After a break-up, blaming your ex is deliciously satisfying, isn’t it?? It feels great to rage on about what a jerk he or she was, going over and over all the hurtful things they did. And you’re right I’m sure. They did cause pain. But honestly, are you so pure that you never did anything hurtful? I doubt it. And I wonder what your ex would say!
Whatever your relationship was, it’s important to know that you co-created it. It was a 50/50 proposition with each of you making a contribution. When you accept that truth, how can you simply blame? Oh it’s human to be angry about the hurt your ex caused. And it’s good to express that anger in a healthy way. But staying on the blame train will hurt you. It stunts your growth, collects mud in your heart and limits your ability to create something better with someone new.
Ever wonder why you keep meeting up with the same person with a different name and a different face? It’s because you haven’t taken responsibility. Leaving a relationship without self-discovery means you don’t grow and change. And if you are the same, you can’t expect your next partner to be better than the last. Endlessly blaming keeps you SMALL, and small cannot attract BIG.
Here are some suggestions for self-discovery:
List all the hurtful things your ex did. Then ask: what did I do, or not do, that fostered this behavior? For example, you might say “Jon had angry outbursts. I sure didn’t contribute to that.” You didn’t? Did you stick around and listen to the yelling and screaming? Or did you say “when you have calmed down and are willing to rationally talk, I will listen. But I won’t stand here and be screamed at.” And then did you walk away? If you didn’t, your lack of boundaries was your contribution.
Or maybe you’ll say, “Alice was selfish always taking, never giving back.” Now, ask yourself, “was I an over-giver? Did I excessively give so that I would be loved and valued? Did I want her to need me so much that she wouldn’t leave? Did I ask for enough for myself?” Too much giving and not enough getting was your contribution.
We teach people how to treat us. Saying what you want, how you feel, and setting boundaries results in high standards for how others treat you. If you are treated badly, it’s because you treat yourself badly. That’s the bottom line.
Taking responsibility for your part in the relationship dance leads to a wiser, stronger, more confident you. It’s the basis for forming deeper, more fulfilling, more joyful relationships. Now isn’t that a great incentive for doing the work? To me it is. Hands down!
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for great tips and insights about relationships and break-ups You can buy it on Kindle worldwide from all Amazon websites, including www.amazon.com