Responsibility vs Blame - Is It Possible?

Apr 30 10:24 2008 Len Stauffenger Print This Article

When divorced parents expend a lot of energy pointing fingers of blame at one another, the children suffer. Here are some interesting words to help you become more objective for your children's sake.

Blame. We all do it. We blame others for things that they deserve to be blamed for and things that they probably don't deserve. Placing blame seems to be a technique that we learn very early on. When you think of children even as young as two or three years old,Guest Posting you can hear them saying, "She did it. It wasn't me!"

Taking responsibility for our own actions and short comings is one of the hardest life lessons to accept. Looking directly at ourselves in the mirror can be difficult to say the least. It almost seems automatic to blame someone else and not yourself.

If you are going through a divorce, I am just going to be frank with you. You were part of the problem. You're probably thinking "But he did cheat; not me." Or, "She yelled all the time; I didn't." We just feel better if we're placing the cause of the problem somewhere else. The thing is, by blaming your ex alone, you may be bandaging the real problem for a short time; but eventually, that bandage is going to get yanked off and the pain will get worse.

The good news is that by accepting your own fault and focusing on what part you played, you just may learn how to avoid this situation in the future. Let's look at an example. Bill cheated on Jane and he has been cheating for a long time. Right there, you are probably saying, "Bill's a jerk," and you would be right, because adultery is never excusable in a marriage, but we aren't going to focus on Bill. We're not denying that it is wrong to cheat. It stands out. It's easy to blame Bill, and maybe Jane didn't really do anything wrong. What if there was something that she could have done different? What if she missed the clues all together from ten years ago when she married Bill? Bill was selfish. Jane inherently knew it early on in the relationship, but thought she could change him. Mistake. One spouse can never change their partner.

So here is an example of Jane's role in her current situation. She wanted to be married so badly, that she refused to look at herself and say, "He isn't right for me." The examples could go on and on, but the key factor that remains the same is you. It won't matter who you are married to if you aren't honest with yourself. Can you really take a look at yourself and see your own shortcomings.

Can you say to yourself, "You know what, all I do is nag. All I cared about was getting my way and being right." Now is nagging a huge problem? Is it a deal breaker in a marriage? Who knows? I don't believe that only one type of behavior breaks up a marriage. It is a series of negativities: cheating, lying, finding fault, nagging, deception, blame, falling out of love. Whatever the supposed reason for the divorce, it's never simple. Don't worry any more that Bill cheated on Jane.

Oh sure, he was probably not right, but if you continue to look at Bill, you'll never discover Jane's mistakes that facilitated the divorce? What did you do that brought on your divorce? What can you do better next time? We all have room for improvement. I encourage you to work on making improvements to prevent further mistakes, and your kids will surely enjoy that benefit, which is, after all, most important. You don't get a do-over with them.

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Len Stauffenger
Len Stauffenger

Len Stauffenger's parents taught him life's simple wisdom. As a divorced dad, he wanted to share that simple wisdom with his girls. "Getting Over It: Wisdom for Divorced Parents," his book, is the solution. Len is an author, a Success Coach and an Attorney.

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