How To Stop Blaming Yourself And Forgive Yourself

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ways to stop blaming yourself

In this article, I will discuss the causes of self-blame, teach you how to stop blaming yourself, and provide essential tips for overcoming self-blame.

Self-blame — in this context — is an instance where individuals condemn or reprimand themselves for passing through an unpleasant situation — especially when they are not at fault.

In this case, such individuals would blame themselves and take every responsibility for passing through such experience — regardless of whether others are involved or not.

If you have self-blame issues, you will most likely not know how to stop blaming yourself for every bad situation you get involved in. As a result, you may suffer severe mental and emotional problems, leading to depression and other toxic symptoms.


What Causes Self-Blame?

According to statistics, about fifty-six million individuals in the world will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at one point in their lives. In most cases, when an individual experiences a horrible situation, they often blame themselves for allowing the problem to happen.

However, most of the time, it is not even the person’s fault. Blaming yourself for something that has happened can have drastic consequences, whether it’s your fault or not.

For example, it could cause the individual to experience mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

While I will discuss a few things about self-blame during the course of this article, it is vital that I also talk about what causes self-blame.

I would like you to understand that self-blame doesn’t have negative attributes alone. There are times when it is okay to blame ourselves — although moderately. For example, when we say hurtful things to other people, we may regret our actions later.

This regret stems from the fact that we blame ourselves for hurting others with words. Eventually, we may decide to apologize for our actions and find peace with the person and with ourselves.

However, self-blame becomes a problem when individuals who have had traumatic experiences such as child abuse, rape, heartbreak, betrayal, a terrible accident, molestation, etc, begin to blame themselves for what had happened.

They believe everything that happened was entirely their fault, even though they were the real victims. Some traumatized individuals often experience self-blame because they were victimized or rejected by a partner, close friend, family member, etc.

This is because, in the person’s eyes, these so-called “loved ones” should have made them feel better rather than dejected. So, when they experience trauma from such a situation, they tend to blame themselves for the unpleasant experience.

Another reason why some people blame themselves wrongly is because of societal projections. Society sometimes subtly blames the victim by offering reasons why the experience could have been avoided.

When an individual who was victimized gets such information, they may likely start blaming themselves for not averting the situation. To understand how to stop blaming yourself the causes must be highlighted. Here are some factors that cause self-blame:


1.  Manipulative Behaviors Of Other People

ways to stop blaming yourself

Some people are highly manipulative and deceptive. They can make you feel you are responsible for the unpleasant situations you have experienced. They know it’s not your fault that you have such experience but will make you believe otherwise.

These people are very good at shifting blames to others. They may be chronic abusers but may appear as saints in public, making you feel more miserable about yourself.

When you get victimized by such people, there’s a higher chance that you will blame yourself for whatever experience they make you pass through.

2.  Victim Blaming

ways to stop blaming yourself

People sometimes blame themselves for going through a nasty situation because everyone else believes it was their fault. In such cases, the abuser does not receive any backlash for their actions, but instead, the victim gets prosecuted.

Victim blaming occurs in almost every aspect of life — on social media, in real life, at the office, etc. For example, a lady gets raped and decides to report the case so that her abuser gets prosecuted. However, she receives backlash as the people around her blame her for letting it happen to her.

She may get discouraged from reporting her abuser and may even think her accusers are right. As a result, the rape experience could lead her into severe depression.

3.  Unhealthy Self-Criticism

When you feel you have done something terrible, there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a good dose of criticism. By criticizing yourself fairly, you are more likely to become a better individual.

Self-blame could also show up in the form of blaming yourself for your mistakes. Of course, we can make mistakes and criticize ourselves, but we shouldn’t dwell on them for too long.

Constantly doing this can limit us, bring about depression, low self-esteem, fear, and many other negatives. Other notable factors that cause self-blame are the inability to take care of yourself properly and the bloated feeling of guilt, fear, or anxiety.


Why Do I Blame Myself For Things That Are Not My Fault?

There may not be an exact answer to why people blame themselves even when they are not wrong. Nevertheless, many individuals who have a habit of blaming themselves do so because they feel they have to be responsible for whatever situation they face.

People may blame themselves because while growing up as kids, they were taught to be responsible for things that didn’t even concern them. Therefore, they grow up with a “savior” mentality, and when things go wrong, they feel they are to blame.

Additionally, people who have passed through trauma may blame themselves because those responsible for their experience played the victim card. So, when they realize they don’t get enough support from others, they start to feel it was probably their fault.

Since self-blame can result from many reasons, it is crucial to learn how to stop blaming yourself — especially for the things you didn’t do. If you keep blaming yourself for things that are not your fault, you may eventually fall into a depression that could mess up your mental health.


Why Do I Keep Thinking That Everything Is My Fault?

ways to stop blaming yourself

The answer to this question can be rooted in different factors. There may be many reasons why you keep thinking everything is your fault.

Maybe you grew up in an environment where people close to you — such as your parents and loved ones — took the blame for everything. Somehow, you subconsciously become like them.

