Moms: Beware the Dangers of Self-Blame

Moms are inherently selfless women. Heck, they pretty much have to be. From the moment your child is born your brain is rewired to put the needs of this tiny, precious life in your hands front and center. The things that used to stress you out or annoy you suddenly seem laughably trivial. The things that you used to fervently want or need suddenly seem inconsequential. But while this is both natural and inevitable, Moms should be wary of neglecting themselves and their own wellbeing. In taking their responsibilities as parents and as human beings seriously, they can end up holding themselves to an impossibly high standard. While motherhood can often bring out the best in a woman, it can also lead her to potentially damaging thought processes including self-blame.

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Every time your child misbehaves, or simply when something goes wrong around them, mothers can fall into paroxysms of self blame.

It can prevent you from properly disciplining your child

If your little one gets into trouble, it’s all too tempting to blame yourself. Especially when we live in a society that’s all-too quick to “blame the Mom”. You may think that you’ve let not just the people whose child you have wronged down, but the child themselves. However, you do your child more of a disservice in the long term when you blame yourself for their actions. You can over-internalize your disappointment and frustration and lead them to believe that their actions do not have consequences.

When your child does something wrong, by all means use it as an opportunity for introspection but don’t let that stop you from disciplining them appropriately and fairly.

It can prevent you from collecting what you’re due

The trouble with self-blame is that it can leach into all aspects of your life in the professional and personal world outside of parenting. It lead you to defer credit for something exceptional that you do at work to someone less deserving. If you’re involved in an accident that’s not your fault, it can prevent you from contacting a personal injury lawyer and pursuing justice. It can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy in which you’re always cast in the role of the victim. This is a recipe for resentment, bitterness and self-loathing and can turn you into someone you’d really rather not be.

It can prevent you from grieving properly when you lose a loved one

When we lose someone close to us, even if we had no involvement in their loss whatsoever, we can ask ourselves what we could have done to prevent it.  We can berate ourselves for not having kept in touch as well as we could have or for not being a better friend, daughter, sister or partner. Nonetheless, if we over-indulge our anger at ourselves we can never move on to a state of acceptance.

It can keep you from living your best life

Ultimately, when we fall into the habit of blaming ourselves, it inevitably leads to a loss of self-confidence and (crucially) self-love. Though we may all make mistakes as parents, as employees, as bosses and as people, we all deserve to live our best lives!

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