essence of Blame. It’s a posture of powerlessness in relationships. It’s the essence of a victim mentality in life circumstances. It doesn’t mean that other people can’t or won’t hurt you; they can and will. That’s very real. But blame surrenders power. Blame abandons self-management. Blame hands over to other people the power to determine my responses, reactions, and attitudes. Blame assigns responsibility for me and how I’m doing over to someone else. Blame assumes that I am not in control of me; you are. Blame makes healthy and happy the responsibility of others in my mind and heart and life. Blame is rooted in an orphan heart because the settled lack of personal identity and value have taught me to believe I am powerless instead of being powerful. Blame is rooted in a poverty mindset because it assumes on the front end a lack of resource or capacity to steward.

You need to change so that I can be okay. This is the essence of Control. It’s the assumption that manipulation is the key to fixing the brokenness in my life and relationships. It assumes that if I’m a victim to others, then you are a victim to me. Control flows from an assumption that if I’m unable to control myself, then you must be unable to control yourself as well. If others are able to control me, then I must be able to control you. When fear or anxiety escalates in a relationship, control seeks to change the other person instead of powerfully managing self.

Blame and Control is a way of approaching relationships that is, in its essence, a commitment to wrongly assigning responsibility. The only person I can actually manage and change is me. So self-management is the key to true responsibility. Blame and Control abandons personal responsibility and assigns it to someone else, someone who actually cannot control or manage me. This ensures that I never truly change and always have an excuse: the other person. Blame and Control seeks to rob the other person of their capacity and responsibility to manage themselves and instead seeks to manipulate and control the other person.

This approach to relationships produces codependency instead of interdependence, toxic relationships instead of healthy. This is because my motivation in a Blame and Control approach to relationships is I need you instead of I choose you.¬†This codependent model of relationships is based on an assumption of personal powerlessness and poverty. I’m approaching you from a place of deficit instead of strength. I am in this relationship to get instead of to give. I need you; even if what I need is for you to need me. I don’t know who I am and I’m expecting you to be my identity. I’m powerless so I’m hoping to feel powerful by controlling you when I can and then blaming you when that doesn’t answer the longing of my heart.

In this unhealthy scenario, my attempts at manipulation serve to punish you into conforming to my expectations and meeting your needs. I punish through what I do. I punish through what I withhold. I punish aggressively. I punish passive-aggressively. When I’m locked in a Blame and Control model of relationship, I ultimately believe that punishment is the right response to someone else’s mistakes. I actually think I’m responding/reacting in the right way when I withhold approval or affection or attention in order to motivate change. I actually feel justified when my anger explodes in order to intimidate and bully someone into alignment with my expectations.

Does any of this sound familiar? I bet it does. It’s the way most of the world attempts to manage relationships. But it only produces disconnection, never connection.

We have to break free! Here are some truths that have helped me on my journey.

  1. I need a deeper revelation of God’s love for me as his beloved child. Rather than pursuing mere behavior modification, I need to be on a journey of healing and freedom, allowing God’s love to heal my orphan heart.
  2. I must renounce my commitment to powerlessness and embrace responsibility for my inner world: my thoughts, reactions, responses, attitudes, etc. I must become the manager of me. I must commit to owning my stewardship of love, peace, joy and honor in every aspect of my life. This doesn’t mean I am my own source. It means that I am committing to the reality of God as my source and the unlimited supply of power and love available to me in him.
  3. I must forgive. Unforgiveness is the mortar between the bricks of Blame and Control. Unforgiveness is my hardened commitment to make others responsible for my heart and mind. Unforgiveness invites others to take up powerful space inside me that does not belong to them. When I choose to forgive, I am choosing to take back ownership of how I’m doing.
  4. I must choose to love well. Love is a powerful thing and only powerful people can offer it to others. By choosing to love (benefit someone else at my cost), I am intentionally stepping into a place of powerful identity and resource. This is the opposite of Blame and Control. POWER AND LOVE. 

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