Learning how to stop blaming yourself for things that are not your fault is an important attribute you need to have. Sometimes you may not be able to explain why you are blaming yourself for something that has happened.

Unfortunately, it happens to many people who have self-blame issues, not just you.

There are, however, a few solutions to this problem. Firstly, you must realize that in whatever situation you find yourself in, the people who are also involved have a share of responsibility. It’s not just you.

Therefore, it’s essential to stop blaming yourself by evaluating everyone else’s contribution to such a situation. When you do so, you will most likely develop an urge to fight your self-blaming habits.

When you keep thinking everything is your fault, there are several possible reasons why you feel that way. These include:

  •  Anxiety
  •  Fear of going against the norms
  •  Traumatic experiences during childhood
  •  Uncertainty and low self-esteem


Why Is Self-Blame Bad?

Earlier, I have mentioned that self-blame is not entirely a bad thing. There can be times when you blame or criticize yourself so you can become a better individual. However, when self-blame becomes toxic, it can be considered a bad thing.

Toxic self-blame is terrible because it may have a heavy psychological impact on an individual.

Such individuals may become depressed, suffer a mental disorder, or even develop suicidal tendencies because they condemn themselves for being victims of an unpleasant experience.


Is It Possible To Get Rid Of Blame?

steps to stop blaming yourself

It may not be so easy to get rid of self-blame. However, you can eventually learn how to stop blaming yourself for things that are not your fault.

All you need is to be patient and make the right choices. You also have to become more assertive and expressive.

When you sense oppression in any form, you must stand up and fight against it — even when everyone is against you.

If you are honest and truthful, people will eventually take sides with you. It’s just a matter of time. Here are some ways to get rid of self-blame:

  • Be honest and authentic to yourself.
  • Never seek unnecessary validations from others.
  • When you have been victimized, don’t be afraid to speak up.
  • Be bold and confident.
  • Realize that you cannot always blame yourself for everything that happens.
  • Always stand up against social bullies.
  • Learn how to let things go.

Instead of blaming yourself for things that are not your fault, you can:

  • Develop a habit of saying positive things to yourself.
  • Report to the appropriate authorities when you or someone else has been abused.
  • Understand that we will all pass through unpleasant experiences at a point in our lives.
  • Learn how to love yourself enough.
  • Be strong and self-supportive.
  • Focus on protecting your mental health at all costs.
  • Engage in other activities that would make you think less.


How Can I Remove Blame From My Mind?

how to stop blaming yourself

Sometimes, we blame ourselves for things that happen to us or other people. We feel like we could have done something different to change a particular situation. Then, when we are unsuccessful in changing such situations, we blame ourselves.

Most of the blame you put on yourself is often unjustifiable. For example, something terrible might happen to you and someone close to you, and rather than seeking solutions to alleviate the situation, you start to blame yourself. As a result, it is crucial to know how to stop blaming yourself.

I’ve met people in different societies who are filled with guilt and self-blame simply because they feel they could have done enough to save a nasty situation from happening.

But, unfortunately, they rarely recover from the unnecessary guilt they place on themselves, making them less interested in life.

There are many people like that man who blame themselves for things they did not cause. Some are now struggling to find ways to stop blaming themselves.

Learning how to stop blaming yourself is a fantastic way to bounce back and erase negative memories from your life. That said, I have written ten tips on how to stop blaming yourself:

1.  Set Aside Time For Self-Reflection

ways to stop blaming yourself

It’s okay to reflect on the events that have happened, especially those you keep blaming yourself for. However, when you reflect, reanalyze, and reevaluate those events, you may find out whatever happened wasn’t your fault.

If you are interested in learning how to stop blaming yourself, you should try out this method. Although some of the experiences may be too horrible to remember, they will benefit you in the long run when you remember and reflect on them.

You can also ask yourself why; there’s a reason for everything that happens, even if it’s not clear immediately.
You should be optimistic and open-minded that the reason for the turbulent or unhappy phase would unveil. Sometimes when we openly and intelligently reflect or analyze, the cause may become so clear.


2.  Know Why You Are Blaming Yourself

You should have specific reasons why you feel whatever happened is your fault. When you have reasons vague and unclear for blaming yourself, you have to stop the self-blame. Unfortunately, some people become overly emotional and start blaming themselves for things that are not their fault.

They often do this because they fail to understand that there is no exact reason to blame themselves. Therefore, you must know Why you are blaming yourself and whether it is justifiable to do so.


3.  Allow Yourself Get A Healthy Dose Of Guilt

When you feel you have done something terrible, it is not wrong to feel guilty about it. Feeling guilty will make you regret your actions and promise you won’t repeat the same mistake.

Hence allowing yourself to get a healthy dose of guilt isn’t a bad idea. However, it becomes a problem when you are excessively emotional and resentful because it could affect you negatively.

I remember falling out with a colleague at the office once. We disagreed on something about office work that led to a heated argument.

We said unkind things to each other before our boss finally intervened. I was so angry that I swore never to talk to him again. I think he felt the same way.

When I got home and started replaying the events that led to our disagreement, I discovered we had greatly misunderstood each other. I began to feel wrong about the things I had said to him. I thought he didn’t deserve to hear those harsh words.

