cover image Blame Game: How to Recover from the World’s Oldest Addiction

Blame Game: How to Recover from the World’s Oldest Addiction

Denis Liam Murphy. Post Hill, $28 (240p) ISBN 978-1-637-58754-6

Performance coach Murphy addresses those suffering from “a blame addiction they never knew they had” in his befuddling debut. According to the author, blame addiction causes “fear, shame, guilt, anger, and regret,” which are “not a natural part of being human,” and when people heal from this habit, life can become “effortless.” Murphy’s basic solution hinges on breaking the “victim cycle,” in which blame triggers feelings of victimhood, followed by anxiety, attempts at control, and blame (again). For example, Murphy discusses a client whose misbehaving son threw his work phone into the toilet. Murphy helped the overworked man reframe this “symbolic act” as something he’d subconsciously wanted to do himself, helping him exit the victim mindset, stop blaming the boy, and behave empathetically. Elsewhere, he describes a different client who came to him with an ongoing nosebleed; when he urged her to stop blaming her nose and “open the door of communication” with it, the bleeding stopped the next day. Even readers curious about Murphy’s bold claims will be put off by his circuitous logic and bizarre anecdotal evidence. This oddball volume will confuse more than help. (Jan.)