Brené Brown on Blame
100 Comments


(GASPS) How many of you are blamers? How many of you,
when something goes wrong, the first thing you want to know
is whose fault it is? Hi. My name is Brené. I’m a blamer.
(LAUGHTER) I need to tell you this quick story
from a couple of years ago when I realised the magnitude
to which I blame. I’m in my house. I have on white slacks
and a pink sweater. I’m drinking a cup of coffee
in my kitchen – a full cup of coffee. I drop it on the tiled floor. It goes into a million pieces,
splashes up all over me. And the first… I mean a millisecond
after it hit the floor, right out of my mouth is this: (LAUGHTER) He is my husband. Let me tell you
how fast this works for me. Steve plays water polo with friends. The night before,
he went to play water polo. I said, “Make sure you come back at ten.
I can’t fall asleep until you’re home.” He got back at 10.30, so I went to bed
a little bit later than I thought. Ergo, my second cup of coffee, that I probably would not be having
had he come home when we discussed. Therefore…
(LAUGHTER) So, the rest of the story is,
I’m cleaning up the kitchen. (PHONE RINGS)
Steve calls. Caller ID. I’m, like, “Hey.” He’s like, “Hey. What’s going on, babe?”
“Huh. What’s going on?” Um…
(LAUGHTER) “I’ll tell you exactly what’s going on. “I’m cleaning up the coffee
that spilled all…” Dial tone! (LAUGHTER)
Cos he knows. How many of you go to that place,
when something bad happens, the first thing you want to know
is whose fault is it? I’d rather it be MY fault
than no one’s fault. Because why? It gives us some semblance of control. If you enjoy blaming, this is where you
should stick your fingers in your ear and do the “nanana” thing,
cos I’m getting ready to ruin it. Here’s what we know from the research. Blame is simply the discharging
of discomfort and pain. It has an inverse relationship
with accountability. Accountability, by definition,
is a vulnerable process. It means me calling you and saying, “My feelings were really hurt
about this.” And talking, not blaming. Blaming is simply a way that
we discharge anger. People who blame a lot seldom have the tenacity and grit
to actually hold people accountable, because we spend all of our energy
raging for 15 seconds and figuring out whose fault
something is. Blaming’s very corrosive
in relationships. It’s one of the reasons
we miss our opportunities for empathy. Because when something happens
and we’re hearing a story, we’re not really listening. We’re in the place where I was – making the connections as quickly as
we can about whose fault something was. Closed captions by Access Subtitling

100 thoughts on “Brené Brown on Blame

  1. As usual, right on description of the dynamics of blame. What is missing here is a more in depth treatment of how to stop ourselves, breathe and feel down into the underlying feeling, which is ultimately not anger but the deep hurt of helplessness whose origins reside in the childhood experience. Until we learn how to stop and grieve, deeply, we can think and talk about blame brilliantly but such a cognitive approach will have limited value. We can't really think our way out of what we were wounded into. We have to feel our way down, through and finally up out of the original pain in its original context. Bob Kamm

  2. Fantastic! I remember wen I told someone, "No being responsible is not enough, you must be accountable." That person stopped short and went pale and never did that thing again. However, he did not change enough. Maturity eludes some people all their lives.

  3. This video is spot on. It took me a while to learn but, I know blaming and worry are really defective thinking habits. I was raised by a worrier, blamer, guilter It took time and effort, but I learned to pay attention to my thoughts and feel my emotions. I say "I'm feeling…", even if it requires that I take 10 deep breathes before I speak. I learned worrying is using mental gymnastics to exhaust to exhaust myself. If I can change a situation I do. if i can't, I accept it and engage or accept it and disengage. I hold people (including myself) responsible for behavior. By that I mean I approach upsets, conflicts and discomforts without the attack that blaming implies. I had an excellent teacher, before retiring, my career involved direct patient and customer contact. I learned it so much easier to be respectful, clear and compassionate in communicating and problem solving.

  4. what the point of this video, are you saying people shouldn't blame other for bad shit that happens to the. Like in real life the Jews wouldn't of blamed the Nazis for the pain and suffering they caused them, or a man wouldn't blame his brother if he had killed his children and wife for his pain and suffering and well for killing all his family. blame and arguer are very different things

  5. This week I was in a meeting with two business leaders, both of whom commenced the meeting by accepting blame for their "misunderstanding of the situation." Leader 1 said, "It's probably my fault that I misunderstood but didn't we agree…" and proceeded to state her understanding of a previous discussion. Leader 2 said, "No, it's probably me who misunderstood, but I thought…" and put forward his view of the previous discussion. They did this repeatedly whilst at the same time pushing their own idea of how they felt about coming to a decision (on the matter being discussed). In the end a decision wasn't made (again) – it was deferred to another time (the meeting had run over) nothing was really achieved but it was a pleasant meeting.

