Using blame as a way to resolve conflict never works. It alienates people, makes them defensive, and causes guilt and shame. Wagging your disapproving finger at others is an immature way to manage conflict. Getting yourself in order and stopping the blame game habit is one thing, but what about standing up for yourself when you are being blamed?

Being blamed for something…even when you did it, feels awful. Being called out and held responsible for something can run the range of human emotion. If the blame is unjustified it can cause you to feel victimized or targeted. If the blame is righteous but feels overboard or extreme, it can also cause you to experience guilt and shame at unnecessary levels. The bottom line is, it’s no fun to be blamed for things whether you are at fault or not.

Standing up for yourself when you are being blamed can be really hard. People casting blame may feel powerful and that can put you in awkward and stressful situations. OR, if you tend to be a fighter, being blamed for something could trigger you to be highly defensive or resistant to their accusations. Under both circumstances, it’s hard to stand up for yourself in healthy ways.

Tips for standing up for yourself when you’re being blamed.

If you did it, own it: Being blamed stings, there’s no doubt about it. Being caught doing something shady or facing unexpected fallout from something unintentional hurts either way. If you caused a problem, own it. Under most circumstances, people simply want people who have offended them to own up to it. Resistance can cause more problems than there already are.

Get in touch with your feelings: Being blamed triggers the fight or flight reaction. Get in touch with how you feel before you react. If you’re embarrassed and want to run or you’re fuming mad and want to fight back, you need to calm yourself before you can move to resolution.

Make amends: If you are at fault…intentionally or unintentionally… make amends. This doesn’t mean you have to demean yourself or be the brunt of harsh ridicule. Simply approach the situation humbly and do your best to make amends.

Choose your words wisely: Being blamed can feel like an attack. Choose your words wisely and consider who is blaming you. If you are being blamed unfairly, address it calmly and avoid escalating the situation. Focus on facts rather than feelings and do your best to defend your situation. If you are being blamed and there is legitimacy to it, choose how you respond wisely and avoid being defensive or

Note: Sometimes people are blamed for things they simply did not do. Be prepared to defend yourself if and when by getting support. You may need legal assistance, a trusted friend, or another neutral party to help sort things out. Be prepared to face unwarranted blame and don’t allow someone to railroad you with their accusations.

Whether you did something regrettable or are being falsely blamed, you need to stand up for yourself. Apologizing is standing up for yourself, in the same way, refuting a false accusation is. Facing blame with dignity and a cool head will help you overcome being blamed without feeling shamed or defensive.