The first and most recent is your upbringing. Yes, that’s right your upbringing. As a child, did you feel everything that you did was wrong or not good enough? Were your parents always critical of the things you did? You might be thinking, “Randy my parents just wanted the best for me.” What parents don’t want the best for their kids? I know I do. As parents, if all we do is criticize our children, we are only instilling a sense of never being “good enough” unless “I am perfect.”
In my own case, I am not exaggerating, nothing I ever did was good enough. I never and I do mean never, received kudos or praise for anything I did. If I received all “A’s” and one “D” on a report card, all I would hear about was the “D.” No mention at all of the “A’s.” When I made a mistake as a child or teenager I would be kicked (metaphorically) when I was down. I would be told how stupid I was. I was told I would never amount to anything.
When I was seventeen-years old my mother and stepfather went to Hawaii for a week. While they were gone my stepfather let me use his truck to go to Mammoth for the week. I arrived home from my trip a couple of days before my they were to return home from their trip. I wanted to show my appreciation for letting me use the truck. I decided to wash and waxed the truck. Not only did I wash and wax the truck, I decided to clean the entire house for them, upstairs, downstairs, including all the downstairs windows.
The day they arrived home I was proud of myself for doing all that I had done. I couldn’t wait for them to get home and see all that I had done for “them.” Maybe, just maybe this time I would earn their approval and thanks. However, that proved not be the case. They arrived home with no mention of how nice the truck looked. Oh well I thought, maybe they’ll notice the house. After they settled in and my stepfather and mother inspected the house, only one thing was said to me. We had a big corner window in the kitchen, which I washed the inside and outside of. The last thing my stepfather looked at was that window. After inspecting the whole house and the kitchen window he said only one thing to me, “you missed a spot on the window,” not one word about how nice everything else looked.
For years when I would receive a compliment, I would make it a point to show you the spot, the imperfection, on my window. No matter how much I achieved, no matter how many kudos I received, I was never good enough. It was instilled in me by my imperfect parents that “I was not good enough” no matter what. As a result, I felt that I was never allowed to make a mistake, because if I did, I was just proving my mother and stepfather right. Therefore, nothing was ever my fault and I was always casting blame on those around me that did not deserve it for my mistakes.
Well there is good news in all of this. It is not our fault or our parents’ fault. Which brings me to my second reason. We are definitely at fault for keeping the cycle going, but the blame game started at the beginning of mankind in the Garden of Eden. Yes, that’s right, Adam and Eve are at the root of all of this. There are two bible verses that prove this. First there is Genesis 3:12 (NIV) The man said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Second there is Genesis 3:13 (NIV) Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." Let’s look at these to verses separately. I believe that it is important that you know that shame is also what drives the blame game. I will touch on this briefly.
Adam and Eve are living in the beautiful Garden of Eden. God tells them you can eat from any tree in the garden except for the Tree of Knowledge and Good and Evil (TKGE). If you do you will die. Now dying is not a physical death, rather it’s death of your dreams, friendships, family, etc…. Here’s where the blame begins. In fact I believe it started with Satan, the serpent. Even though there is no scripture saying this, I can just imagine the devil saying, “if God would not have cast me out of heaven, I would not have to tempt others to believe me.
It's funny how God first confronted Adam, the spiritual head of the relationship, about why he ate the fruit from TKGE. When God confronted Adam, he replied with: "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. I’m curious why he blamed Eve for his disobedience. The question arises; Where was Adam when Eve was being tempted? Why did he not warn her and protect her when she was being tempted? Genesis 3:6 in part says “….and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Is it possible that Eve was overcome with shame at the moment she ate of the forbidden fruit? Is it possible she turned to Adam and tempted him in the same way the serpent tempted her to relieve the feelings of shame for disobeying God?
In Genesis 3:13 (NIV) …. the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." So, did Adam stand by and watch as Eve gave into temptation. Is it possible that Adam was then overwhelmed with shame for not protecting Eve from the serpent’s temptations causing him to also eat the forbidden fruit? Yet, like Eve he was also told not to eat from the TKGE. However, Adam himself made the choice to partake of the forbidden fruit. Still when God asked Adam if he ate from the forbidden tree, he blamed it on Eve - Genesis 3:12 (NIV) The man said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
You see, the blame game started at the beginning of mankind. I would say that shame started with the fall of Satan from heaven. There’s a saying in recovery we use all the time – “Hurt people, hurt people,” and shame is always handed down from another hurt person. I believe it all started with the fall of Satan from heaven, which he handed down to Eve when she gave into temptation, which in turn was handed down to Adam when he was tempted by Eve. Tempting others is way to elevate our own pain and shame by inviting them to participate in our sin.
You see, blaming others for our downfalls, our mistakes, is not a gift from God. For many of us it just might seem natural, how you were born. I would argue that blaming others is just another learned behavior handed down from generation to generation, starting with the fall of Satan from heaven. The methods used that cause us to blame, starts when we are young children and follows us into our young adulthood. It is a coping mechanism handed down to us from our parents, coaches, siblings, aunts, uncles, or caregivers. We might be told we will never amount to anything, or we can never do anything right. Therefore, we learn how to blame others for our mistakes as a way of not looking bad or proving our caregivers right.
One of my mentors asked me one day; “Randy, why does everything have to be right or wrong, good or bad? Why can’t it just be?” Today I look at everything that happens to me as a lesson of what to do or not do. I see everyone that enters my life, rather for a minute, an hour, a day, a month….as a teacher. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, and never will be. That’s okay. I’m going to, you’re going to make mistakes and that’s okay, it’s how we learn. Today I no longer blame mistakes on others, instead I learn from those mistakes. We all have of choices to make every day. When we make a choice and it proves not be the smartest of choices, own it, embrace it, learn from it and whatever you do, don’t blame your mistakes on others and always give credit where credit is due. Remember, we have a part in everything we do.