  6. Awesome video! We've always been about owning up to yourself. Stand tall when things crumble around you and you'll see how strong you are.

  7. Dr Brene Brown, where have you been this whole time. I suppose I found you at the time I was ready to hear what you have to share. This lady explains things in such an easy and simple way. Thank you for sharing what you share. It makes a difference

  8. absolutely admire how she realizes this behavior of hers and its effects and from there can go and change it. Quite brave

  9. Wish I had discovered Brene Brown's work a decade ago. It would have saved me so much heartache. She is brilliant and so human.

  10. Cool thought. Really enlightening.
    Tough, I missed one connection: spend less time trying to figure out who to blame and more time focusing on how to fix it or not let it happen again.
    Does it make sense? (keep in mind, I'm new to the channel)

  11. I understand that Steve agreed to come home by 10:30PM. However by taking a deeper look, it did make me want to ask why she was requesting that he come home at a certain time so that she could go to sleep. That's HER responsibility not HIS.

  12. My ex once blamed me (with screaming and cussing and threatening) for one of our plumbing truck's engines nearly blowing up because…..
    The night before as he was changing the oil in the truck, I took a glass of iced tea to the garage for him because it was hot and I thought he could use a drink.
    I sat it on the shelf and told him it was there.
    So he said that because I did that and he got up for a drink, he forgot to tighten the oil pan/gasket (?) and the oil leaked out.
    Therefore, it was my fault that the truck leaked oil as he drove it the next day.
    Top that! Lol!

  13. I just got schooled by you. Thank you. I blame people a whole lot when things don't go my way, but sometimes underneath it all, I know it's my fault. Thank you once again.

  14. lol.. when I lose something on my bed like a remote control I say dammit cat! Where did you hide it? I know it wasn't the cat, I misplaced it, so it is a privete joke. On South Park the kids found the elves who steal everyone's left sock, and had this huge pile of left socks. The funny thing was that they steal all the left socks when there are no left or right socks. People want to blame others and even the supernatural for things. Sure, inconsiderate thoughtless unempathetic sellfish people do things and are to blame as well, but will never admit it, and point the finger at you. You are supposed to watch out for the apathetic crap they pull. They are somehow not responsable for the consequences of their actions and inactions. It is always your fualt no matter what. People you deal with every day do not want to be wrong about anything, it is some ego trip. They cannot admit something was their fault from their apathy or laziness. They will never apologize or admit fault. They will blame you. Lets say someonemakes cereal, and is too lazy to close the plastic or the box top, and tp lazy to put the box all the way back on the top of the refridgerator but partly on the top of the door. Sabatoge. You open the refrigerator door and the box of cereal falls and makes a mess. Is it your fualt for not checking if the lazy apathetic person secured and placed the box correctly, or theirs for being inconsiderate, apathetic and lazy?

  15. Poor Steve! Lol
    I actually blame myself, and call myself "dumb ass" when I drop things, or do anything wrong. (I know, Negative self talk) I'm aware of this, and correct myself afterwards lol

  16. absolutely LOVE this dr brown she has left me feeling empowered n on a natural high!!!!–she made it easy n comfortable to effectively understand what she was communicating on the human behavior!!! bravo lady excellent jon doc!

  17. Would like if someone can debate me on this:
    Ok. Always trying to blame someone else for something isn't healthy, we've established that. But why is not blaming one's self or distributing blame in your mind a bad thing? Like the video said: "it gives us some semblance of control". Having control is very important to the conscious mind. Sure, being over-controlling and anxious about things is unproductive as well. But that's at an extreme.

    Like in the coffee situation, I would react with "Damn you steve", but also blame myself. "I shouldn't have drank that extra cup last night". or "Maybe I should find a way to sleep earlier without steve being home, so I don't end up all clumsy and disoriented the next morning". I feel like identifying where the problem (blame) lies, you can better manage the solution and the steps to get there. eg. Talk to Steve about not staying out too late, manage my own sleep schedule better, not go for that extra cup of coffee etc.

