Stop Blaming Others And Externalising Behaviours

Medically reviewed by: Ilbey Ucar – PhD (Psychology)
Last updated date : December 20, 2022

The urge to blaming others is a common behaviour that leads to dysfunction. One reason behind externalising behaviours is that we feel bad about something. We want to get rid of the guilt, so we project that feeling upon others.

Blaming others makes us focus on the bad of others. It takes our minds off the bad feelings within ourselves. Hence, it becomes a way of handling the world rather than a choice that we can control.

The instinct to show externalising behaviours is toxic. If you are on the receiving end of the blame, it can be mentally exhausting. It strips people of their agency. Also, it breaks down their sense of trust in others. Thus, blaming others may result in a growing sense of resentment and anger.

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Chapter 1:

What Is a Thinking Trap?

A thinking trap is an internal thought process. It convinces us of something that may not be true. These thoughts are possible outcomes of either extreme; the good or the bad. They stop us from seeing all the possible outcomes in-between. The official term for this is ‘Cognitive Distortions.’

Chapter 2:

Common Thinking Traps

Here are some common unhelpful thinking traps. Do you think you have experienced these?
Negative Filtering
You tend to focus on the negative. So, you ignore the positive aspects of any situation. Instead, you may dwell over memories that leave you anxious.

For instance, you receive some awards at an event. Despite this, you dwell on the fact that you did not receive a particular award.

The only way to get out of this is by taking into account the full picture. Thus, people should include both aspects of the situation.

All or Nothing
Another name for this is black and white thinking. It leads one to believe that there is no middle ground at all.

This thought trap will have you believe that you did not do any tasks in the entire week. So, you would think that your entire week has gone to waste.

Hence, the best way to get out of this is to recognise that All and Nothing are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Me or Them
You believe that you are the only cause of every problem. This is internalising behaviours.

You believe that everyone else is responsible for your problems. This is externalising behaviours.

Thus, liability is in all the wrong places. The negative effects of this thinking trap include suffering from guilt. Also, it may lead to anger and frustration.

People can overcome this by balancing criticism of others and themselves.

This thinking trap makes us believe that we know what the future entails. Often, we think about the illogical worst-case outcomes of a situation.

You may experience symptoms like agitation and anxiety. Hence, this blocks you from taking reasonable action.

People may be able to get out of this trap by reframing the situation altogether.

You make conclusions based on a single incident. This pattern has negative effects such as restricting one’s life.
Mind Reading
You assume you know what the other person is thinking or that the other person knows what you are thinking. This thinking trap is tricky because it blocks the connection since people assume knowledge. Furthermore, it can impact your relationship with others.

People can think of different perspectives to get out of this.

Think of a magnifying glass and you will be able to understand this thinking trap. You see negative things as worse than they are. It creates a sense of negativity.

An example of this is when small mistakes become dire failures. Another example is when minor advice seems like criticism.

Hence, individuals’ vision should expand to find a quick release from this.

Everything seems to be about you. You feel that everything others do orsay is some kind of reaction to you. Despite complex situations, you blame yourself for negative effects.

Chapter 3:

What Are Coping Statements?

Coping statements reinforce that you have ways to deal with all the problems. These statements should apply to the situation that is causing you anxiety.
Examples of coping statements include:
  • ‘I can ask for help.’
  • ‘This too will pass.’
  • ‘I can get through this.’
  • ‘Each step is up to me.’
  • ‘I deserve a break.’
  • My life is up to me.’
  • ‘I am not alone.’

Chapter 4:

So, What Are Blame and Externalising Behaviours?

The urge to blame is a human instinct. When we make mistakes, our minds resort to a clever way of avoiding pain by blaming others. Most people would avoid this pain by externalising behaviours.

Externalising behaviour refers to people projecting their discomfort onto another person. For most people, this process is so quick that they don’t even realise it’s taking place.

Thusly, externalising behaviour may be so instinctive that it becomes a habit.

Chapter 5:

What Are Internalising Behaviours?

Internalisation is when people take on burden for any pain themselves. People who self-blame may trace negative outcomes because of a shortfall in themselves. We blame our own selves for what has happened to us.

