Beyond Blame: Freeing Yourself from the Most Toxic Form of Emotional Bullsh*t

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Penguin, Aug 18, 2011 - Psychology - 336 pages
2 Reviews
The inspiring new book from the author of Emotional Bullshit reveals why no one is to blame-but everyone's accountable.

For many, a rare day goes by in which the need to blame does not arise-be it to cover one's own errors or just to assign an unfortunate event some kind of name (i.e., "If only X hadn't said X, we wouldn't be in this mess.") And even for those who are somewhat better at keeping the impulse in check-it is still there. According to psychologist Carl Alasko, blame is such an intrinsic part of how we humans communicate that we rarely take a look at what we're actually doing-and how it can affect our relationships.

In this book, Alasko reveals that the need to assign blame when something bad happens stems from a very deep desire we all share to "see justice done". Understandable when a grave crime has been committed, but it can become a dangerous habit if we begin to operate as though placing blame were somehow necessary if we want to change something or someone in our world. Yet this feeling that "someone has to pay" is seldom productive in initiating positive change. In Beyond Blame, Alasko teaches readers to recognize destruction that blame causes in their lives-oftentimes without their even being aware-and to put an end to it once and for all.

The path to eliminating blame is not a quick or easy one but, as Carl Alasko demonstrates, it is a road that must be traveled if we hope to achieve true peace in our lives.
 

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What a fantastic book...Most helpful for my whole family . Eager for my husband to use some of it at his work too with all the drama there. Written so easy to read...it is explained most matter of fact and easily instigated into your life. Thanks Carl for saving my marriage with this book.

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Who has not felt, at one time or another, that they have been blamed unfairly? I doubt if anyone can say that they have never experienced the frustration of trying to explain to someone that it wasn’t you, that you didn’t do anything. Most of us have also blamed someone else, at times, when we think or know we are innocent, so therefore, they must be guilty.
This book attempts to provide you with the tools to overcome the cycle of blame which destroys relationships. It teaches you how to express yourself in a non-confrontational way so your conversation doesn’t escalate into a “he said, she said”, kind of discussions.
Why do we feel so afraid of being blamed? Why are we so often burdened with guilt even when we don’t deserve it? Why do we operate by accusing each other of something in order to make us feel better or more powerful? The author attempts to answer these questions and provide a resource to be use when faced with a situation that deteriorates into “the blame game”. The book is divided into subjects like marriage, workplace, parenting, dating, etc., so you can turn to the pages you need when necessary.
Dr. Alasko hopes to teach the reader to aim for resolution and not retribution because blame shifts the focus from solving the problem into escalating it. If the reader can learn to express feelings of frustration in a positive way, without arousing anger, a respectful discussion will follow. It is the attempt to shift responsibility for something on to someone else that causes the problems in relationships.
He instructs the reader in the use of Positive Accountability, which means acknowledging a mistake without having as a goal, to humiliate or punish someone else for it. If the discussion gets out of hand, leave the room and stay calm so the problem doesn’t grow worse. He hopes the reader will come to terms with their Personal Limitations by recognizing what they are and dealing with them effectively so they don’t control one’s life.
In short, the book is really about common sense. Think about the problem at hand before you react; think about what end result you want from your behavior, then act on it, without confrontation, always being aware of what you are capable of doing so that your expectations are realistic and positive. Let your mind, not your emotions, rule the day.
 

Contents

LIVING BEYOND BLAME IS BOTH REALISTIC AND WORKABLE
WHAT DO THESE STORIES HAVE IN COMMON?
A DESCRIPTION OF BLAMES TWO PRIMARY FUNCTIONS
BLAME IS DESTRUCTIVE BECAUSE IT CREATES MULTIPLE REACTIONSALL NEGATIVE
WE DONT SEE BLAME AS INHERENTLY NEGATIVE
WE BELIEVE BLAME IS NECESSARY TO CHANGE SOMEONES BEHAVIOR
WE USE BLAME BECAUSE WE DONT KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO
HOW BLAME DESTROYS OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OURSELVES
BEGINNING THE RELATIONSHIP WITH SHARED CORE VALUES
HOW FEAR AND ANXIETY PUSH US TO USE BLAME
A POSITIVE INTENTION IS INDISPENSABLE
HOW DEANNA AND REED NEGOTIATED A VACATION WITHOUT BLAME
HOW CAN YOU HURT ME IF YOU LOVE ME?
BEWARE OF DEEPLY INGRAINED PATTERNS TAKING OVER
HOW TO AVOID THE MOST COMMON BLAME TRAPS IN MARRIAGE
USING THE 5 x 5 LISTENING EXERCISE TO DEFEAT THE BLAME SPIRAL

