What do you usually do when someone blames and shames you? Do you:
- Cave in, complying with what that person wants you to do?
- Explain and defend yourself, in an effort to get them to see your point of view?
- Blame and shame right back and get into a fight?
- Withdraw, pouting and feeling like a victim?
- Take their behavior personally and beat yourself up for being so unworthy?
How do you feel when you do any of these?
If you tune in to your feelings, you'll probably find that you feel hurt, angry, victimized and unloved. You might believe that these feelings are caused by the way the other person treated you, but they're actually coming from your own self-abandonment. How you treat yourself, in the face of how others treat you, has far more impact on how you feel than how they are treating you.
So what can you do instead? Here are seven ideas for how to react the next time you feel blamed or shamed:
1. Lovingly disengage.
When you lovingly disengage, you can say, "I'm not available to being blamed or shamed. I will come back in 15 minutes and then maybe we can talk about it."
Anyone who is shaming and blaming is closed and can't hear anything you say, so there is no point in talking. Maybe in 15 minutes, he or she will be open to a more constructive conversation. If not, then you'll have to continue to take loving care of yourself. The goal is to stay open to your own feelings, keeping your heart open, rather than to punish the other person.
This is very different than withdrawal. When you withdraw, you are angry. You close your heart and punish the other person by withholding your love.
2. Be kind and compassionate toward yourself.
Tune in to your heart — to how sad you feel when you are shamed and blamed. Tune into the loneliness and heartache you feel and the helplessness you feel over the other person. Put your hands on your heart and bring much kindness and gentleness to yourself. Our heart always hurts when others are being mean. Stay with these painful feelings with self-compassion until you feel them moving through you and releasing.
3. If your feelings are hurt, tune in to what you're telling yourself that may be causing you to feel unworthy, bad, wrong or unlovable.
Are you taking the other person's behavior personally? In truth, whatever you might have done that triggered their upset, you never deserve to be shamed for it. The fact that they are shaming and blaming you is their issue, so it's important to make sure you are not taking their unloving behavior personally.
4. Explore whether old feelings from being blamed and shamed in childhood are getting triggered in you.
Be very kind with these memories. The more compassionate you are toward old pain, the more the old pain releases.
5. Open to your higher self for any information about what's really going on with the other person.
It's possible that the other person is exhausted, or just having a bad day and is simply not able to bring kindness and compassion to any conversation right now. Finding empathy for the other person will help you feel better and take things less personally.
Perhaps there is a helpful message that this person is relaying in an unhelpful manner. See if there are any kernels of truth about yourself that might help you grow.
6. Take a moment to do something kind for yourself.
Do you need to call a friend, take a walk, do some journaling? What would make you feel more peaceful?
7. If at some point both of you are open, then you can learn with each other about the deeper issues.
Sometimes, once you each have separate time, the issue vanishes and there isn't even anything to talk about. Other times, there may be an issue that needs to be dealt with, and it can be addressed once you are both open.
When you take loving care of yourself, rather than try to change your partner, you will end up feeling much better, regardless of what your partner does.
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