Blaming others: why we do it and how to avoid it

Why do we blame others in the face of conflict? Learn the reasons and how to avoid them to deal with problems in a more mature way.



On a daily basis, we encounter difficulties that pose a great challenge to our emotional well-being. We can risk adopting a victim attitude, blaming others or the circumstances for what happens to us. In this article we tell you how to establish proper coping mechanisms.

The immediate reaction to difficulties is to search for solutions, but sometimes we dodge the issue and attribute our discomfort to others, without realising that we have an active role to play in improving our situation.

The reason we act like this is as a defence mechanism to protect ourselves, not only from others, but from ourselves. However, we can change this by seeking an appropriate, responsible, adult style of coping. Here's how.

Why do we blame others in the face of conflict?

  • We avoid personal responsibility, regardless of the area in which it occurs (partner, family, work, friendships...). It is common to internally discard the idea of facing up to things, if we are not prepared to change.
  • We try to safeguard our self-esteem, by avoiding feeling guilty for our own mistakes.
  • We also avoid confronting reality and the challenge it poses. We tend towards what is comfortable: what we are not so aware of is the damage it causes us.
  • It can also be due to difficulties in the communication style we use at the outset of the problem and the search for solutions.

How to deal with problems effectively 

Below, we give you some question and answer tips to help initiate a change in the way we see, deal with and resolve conflicts.

  1. Self-Awareness. What are your immediate responses to a conflict? Are others always to blame? Are you avoiding taking your share of responsibility?
  2. Reflection and analysis. Can you describe your behaviour without making judgments about yourself or others? Being objective with yourself and others is part of the solution.
  3. Assertive communication. What can I do to re-establish the dialogue? Can I express how I feel without blaming others? Am I able to listen to the other person without judgment and using active listening? Can we find a solution together without imposition?
  4. Empathy. Can you understand, empathise with and value others' point of view? Is it possible that there are different points of view on the same situation than yours?
  5. Focus on solutions. Here is where the change begins, when you turn your attention to the search for constructive and mature solutions. Look for alternatives to address complicated situations and work collaboratively with those involved, seeking the greatest benefit for all.
  6. Final learning. Behind every conflict is a window of opportunity for learning. Think about what you have learned and what you think is most effective for the next occasion. And how do you know if you have learned and the experience has been effective? When your emotional well-being feels reinforced.