This results in thoughts like ‘it’s all my fault’ or ‘I am liable for this.’

Internalising behaviours are results of negativity that may focus on ourselves.

For example, a child who is being bullied by peers may respond by blaming themselves. Since internalising behaviours occur inside oneself, they are not visible to others.

Examples of internalised behaviours are:
  • Social withdrawal
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Not standing up for oneself
  • Feeling unloved
  • Feeling
  • Nervousness
  • Not talking to or interacting with others around

Chapter 6:

What Are Externalising Behaviours?

Externalising behaviours are behaviours that project towards the external environment. So, people with externalising behaviours direct their feelings outward.

For example, a child who is having trouble coping may bully peers who are good with homework.

Examples of externalised behaviours are:
  • Fighting
  • Stealing
  • Cursing
  • Impulsive behaviours
  • Physical aggression
  • Running away from home

Chapter 7:

What Objectives Do We Fulfil by Blaming And Externalising Behaviours?

Blaming can help us achieve a few objectives such as:
  • Show ourselves as ‘right’ by making other people ‘wrong.’
  • Indulge our emotional satisfaction.
  • To be able to release our feelings of anger and helplessness.

Chapter 8:

Where Are You On the Accountability Spectrum?

Internalisation and Externalisation are two opposite ends of a spectrum.

On one end of the spectrum is internalisation. It indicates those who take on too much burden for their experiences.

On the other end of the spectrum, we project our negative experiences on others.

Thus, the middle of the spectrum refers to true liability. This would be the ideal place to be on the spectrum. It includes an appropriate recognition of the duty of yourself and others. This means not taking any more blame than we should.

True liability requires honesty and self-awareness. Thus, we must recognise how much we are responsible for and how much of it another person handles.

Chapter 9:

How Can You Stop Blaming Others And Externalizing Behaviors?

Playing the blame game never works. So, people who display externalising behaviours do not perform as well as those who do not.
By grasping the reasons behind blaming others, you will give yourself two advantages:
  • You will find it more difficult to justify your blaming.
  • You will gain critical insight into your mind.

Chapter 10:

How To Prevent Blaming Others And The Spread Of Externalising Behaviours

An important factor to stop externalising behaviours is self-awareness
This means bringing more attention to your thoughts. Self-awareness includes identifying your externalising behaviours and parsing them for their intentions.
Replace blaming and externalising behaviours with understanding
Externalising behaviours is dependent on an understanding of your duty. What this means is that we should replace the impulse to blame with the commitment to understand. By doing so, we can get an accurate view of all the factors that play a part in a negative situation.

Thus, if we understood the situation, it would be much harder for us to blame others. We would be able to acknowledge how many variables played a part in creating the negative situation. The blame language can be translated into a more conscious language of understanding. This shift from the blame language to the understanding language leads to accountability.

Empathy is the best remedy to externalising behaviours
Empathy is the ability to grasp the feelings of others. This means the willingness to step outside and appreciate situations from different perspectives. By doing so, you look at the situation from your own perspective and the world’s perspective.

Thus, empathy enables us to navigate conflicts and gives us access to vital data. This is why empathy is such a superpower.

Take appropriate ownership
The next step is to recognise your own piece of duty in it. This means identifying aspects that you can control so that you improve the situation.
Make accountability a habit
The accountability process is a true superpower. Whenever you catch yourself mid-blame, you can use this framework. Thus, you can use it until the instinct to take ownership becomes stronger than that to blame.

The basis to blame others is that we want to avoid the discomfort linked to liability. To overcome this, we need to endure the discomfort, while knowing that our ability to bear it is the ‘price’ that we pay for healthy liability.

Chapter 11:


By externalising behaviours, we make it easier for others to point fingers towards us. When we internalise behaviours, we signal that others should also internalise behaviours. Thus, when we stop blaming others, we establish a tone and a standard for navigating situations. Hence, we signal that we won’t deal with avoidable externalisation and toxic internalisation. We exhibit that we are willing to embrace the discomfort and take the burden. This helps us step into a more honest relationship with ourselves. As a result, we give ourselves healthier, connected, and more productive ties.

"Quizzes and recommendations were very uselful" Donna

87 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount