The Blame Game: It’s your fault! No, it’s your fault!

February 9, 2012

Streeter Seidell, Comedian

I am frustrated!

I have just been through the twilight zone and emerged confused and perplexed; confused as to why someone else’s failure to provide necessary information, in this case payment for service is somehow my fault, and perplexed as to why an individual would even go through the effort of blaming someone else for their own error or oversight. Before any of you jump to the defense of the individual in question who has rattled my nerves, let me assure you that this person hails from an English-speaking nation, so language is not the barrier between us. A series of email communiques is proof!

Allow me to pose a hypothetical scenario for you to help explain the cause for my frustration.

Let’s say you’re in a store and want to pay for a sweater you’ve picked out. It’s winter. It’s cold outside, and the sweater is just the perfect item of clothing you’ve been looking for to keep you warm and cozy. You’re at the counter with the sweater. You want to pay with your credit card and hand it to the cashier. The cashier runs your card but the transaction is declined because of insufficient funds. The cashier politely suggests other forms of payment. You ignore her and leave the store and the sweater only to return a month later and demand to have the sweater. Cashier is ready to comply and quotes you the price for the sweater. But you refuse to pay. You claim that you had the matter cleared with your bank and that the cashier should have ran your credit card when she had it that day you had visited the store. Cashier reminds you that your credit card had been declined that day, but you don’t acknowledge it and demand to have the sweater, for free. You hold the cashier and the store negligent. You blame the store for having deprived you of enjoying the warm and cozy sweater. Oh, and by the way, if you don’t get the sweater for free, you’re going to call your lawyer!

Now do you see why I’m so frustrated? How does one make sense of the nonsensical?

Lots of people play the blame game when it comes to money. In her 1/24/12 article “Money and the Blame Game” Mindy Crary (MBA, CFP® practitioner and financial coach at Creative Money) in Forbes, she writes “blaming someone else or yourself about any frustrations over money has to do with the basic thought that your survival is being compromised. The perception is that this other person has the power to make or break your financial life, depending on what they do. It’s very difficult to like, much less love, someone on whom you believe that your survival depends. So when you are engaged in the blame game, you may forget that you are every bit as responsible for the relationship dynamic as the other person.” Shifting out of a victim mentality, according to Ms. Crary, first starts with “owning your role and acknowledging how you have been an equal partner in creating the situation, with the power to affect alternate outcomes.”

In my situation, we’ve reached an impasse with our prospective applicant who’s refusing to pay for services. Same could be said about the store and the sweater scenario above. We cannot proceed with the evaluation and have directed the individual to seek the assistance of another company. There are times that no matter how hard each side tries to argue his/her point, words just collide, bounce away, and tumble to the floor into a jumbled heap. Sometimes, it’s just not worth the time and energy to play the blame game; we end up missing control of own sense of self and most importantly: peace of mind.

The Frustrated Evaluator
www.acei1.com

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