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"Others are to blame for everything": causes and solutions

September 13, 2022

How we interpret the things that others do is crucial for our personal well-being , since it largely determines the way we react and the decisions we make accordingly. That is why the human brain tends to perform tricks to make this interpretation biased and biased. Let's see some examples: imagine the following situation.

You go out to take some air to the garden, and over the fence you see the new neighbor who moved the previous week next to your house. The man seems annoyed, has a frown and can almost hear him grumbling under his breath.

A few minutes later he starts to raise his voice. In a moment, the wife approaches him to ask a question and he responds in a very bad way. Then he starts screaming at his two small children who keep running around, playing something that seems very irritating to the father.


"The others are guilty of everything!"

In circumstances like this, it is expected that his brain, neither short nor lazy, will hurry a series of speculations about what he is observing. The conclusion seems simple and irrefutable: his neighbor has a terrible character, is a grumpy and authoritarian subject who could never make friends .

A couple of days later, you are quietly having breakfast with your partner, when she says in passing: "Ah, did you see the neighbor who moved next ...? Poor man, he's desperate, I've heard that as soon as he finished paying for the new house, he was fired from work, and now he does not know how to support the family. "


Adapting to new information

Let's see ... This new additional information gives another color to the opinion that you had formed of the new neighbor, right?

The hypothetical anecdote does nothing but illustrate one of the most damaging faults of the human brain: we are well predisposed to criticize the reprehensible behavior of others, attributing it to the supposed bad character of them, or to a defect in their personality; and we lose sight of the fact that there are always external forces or influences that help shape behavior.

And what is worse, if we are the protagonists of the story and someone accuses us of having a bad temper, we justify ourselves by saying: "Well, what happens is that I am very nervous because I lost my job".

This is how it happens most of the time; This is a dynamic that underlies the dark and fallible side of our brain: others have full responsibility for their misconduct . Your unhappy or misguided decisions are the result of the person's own shortcomings.


On the contrary, when we are the offenders of good manners and healthy habits, we quickly find an explanation that is given from the outside to justify the alteration of our good temper, and thus leave our reputation and self-esteem safe. Simplifying a bit: If Fulano reacts with violence, it is because Fulano is an aggressive person. On the other hand, if I am the one who reacts violently, it is because I am tired since I could not keep an eye on the whole night.

Guilt: a matter of perspective

Everything we do, even the bad, however inappropriate, always constitutes, for our brain, the appropriate response to a given situation.

From our perspective, we can only see the angry neighbor. That is to say, all its obfuscation occupies the center of our attention. Instead, When we are the ones that are involved, we can only see our circumstances ; what happened to us in the day, whether we have been fired from work, our head hurts or our car's GPS has been stolen, seems enough reason to unload our anger on the world or others. It's as if the brain whispers in our ears: "Hey, come on ... I know you're a good person, but you live in a bad and hostile world."

It is important that the reader knows that everything they pay attention to will inevitably become part of their world, and everything that they do not pay attention to or decide to ignore, will simply cease to exist for you, will be out of their reality everyday, with everything that implies, for better or for worse.

Biases that protect us

It is crucial to understand this type of mental bias that appears when we observe our own behavior and that of others, because it can lead to exaggerated or dramatic value judgments, which as a whole can open deep fissures in society.

For example, those people who qualify the unemployed or those who receive help from the government through social plans such as "lazy", "lazy" or simply "riffraff who does not want to work", all inherent characteristics of the personality, are usually supporters of the "hard hand","zero tolerance" and economic and cultural discrimination in a broad sense.

On the contrary, people who think that there are people who have been born and raised in very unfavorable conditions, they are owners of a more humanitarian and compassionate worldview, they participate more in charitable organizations and they vote for the left political parties.

The role the need plays

It also turns out that our own needs are a parameter with which we measure all things . Of course, we do not realize it, but that's how selfish we are.

If what you need is, for example, to feel loved and respected, then probably your wife (who does not have the same need as you) before a certain disagreement can come to seem like a cold and unloving person.

Of course, if it is she who needs to feel loved and not you, then your wife will seem insecure and demanding. And as we saw before, some aspects, such as for example that she had a problematic childhood in which her parents did not give her much love, goes into the background or falls directly into oblivion.

Another possibility: if you need to do everything quickly because you have an anxious nature and are easily impatient, then the McDonald's cashier who is serving with dedication to the client who is in front of you in line, will seem a slow, inefficient, parsimonious employee, or all of the above together.

Now, if you are on vacation and you feel especially calm and relaxed, and you want to carefully choose what you are going to eat that day, the people behind you in line and rush you to place your order and run to a side, they will look like a bunch of neurotic and frantic rude people.

If you are the kind of person concerned about order, cleanliness, and perfectionism, you are interested in the details of each task you perform; It is very likely that your new partner seems an irresponsible and disorganized subject. But if it is he who has all these needs that revolve around neatness, then he will classify his partner as an unbearable obsessive maniac.

How to solve the problem?

I think the first thing we have to do is to fully understand the biased dynamics that our brain uses to evaluate the behavior of others harshly, and more benevolently our own behavior.

Perhaps a greater degree of self-awareness helps us to take responsibility for our own acts and the decisions we make, especially when faced with a problem or in times of stress.


Why People Blame Others (September 2022).


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