From Psychology Today
"In 1967, Watzlavik, Beavin, and Jackson published The Pragmatics of Human Communication, which identified several axioms (i.e., commonly accepted principles) of interpersonal communication and how it works. One axiom, "The Punctuation of the Sequence of Events" (p. 54), provides insight into why the blame game is so common in interpersonal communication.
In reality, relational communication events are continuous; they are ongoing, with no clear-cut beginning or ending. In other words, in the context of close relationships, communication events are continuous transactions, as they are tied to the past, present, and future of the relationship. As participants (or observers), however, there is a tendency to divide communication transactions into sequences of stimuli and response, or cause and effect - to impose our own punctuation on the communication transaction."
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