Mercer Island, WA
Sunday, July 10, 2011
According to former surgeon and caregiving expert Dr. Vicki Rackner, when you blame a person for their chronic pain, they get more than just hurt feelings. Blame can make physical pain worse.
"Blame pushes people apart, and the resulting isolation intensifies physical pain," says Rackner. "Compassionate human connection makes physical pain better."
Rackner offers 5 tips to banish blame.
1. Distinguish blame from fault.
Fault is failed responsibility. The person "at fault" contributed to the bad situations by failing to act according to expectations.
Blame is like a game of hot potato. Blame makes the blamer feel better by passing along the pain to the blamee.
2. Recognize blame
Blame can be insidious. If a comment leaves you feeling judged or accused or criticized, pay attention.
3. Accept responsibility. Refuse blame. And refuse to blame
Accept responsibility and learn from your mistakes. Do not accept blame. Practice what you would say when someone tries to blame you, like, "Are you trying to blame me?" Or maybe, "That comment is not helpful. Let's focus on making things better rather than worse."
If you're blaming others, stop. Instead of "You're to blame," try, "I really wish I could help. This is hard for both of us."
4. Remember the blamer has pain
The blamer appears powerful; their action come from a sense of powerlessness. Blame passes the blamer's pain of helplessness along to the blamee. You can say to the blamer, "This must be hard for you. I bet you wish you could fix this."
5. Rethink "Why me?"
When bad things happen, most people ask, "Why me?" People in pain are often willing to accept blame. "My bad" is less painful than "Stuff happens." The truth is there is no fairness in chronic pain.
Rackner concludes that blame is like salt in a wound; compassionate words are like pain medicine. Replace blame with compassion. About Dr. Vicki Rackner, Founder of the Pain Stompers
Dr. Vicki Rackner is a former surgeon, author and speaker who has improved the lives of tens of thousands of patients, family caregivers and health care professionals. A decade ago she left the operating room and clinical faculty appointment at the University of Washington School of Medicine to serve as a nationally recognized expert in the doctor-patient-caregiver relationship. Would you like to do a story about how to help a loved one in pain?
Contact Dr. Rackner to speak at your event, appear as a radio/TV guest, conduct a webinar or interview her for an article. Call (425) 451-3777 or drop her an email through her web site www.DrVickiRackner.com.
Mercer Island, WA