Uncategorized — 11 January 2016
Why do we blame others  and ourselves

Most people proclaim to know themselves quite well and to understand their needs, emotions, behaviors and motivations. Yet, at times they say, “I don’t know what I was thinking, what my motivation was or what possessed me to say or do what I did.” Most of us offer plausible explanations or excuses when challenged by others to clarify our motives and conduct. Would it be helpful to have a reference that explains our personality, preferences and actions?

Criticism is a common initial reaction to bewilderment, fear, shame or surprise. We tend to accuse, find fault, belittle or denigrate those who do not live up to our anticipated behavioral standards. We may say; “What is wrong with him/her? This behavior is irrational, inappropriate, wrong or crazy and does not make any sense.” These and other critical statements that berate another person serve to reduce our anxiety about our reactions to unexpected actions by others and help us delude ourselves that we are sane, law abiding, good and healthy.

In extreme life-threatening or immoral conduct by others, it is understandable that our critical reactions may be instrumental to our self- preservation and wellbeing. However, in ordinary life, being judgmental, belittling, name-calling and being contemptuous of others distances us from them and hinders our capacity for compassion and helpfulness.

In ordinary life, we may occasionally find ourselves bewildered by others’ behaviors that may seem odd to us. To help us understand ourselves, our mates and others we are wise to learn about the Enneagram, a model of human typology dating to the Fifth Century originated by the Sufi tribesman in the Middle East that identified nine types of personality styles in humans. Each personality type’s unique characteristic behaviors, attitudes and preferences are listed as well as their manifestations throughout life. Understanding your and your mate’s innate personality style creates mutual acceptance for each other’s essence, needs and pleasures, reduces criticism, builds mutual respect and enhances your couple’s connection and love.

I recommend reading the excellent and concise book, “The Enneagram Made Easy” by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele. It provides a list of descriptive behavioral preferences for each personality that enables you to identify your own type. Realizing that our innate programming affects our unique emotional, developmental and behavioral makeup is reassuring and enables us to understand and modify our conduct as we see fit.

Understanding your partner’s given nature, inclinations and preferences can offer you a new awareness of how to become a more appreciative, caring and compassionate mate. As a couple, you can learn how to more easily please each other, earn respect and maximize your love connection.

Become a better mate:

  • Read the above easy to follow book to become enlightened about your and your mate’s innate nature, preferences, likes and dislikes.
  • Use this information to relish your partner’s unique nature and essence.
  • The “Enneagram of Parenting” by the same authors, Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele will also help you become better parents.

 

 

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life.

Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions.

Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column “Relationship Matters” for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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