10 thoughts on “Are You An Externalizer Or An Internalizer? 4 Ways Of Handling Blame

  • August 19, 2018 at 11:26 am

    What an excellent article! Thank you! I love the expression “compassionate accountability “. To me it’s a good way to express how I should treat myself and everyone else. I’ve noticed that when I am able to practice this, in any situation, it promotes peace and tends to draw out the best behavior in others.

    • August 19, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      Yes, absolutely Abby! It’s conducive to learning from your own mistakes, and will also promote the best behavior in yourself as well.

  • August 19, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Great article! Yes, I internalize–A LOT. It is very uncomfortable for me to show ANY emotion other than a happy, smiling face. Yes, I wear the social mask so that no one can tell that I’m internalizing everything in my life, past and present, large and small. I blame myself for a lot of things that I intellectually know are not my fault. If the world spun off its axis, I would blame myself. CEN by well-meaning parents created this dysfunction within me. I love reading these articles and they are helpful to the point of understanding, however, I feel the true ‘cure’ for all the trapped feelings and anxiety is a therapist. Talking and crying are much needed here. Being a pinata of old feelings and self-blame is quite a burden to carry when there’s no outlet for them.

    • August 19, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      I certainly agree that a therapist is a good idea. But it does need to be a therapist who can not only let you talk and cry, but also teach you what to do with your emotions and help you begin to use your emotions in a healthy way.

  • August 19, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    It is incredible to me that I have no conscious memory of either of my parents ascribing blame or responsibility to me about misdeeds done in my childhood home, but I remember well being spanked. Even though these spankings were not overly harsh, I also remember feeling that they were unjust and I absolutely despised being treated that way and so very angry about them.
    All of this tells me how incomplete my childhood memories are and that I didn’t learn the supposed point of the punishment (my responsibility) but did learn the helplessness and grief of being a small child with no recourse but to submit.
    My ability to take appropriate responsibility is certainly skewed to this day.

    • August 19, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      Dear J, if you can see that your ability to take responsibility is skewed, you can figure out where you are going wrong and start working on this! There is great damage caused by both over-internalizing and over-externalizing. Both affect your ability to learn from your mistakes and both affect your relationships with others. I hope you will take on this problem.

      • August 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm

        Thank you for your response to my post.
        The difficulty I have with over- internalizing is part of the essence of the situation: how to decide what part I played in the beginning. It is usually not obvious (to me, at least) that I had no power to have caused the result. My propensity to over-internalize has set me up to believe that I indeed could have had the power to at least contribute to the problem if not caused it in the first place.
        A possibly slightly amusing experience occurred after I had been in therapy a short time. Wanting to deal with guilt and responsibilty, I came in one day to a session with a list of perhaps 20 different situations for which I felt responsibility and consequent guilt. I had no ability to figure out what was rightfully mine and what showed an enormous ego to think that I had that much power to cause some of those situations to occur. Of course, this is the same problem the young child faces when the parent does not emotionally support or respond to them–was it my fault that mommy or daddy went away and what did I do to make them not love me anymore?
        Perhaps some examples of your suggestions might be helpful. Thank you.

      • August 19, 2018 at 6:30 pm

        There is no way for most children in that situation to figure out what’s their own fault. It’s probably the reason that I see so many people struggling with this. Thank you for your comments!

  • August 19, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Thank you Dr. W for all that you do! This has been a huge help, giving the knowledge so that one can have the understanding behind so many years spent just questioning “Why”…The pain, anger and frustration can be unbearable. Combine that with lack of support from friends and relationships, (unintentionall) make for a miserable cocktail..one that seems as hard as I practice change, therapy, medications…the feeling seems to make its way back to haunt me….I continue to keep on keeping on…because of people like you who care and have such a positive impact.

    • August 19, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      I’m glad you’re keeping on with the work Andrea. Persistence is the greatest ingredient to change. All the best!


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