Self-Blame

It was not your fault

Shirley J. Davis

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), 1 in 4 children living in the United States experience some type of maltreatment. Without a supportive adult to talk to, these children are doomed to grow into adults who blame themselves for what happened to them.

This article will focus on blame, what it is, who feels it, and ways to help you mitigate its effects.

What is Self-Blame, and How Does It Form?

Blame involves negative judgment where a fault or wrong is assigned to someone else or yourself. Blame includes making negative statements holding someone or yourself responsible for action or inaction.

When a child is mistreated, especially by their primary caregivers, they are unable to defend themselves. Still, they also cannot admit to themselves that those who are supposed to care for them are hurting them.

The result of this cognitive dissonance is that children are left blaming themselves for what happens to them, telling themselves they must have deserved the abuse. Self-blame is often associated with anger, but children in abusive circumstances cannot escape, so the resentment, anger, and indignation turn inward.

What Affects Does Self-Blame Cause?

Self-blame for childhood abuse causes low self-esteem and sometimes self-hate in its victims. Self-blame causes negative, self-sabotaging actions, making the children, now adults, live unfulfilled lives and sometimes hurting others.

Other effects of blame on survivors are as follows:

Toxic self-criticism. Self-blame leads to toxic self-criticism that appears to the survivor as a negative voice, always passing negative judgment.

General anxiety. Mental health conditions form as a result of self-blame, such as depression and generalized anxiety.

Painful emotions. People who have survived an abusive childhood often struggle with painful and intrusive emotions that include shame, guilt, confusion, lack of motivation, and constant alertness.

Unable to function socially. People who blame themselves for their maltreatment when they were children often make biased self-appraisals and are crippled with shame…

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Shirley J. Davis

I am an author/speaker/grant writer in the U.S. My passion is authoring information about mental health disorders, especially dissociative identity disorder..