Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Injury, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Blame as an Obstacle

A significant obstacle to much of human interaction is the concept of blame. Whenever anything unwanted occurs, the human organism looks for someone whom they can blame. It ranges from as simple as kicking a chair because you ran into it to blaming a coworker or supervisor for your injury.

It is a “normal” behavior and one used by injured workers to avoid self-blame for something that may have permanently changed their lives. However, quite often, the blamefulness is accurate; someone else truly is responsible for what occurred. The greatest frustration is that whoever was responsible may not have any lasting accountability.

This can be combined with beliefs that the job itself was dangerous, equipment in ill-repair and not a job to be handled without more assistance.

It can be critically important to ask the injured worker if he/she felt not only that the injury was preventable but whether there is someone whom they feel was responsible. Some of the most common beliefs held by injured workers today is that their coworker was new to the job, untrained, unmotivated and/or not English speaking. The co-workers’ negligence is seen as a key factor in the occurrence of the injury.

Finding someone to blame, whether it be one’s self or another individual, is part of the human condition. Even if the blame is misplaced, it is healthy to ventilate, and can be a crucial step on the road to recovery.

While blaming others is meant to rid oneself of the agony of what otherwise would be self-blame, it is not effective. When a patient becomes entrenched in blaming someone else, the frustration over the lack of ability to retaliate, to share the agony or to un-do what occurred actually leads to greater frustration.

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