HOW BLAME OPENS THE DOOR TO DANGEROUS BEHAVIORS
HOW BLAME HIDES IN SARCASM AND FALSE SYMPATHY
OUR NEED TO BE RIGHT HAS ANCIENT SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS ROOTS
WE USE BLAME TO SHIFT ANXIETY ONTO SOMEONE ELSE
THE BIOLOGY OF BLAME IS LINKED TO OUR SOCIAL STRUCTURE
BLAME ALWAYS GENERATES A SERIES OF NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
ADDRESSING THE FIRST OBJECTION TO NOT USING BLAME
HOW BLAME HIDES BEHIND THE SHIELD OF GOOD INTENTIONS
BLAME DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PART OF OUR LIVES
BLAMING WITH THE FLICK OF AN EYEBROW
WHEN YOURE BLAMED FOR BEING WHO YOU ARE
SETTING UP A BLAME TRAPYOURE CAUGHT NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY
WE ALWAYS HAVE A REASON TO LAUNCH A BLAME ATTACK
THE EMOTIONAL CONSEQUENCES OF BLAME ARE ALWAYS THE SAME
REORGANIZING YOUR THINKING ABOUT EMOTIONS
THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT OF BLAME TRIGGERS DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR
ANXIETY AND FEAR PROVOKE POWERFUL IRRATIONAL RESPONSES
AN OCCASIONAL CRITICISM IS NOT THE PROBLEM
THE BLAME SPIRAL TEARS APART RELATIONSHIPS
DEFINING POSITIVE ACCOUNTABILITY
WHY POSITIVE ACCOUNTABILITY IS SO EFFECTIVE
THE RULE OF PERSONAL SABOTAGE
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION REQUIRES AN IDEAL RATIO OF FOUR PARTS THOUGHT TO ONE PART EMOTION
EXITING THE SCENE WHEN YOU ARE TOO AGITATED TO THINK
AN INTEGRAL PART OF POSITIVE ACCOUNTABILITY
POSITIVE ACCOUNTABILITY NURTURES OUR ESSENTIAL GOODWILL
USING POSITIVE ACCOUNTABILITY TO DEAL WITH SPOILED MILK
OUR HORMONES ARE IN CHARGE
THE THREE BASIC GUIDELINES FOR DATING
THE AVERAGE TIME BETWEEN THE FIRST DATE AND SEX
HOW SHELI USES BLAME TO DEAL WITH THE PAIN OF REJECTION
STAYING CONVINCED ABOUT THE TRUTH OF YOUR BELIEFS
FERNANDO USES BLAME TO DEAL WITH CINDYS DRINKING PROBLEM
HOW ANITA USES BLAME TO DEAL WITH BETRAYAL AND DECEIT
THE NEED FOR VERIFICATION WITH ONLINE RELATIONSHIPS
STRONG CORE VALUES PROVIDE A STRUCTURE FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
THE THOUGHTFUL USE OF PARENTAL POWER TO ENFORCE VALUES
HOW LEO USED BOTH DISCUSSION AND HIS PARENTAL POWER
HOW THE ABSENCE OF BLAME INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY AT WORK
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN BLAME AND POWER AT WORK
HOW THE LAW OF LESSONS LEARNED APPLIES AT WORK
USING BLAME TO DEFEND AN ENTRENCHED POSITION
USING ACCOUNTABILITY TO DEAL WITH BEING EXPLOITED BY A BOSS
SUPPOSE MY PARTNER WONT CHANGE A BEHAVIOR?
INTRODUCTION TO PART THREE
UNDERSTANDING YOUR PERSONAL LIMITATIONS CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
INTRODUCING THE LAW OF PERSONAL LIMITATIONS
EXPLAINING THE LAW OF PERSONAL LIMITATIONSONE PHRASE AT A TIME
WHAT YOU DONT KNOW CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS
THE ROLE OF EMOTIONS IN THE LAW OF PERSONAL LIMITATIONS
THE CONCLUSION OF THE LAW OF PERSONAL LIMITATIONS
OUR ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS DETERMINE OUR REACTIONS AND BEHAVIORS
HOW OUR MISTAKEN BELIEFS ABOUT PERFECTION CREATE SELFBLAME
PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE LAW OF PERSONAL LIMITATIONS
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BASIS FOR THE LAW OF PERSONAL LIMITATIONS
EXCEPTIONS TO THE LPL ARE NOT VALID
NOT KNOWING THAT YOU DONT KNOW
HOW OUR EMOTIONS BLOCK US FROM BOTH KNOWING AND ACTING
ANOSOGNOSIA AFFECTS OUR ABILITY TO KNOW OTHERS LIMITATIONS
THE PRACTICAL FOUNDATION OF THE LAW OF PERSONAL LIMITATIONS
EXPLORING THE PARADOX OF CRITICISM
IGNORING THE LAW OF PERSONAL LIMITATIONS CREATES PROBLEMS
ANSWERING THE THREE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL INTENTIONS
BRINGING TOGETHER THE LAW OF PERSONAL LIMITATIONS AND POSITIVE ACCOUNTABILITY
USING THE LPL TO EXAMINE A SERIOUS RELATIONSHIP PROBLEM
DEALING WITH YOUR LIMITATIONS THAT CAUSED THE CAR ACCIDENT
THE LPL IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR SELFINDULGENT BEHAVIOR
A STEPBYSTEP PROCESS FOR LIVING BEYOND BLAME
SIX STORIES ABOUT LIVING LIFE BEYOND BLAME
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About the author (2011)

Carl Alasko, Ph.D. has been a practicing psychotherapist specializing in couples and families for over twenty years. For the past thirteen years he has written a weekly advice column, "On Relationships", for the Monterey County Herald, which has consistently been one of the Herald's most popular columns. He has also given numerous lectures on the topic of healthy relationships and has hosted a popular advice radio show. Married and the father of four children, he lives in Monterey, California.

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