Point a finger, Three point back

Updated: Oct 29


Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

“When you point a finger at someone else, do you know that three of your fingers point back at you?” I’m sure many of us have heard of that saying in our younger years. However, do we actually know the significance of that expression? Normally, it is a human instinct for us to shift the blame onto someone else without being told to. For example, most of us while growing up, we would have accused our siblings of something to our parents at least once, when in truth, we were the actual culprits. But really, why do we blame others?


The psychological term for the word “blame” is “psychological projection,” which is when the ego defends itself by projecting negative and undesirable feelings onto other people, rather than admitting it itself. This clearly shows that people blame because they want to get out of a difficult situation without going through too much trouble, and so the easiest way out is by holding someone else accountable for the problem. People are often scared of the consequences if they admit to their faults. Therefore, despite realising that it is their responsibility to own up to their mistakes, people still blame others as an act of defending themselves.


In some cases, blaming others can also give the blamer a sense of dominance over someone, primarily over people who are emotionally weaker and more vulnerable because they would not have the bravery to fight back and take their stand. By blaming others, people exert control through multiple actions such as manipulation, intimidation and even threats. This can be explained as a way of controlling people, and in worse cases, can be a form of abuse as well. But then again, most people do not just blame for no reason. Some do it out of guilt and they use blame to get rid of the guilt, whereas o