Although I wasn’t entirely at fault, I felt guilty for not resolving the issue amicably. Even when I told myself to forget about the situation and focus on the future, I just couldn’t. The feeling of guilt was all over.

The following day, I decided to apologize to him, and when I saw him, I did. He apologized too and also said he felt a little bit of guilt after he got home. Then, we promised not to say hurtful things to each other anymore.

Even though I tried to forget about the situation, I couldn’t. This was because I allowed myself to experience a healthy dose of guilt, which helped me resolve the issue I had with my colleague.


4.  Don’t Judge Yourself

ways to stop blaming yourself

In learning how to stop blaming yourself, you must know that it is unhealthy to judge yourself. Saying negative things about yourself or harshly blaming yourself for things that have happened won’t provide solutions. Instead, they may cause harm to your mental well-being.

Always resist the urge to judge yourself when things go wrong — even though you feel guilty. Instead, create room for self-evaluation and look for long-lasting solutions to the problem.


5.  Apologize To Everyone Involved

stop blaming yourself

You relieve yourself from a heavy burden when you apologize to people. A simple apology can stop self-blame and make you feel less guilty about what has happened. So, always sincerely apologize to the people you have been in a disagreement with when the occasion arises.

Two years ago, I was part of a community development group that volunteered to help special-needs children across different communities.

During one of our weekly meetings, we were told that we’d be traveling to the neighboring city to meet with parents who had kids with special needs.

In such meetings, we would enlighten the parents on how to support their kids and encourage them not to give up on those special kids. At the end of each meeting, we would give financial support to any parent who needed it.

The day before the journey, the group’s founder canceled our trip. We bothered to know why and he said it was because he had other engagements, and since he cannot travel with us, we must all stay back.

The thing was, we could have traveled without him, and the program would still be successful — since we had all the necessary protocols in place. Almost everyone involved became livid, and some threatened to quit; after all, it was a voluntary decision.

When the founder heard that the cancellation hadn’t gone so well with us, he immediately realized his mistake. The next day, he called for a meeting and sincerely apologized to everyone.

He promised to recall the trip, and he did. Within five days, we had gone to the community and returned. He didn’t travel with us, and the event was a huge success.


6.  Be Positive That Things Will Get Better

One of the ways to escape blaming yourself is to be optimistic about the situation of things. Always remember that things won’t remain that way, and it’s only a matter of time before you stop blaming yourself.

The more positive you become, the more you are willing to let go of whatever guilt-inducing event that happened in the past. See being optimistic about the future as to how to stop blaming yourself. That way, you will learn how to find happiness in every situation.


7.  Learn From People’s Experiences

stop blaming yourself

The truth is that there is nothing new under the sun. Every experience we go through has been undergone by someone else and self blame is not an exception.

There are tons of people that kept on blaming themselves for things that happened in their life. They could never forgive themselves or get over what happened. It had negative consequences in their life.

Some looked for comfort or coping mechanisms and used addictions to harmful substances to cope. Some people could not love themselves anymore because of the blame game. It prevented them from moving forward and letting go of the past.

So try to remember the harmful effect self blame caused to others whenever you start blaming yourself.


8.  Be Rational In Your Thoughts

Before you blame yourself for doing something you thought was wrong, try to take time out and evaluate the situation. Be rational about things. Ask yourself specific questions like:

  • Should I get the blame for what has happened?
  • Do I need to feel guilty about this?
  • Why am I feeling this way?
  • Who should I talk to about my situation?
  • Am I being overly emotional about this?

When you ask yourself these relevant questions, you will slowly learn how to stop blaming yourself. Instead, be very open-minded and analytical. Don’t take things the way they are simply because you are feeling guilty. You owe yourself a lot by applying wisdom in whatever you do.


9.  Promise Yourself To Make Amends

Someday, somehow, somewhere, everyone will make mistakes. It’s inevitable. As human beings, we are structured to only strive for perfection, which we may never attain.

So, when you make mistakes, rather than blaming yourself for them, promise to make amends. This is one of the steps of how to stop blaming yourself.


10.  Forgive Yourself

More often than not, when we feel guilty, it’s a sign that we have done something wrong to ourselves or other people. So, apart from apologizing for your wrong deeds, you must also forgive yourself. This way, you will feel completely free from guilt and forget your past mistakes.

It is essential to learn how to stop blaming yourself. You can do this by putting your past behind you and looking towards the future.

There are lots of exciting things the future has to offer. So, rather than blaming yourself for your past mistakes, think about the beautiful experiences you are about to have!


Self-blame, in its toxic form, is a massive problem for many people. Some people do not even know that they blame themselves too often. It can cause a lot of physical and emotional damage when not properly checked.

Therefore, it is pertinent for people to stop blaming themselves and live happier lives.

If you have found this article interesting, I encourage you to join our community — Little Step, Big Miles — on Facebook and Instagram. There, you will meet a community of lovely and caring people who are constantly overcoming the challenges of life like you. I hope you join us soon!


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Author: Afam Uche

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