• Carolyn

Blame and Mental Illness

When it comes to mental illness there is a lot of blame put towards both those who suffer and those who care for the suffering. It is important for all parties involved that blame not be a go to response for either side. Blame does not improve or enhance the situation, it only makes matters worse. Blame assigns fault where fault has no business being placed.

For one who suffers from mental illness, they may blame their loved ones (parents, children, spouse, etc.) for making their situation worse, not understanding them, not being compassionate enough, not helping them, adding additional stress, etc. Sufferers may also blame themselves thinking there is something wrong with them, that they are broken, or they have some how caused their illness to happen.

For those who care for those who suffer from mental illness may blame the sufferer for their current situation, believing they are putting themselves in this mental state and therefore can get themselves out of it. Caregivers may also blame themselves, thinking they are responsible for their loved ones suffering.

When it comes to mental illness, blame is a toxin not a remedy. Blame makes matters worse and pulls attention away from the what really matters, which is treatment. Blame focuses on the individual and not the disease. When it comes to mental illness treatment, there needs to be a partnership between the sufferer and the caregiver. Blame acts as a barrier between that partnership. With blame as part of the conversation, progress will not be made.

In order for a caregiver to provide the best support for their loved one and the sufferer to receive the help and support they need to get better, blame has to be removed from the equation. Both parties have to meet each other on level ground. Both have to come to one another from a place of empathy and lack of judgment. Both have to be willing to not only hear but really listen to the other person. Each person, both the caregiver and the sufferer, want the same thing, for the sufferer to get better. When both sides can see this, feel this, and truly believe it, then progress can be made towards care and treatment.

If you catch yourself participating in the blame game, recognize it for what it is, think about your intention on placing blame and address that intention. If the intention of the blame is hurt, then you are not doing what is best for you or your loved one. Think about your true intentions and ensure your actions and words support those intentions. To provide the best care for yourself and your loved ones, you intentions and actions have to align and they need to be clear. Your loved one has to know you support them, love them, and care for them in your thoughts, your intentions, and your actions.

It isn't easy changing behaviors but with small steps everyday, big changes can be made.

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