Oh my…doesn’t blaming feel good? If we’re really honest, most of us would say, “oh yeah, it sure does.” I mean, what’s not to love about blaming? If only he did this, she did that, if only they would change, I would be happy. You’re absolved of all responsibility. Yippee. Um…not so fast!
Sure, blaming feels good…temporarily. And then what? Four not so great things happen: 1) your insides turn toxic 2) it alienates the person you blame 3) you become a victim giving your power away 4) you delay finding solutions to your problems. Does that sound like a happy outcome? I think not.
So what do you do when you’re just itching to blame? Simple (I didn’t say easy) don’t do it! Step away from the situation, then either alone or with a trusted friend, let yourself go for it. I mean it, vent your anger, blame all you want…for a limited time. Then STOP. Step up to the plate, take responsibility and focus on YOU.
Ask yourself three questions: 1) what can I learn from this incident? 2) what am I doing to contribute to it? 3) how can I make it better? These three questions, when answered honestly, will free you of the toxic feelings inside, and help you to learn and grow from the situation.
As an example, let’s apply the questions to a situation where your partner has angry outbursts. I mean really angry, throwing things, yelling, screaming, the whole works.
1) What can I learn? Look inside. Is your partner mirroring a hidden aspect of you? Do you need to acknowledge your own buried anger and learn to express it in a healthy way? Stuffing it is not good for you. It can make you sick…physically, emotionally, spiritually.
2) How am I contributing? Do you passively tolerate your partner’s angry outbursts? If so, your passivity is your contribution. Without consequences, your partner is free to continue their bad behavior.
3) How can I make it better? Set some limits. At a calmer time, let him/her know that their behavior is undermining your love and respect for them and that if it continues, your relationship will suffer. Tell them that you want them to get help to constructively deal with their anger. Be sure and add that you love them and really want things to change so that you can grow closer, not further apart.
When you change, it gives your partner the opportunity to change. They may not do it, but whether they do or not, saying how you feel and what you want puts you in a stronger position to decide whether you want to continue in the relationship or not. Either way, you win! I would love to hear your point of view.
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.