"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are" (Anonymous).
When we're feeling blamed, or feel like blaming, it's wise to take a moment and be curious. In an article titled "The Blame Game Hurts You Just as Much as Them" by New York therapist Hilary Jacobs Hendl she gives some great advice on questions to ask yourself before firing back.
She recommends that we ask ourselves:
What am I feeling that makes me want to judge my friend right now?
What I am I feeling that makes me judge myself right now?
What am I feeling that makes me criticize or belittle myself or someone else right now?
What am I feeling that makes me want to overeat, over-drink, obsess or ruminate right now?
What is happening right now that I just popped out of my skin and became self-conscious? What is going on here?
Another question worth asking is, "Is there some truth in what they are saying".
The act of pausing and becoming aware of our thoughts and feelings takes practice and can be extremely difficult in the heat of the moment. It's an emotional circuit-breaker that can "stop the hurtful impulses dead in their tracks".
“If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart...” ― Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living.