Here’s what your understanding of blame and accountability reveals about you

by | Oct 8, 2018

Listen to the full interview.


There’s a big difference between blame and accountability.

Clinical psychologist Jeanie Cave says each of these concepts is associated with a particular mindset or view.

Cave says an individual’s understanding of these two concepts will be influenced by whether they view relationships with a linear or circular approach.

A linear approach means to blame, while a circular approach means to be accountable.

A linear approach to relationships is describing relationships as having clear lines of cause and effect.

A circular approach says: “I co-create my reality through reciprocal feedback loops of action and reaction” and is associated with high self-regulation, internal locus of control, and self-actualisation.

A person who views the world with a linear style often assigns self-blame or blame upon others.

A person who views the world with a circular approach is more open to accountability, dialogue and introspection.

While blaming leads to problems in living, accountability leads to higher levels of life satisfaction, Cave explains.

Even when something is done to you, you are accountable for your reactions.

— Jeanie Cave, clinical psychologist

You can be accountable, but not to blame. Instead of blaming one party, we acknowledge share.

— Jeanie Cave, clinical psychologist

In the linear self-blaming style… It’s often blaming the other person, but a lot of the times it’s blaming yourself.

— Jeanie Cave, clinical psychologist

A blaming [linear] style is more associated with depression, anxiety, despondency and unfulfillment, whereas a circular approach is saying; things happen to me that aren’t within my control, but I can choose how I react and respond to them.

— Jeanie Cave, clinical psychologist

Having mastery of what you put into your relationships [circular approach] is associated with high levels of life satisfaction and self-actualisation.

— Jeanie Cave, clinical psychologist


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