I’m Lauren Young. I am the oldest of four children. I am a mother. I am an ex-wife. And I am a blameaholic.
I blame everyone else when something bad happens to me. I blame others when I break a nail, lose my Metrocard or driver’s license, when I hurt my shoulder or when I find a brownie shoved into my rug after a holiday party. (All of these things happened in the past week, by the way.)
Several years ago, I got laid off from a job that I loved during a takeover – I naturally blamed the acquirer, even though some of my colleagues moved to the new company.
When my boyfriend moved in with me for the summer, I rearranged my closets so he would have more hanging space. During the closet switch, one of my favorite Kate Spade dresses was impaled by a wire hanger. I blamed him for the giant hole.
Speaking of my boyfriend, he is terrified of being blamed. It’s gotten so bad that he prefaces everything with: “Just so you know, you can’t blame me for this…”
I think the blame-shifting started in childhood, when my little sister Jamie would rifle through my stuff and take/break/lose things. Even today, when I can’t find a beloved ring or a favorite sweater, I automatically default to blaming Jamie, who, incidentally, lives 90 miles and two states away.
One of my earliest memories of the blame game: I had a beloved stuffed blue elephant named “Snoots.” He developed a hole in his snout and started leaking white beads. My mom threw him out. I am still harboring ill-will at her for that.
Even so, I’m not exactly sure why I am a serial blamer. Perhaps it was my parent’s divorce when I was just five? (It’s easy to blame bad stuff on divorce.) The good news is that most of the finger pointing I do is not overt. I simply let the blame cauldron simmer quietly in my head.
My 30-day no-blame action plan is simple. I will own up to my shortcomings, mistakes, digressions and failures – and I will say it loud and proud on social media. You can follow my progress on Twitter via @laurenyoung. (Jews do this annually on Yom Kippur, when we ask for forgiveness and clear the decks for the following year. But I don’t want to wait.)
A caveat: I’m going to be on a cruise ship in the Caribbean when this challenge starts. I’ll have 4,500 other potential candidates to blame when I don’t get the deck chair I want or a frosty pina colada with an umbrella in a timely fashion. But I also won’t be on the grid for an entire week – no phone, no internet, no Facebook, nada.
And while I’d like to blame Princess Cruises for that, in all honesty, it sounds like a lovely way to kick off 2015.
Follow along as Lauren stops blaming: @LaurenYoung.
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