    I feel like it's unproductive and honestly quite dumb to just go, "oh well! That must have been a completely random event where 0 blame should be distributed." That kind of thinking doesn't really get you anywhere… or is it an "Ignorance is bliss" kind of thing? I don't really get it.

  18. I'm sorry, but I have a problem with any video creator who casually uses a slogan like "21st Century Enlightenment". Unless you're referring to the European Enlightenment, and even then it's not great. Otherwise it's sloppy terminology.

  19. Sadly I know someone like this & with such she has isolated all her friends & children because they simply can't be around her & her blame game.

  20. I want to check out those "studies" and what they "say". Because I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with this self-help nonsense.

  21. To me, it is obvious that blaming and off-loading onto the others is not this answer. But in this video, the real issue that should be adressed is : why does the woman need and request her husband to be back at a certain time (10.00 pm) from water-polo, otherwise she can not sleep? To me, it is a controling behavior and treating him like a child, as well as being childish herself ("I can not sleep if "mummy" or my teddy bear is not around". The real issue she should address is her childhood fear still not resolved.

  22. My Grandmother and my mother, the ultimate blamers. I will not have a relationship with them because this is what I get. It is also what everyone around them gets so while I don’t have to take it personally it is still so unpleasant to watch and experience that I don’t want It at all. Plus they never grow up by practicing blame. They are stagnant which is also unbearable to me.

  23. It's the opposite for me though I blamed myself for all the wrongdoings in my life. And I'm now rewiring my brain from all those past events.

  24. @2:06 I kick like Bruce Lee and Jean Claude Van Damme
    So dunna nana nana nana nana nana, Batman! —- wait that doesn't work.

  25. I'm an, "oh god did I do that", person. Being the baby of my family, I often got the blame shifted onto to me. So now as an adult, I automatically take on any blame and think to myself like urkel, "oh go did i do that."

  26. I have a husband like that. What should i do. He will even blame me that im too rough when the window handle in our bathroom broke. Our bathroom window faces west btw n its been installed for about 10yrs n is brittle. I blame it on wear n tear

  27. The is pure narcissism. The pretence that anyone who blames another is in the wrong. This is gaslighting by a narcissist. It's completely wrong. Perhaps you mean Venting rather than blame. The judicial system is BASED on "blame" (i.e. determining accountability of the accused).

  28. I don't mind blaming a bit, but some people will blame all the time and try to destroy you with blame. I can't be around those people, even if it's family or my boss.

  29. Can this video be opened up for community contributions so that it can be translated in Spanish for a Community Continuation course?

  30. I feel sorry for her husband. He seems like a really sweet guy and she still craps on him. You know that scene in the kitchen was probably a lot nastier than she fessed up to. The fact that she would admit that says a lot.

  31. So…….you are saying that it was my fault that i was sexually and verbally assaulted? I blame when it is warranted and do not sit quietly and allow such behaviour on the part of toxic men.

  32. So common in the workplace where for some reason we as leaders can't say, we were wrong.. it's our fault.. we look for fall guys!
    Point of reflection… something I will keep in mind on my leadership journey..

  33. What is problematic about this interpretation of blaming is the following: she says, "Accountability is a vulnerable process … it means me calling you and saying my feelings were really hurt about this, and talking … people who blame a lot seldom have the tenacity and grit to hold people accountable." No – accountability is taking responsibility for one's own feelings and actions. In the case of the dropped coffee cup, Brene has no one to blame but herself – the notion of holding her husband accountable (which she seems to imply) for her accident is ridiculous. Her feelings may have been hurt by him coming home later than expected the night before, but he's not the one who dropped the coffee. Accountability in this case means having the grit (and vulnerability) to admit her own mistake. Sure, we can ask others to be accountable for their actions instead of raging at them, and it opens one up to do so. But that's more like truth-telling, and saying what you see and how it affects one.

  34. I'd love to know what to do when you try and have a discussion about an "other's" accountability and they won't have it? They'll counter with a blame for "how dare you? you're just telling everyone about everything you do?" (this is in the context of two GROWN siblings who are equally responsible for the end of life care for parents. It's difficult to disengage from the blame game when the "other" refuses take on any accountability and didn't even take his family to my mother's funeral!!! Thoughts?

  35. This is brilliant! Especially for people that are more visual. This is a great way to better understand all those insights

  36. Damn I hella missed the last bit but it's brown's fault because she told me she was gonna ruin it for me so I said boy oof that

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