The Blame Game

Why is it that some people (those who have never been divorced, or even married, I would suspect) are so quick to lay blame on the end of a marriage.  I mainly hear this when there is abandonment or infidelity involved; the expressed assumption is that the spouse on the receiving end must have somehow invited that behavior.  It is not unlike the victim-shaming often applied to sexual assault victims or the way an abuser lays the blame at the feet of his/her abused.  This mindset can be so damaging for those who are trying to come to terms with what has happened to them.  Those who are trying to ascertain if they are damaged or not worthy.  Those whose world has been torn asunder and who are looking to right themselves again.  We need to reach out in kindness, not lash out in blame.

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In my own marriage, I accept responsibility that my intense nature and my mind prone to worrying helped to create an environment that was supportive of his dishonesty.  Regardless, that did not make it okay for him to lie for years, embezzle money from the marriage, leave with a text message and no discourse, or commit bigamy.  The blamers say he did those things because of me.  In the early months, I felt he did those things to me.  Now, I believe that he did those things despite of me.  He was sick, he was unhappy, he was fighting addictions, and I just happened to be collateral damage.

If you find yourself quick to lay blame, please pause for a moment and think about the appropriateness of the label.  Think about the consequences of the assumption.  Try to examine the situation from multiple viewpoints.

If you find yourself being blamed, especially after your partner has committed adultery or left without notice, please understand that the blamer is lashing out due to their own insecurities and narrow views.  You are not responsible for another’s actions.

Ultimately, blame is a distraction from the core issues in trauma and healing.  It is a winless game; it’s best just not to play.

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6 responses to “The Blame Game

  1. Reblogged this on Life of Brian and commented:
    Blame is indeed a game we all like to play. We do it from childhood, however many of us never grow out of it. In my experience, those who lay blame come in many colours;
    1. The white – they have an overblown idea of their own perfection and must lord it over those around them. They are usually the types that feel it their god-given right to pass judgment on those of lesser ilk than themselves.
    2. The black – they put on blinders, choose a side usually based on who they know, and even though they are mostly in the dark about what really happened cast blame with extreme prejudice
    3. The green – secretly envious this type will lay blame to an innocent because in their mind they would have done much better and would relish the chance to show that
    4. The yellow – without spine, they only echo what they may have heard others say and even then only in the shadows
    5. The red – Hate spewing rhetoric falls like acid from the red’s lips even in good times they will find someone to blame. A well placed barb here, a deep sunken dagger there is what makes their day

    What is most unfortunate of all is that there is usually a little bit of those colours in all of us to varying degrees.

  2. You are soooo right on with this post! I hope this gets lots of reading and passed on to others. This information is so critical and so important. I totally agree with what you are stating. The blame like that double traumatizes. Not good. It’s cruel in it’s impact, so undeserved and destructive to the person who is needing support, understanding and kindness.

  3. There is a destructive meme floating about that encourages blaming the victim. It goes like this: “There’s his side, her side, and the truth.” Sometimes, there aren’t “two sides to every story.” Sometimes, one person in a relationship is just the bad guy.

    Refusing to acknowledge that simple truth results in blaming the victim. “Maybe you provoked him into hitting you. Maybe she just couldn’t deal with your receding hairline and that’s why she had an affair.”

    Or maybe s/he is just a narcisistic sociopath. (Josh Powell, anyone?) Some stories simply don’t have two sides.

    • I think that one reason people like to think that there must be two sides is that it makes them feel safer in their own relationships. “As long as I do/don’t do (fill in the blank), my partner will never do those things to me.” The unfortunate reality is that some people are not operating from a place of integrity and that means others will be caught in their crossfire.

      Thank you for your response.

  4. Pingback: Them’s the Rules – A Blogging Year in Review « Lessons From the End of a Marriage·

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