When you’re in the throes of divorce, it’s easy to think of all the ways your ex has wronged you. It’s easy to blame him or her for the downfall of your marriage, as well as your current state of misery.
But blaming your ex for messing up your life, as well as your children’s lives, won’t change the past — or the present. The only thing blame will do is make you exponentially more miserable. Ready to let go and start moving on in 2018? Here’s how to take the first step.
Why Blaming Your Ex Keeps You From Moving On With Your Life
Let’s say you believe your ex is a narcissist/deadbeat/terrible co-parent/thoroughly loathsome human being. He or she creates daily chaos in your life: he sends you copious hostile emails, she bad-mouths you to the kids, he hides income to reduce child support. The stress is taking a toll. You can’t sleep, can’t eat, struggle to pay bills, have panic attacks when you see his texts pop up on your phone, and find it hard to concentrate at work. If only your ex were a decent human being, you tell yourself, you would:
- Be happy
- Stop yelling at your kids
- Have financial security
- Function better at work
- Be healthier
- Be excited about your future instead of terrified
- Enjoy life
While it’s true that your ex makes your life more challenging, they are not actually the problem. The problem is that you keep blaming him for your unhappiness – and you can’t stop.
Why People Get Hooked On Blaming Their Ex
Blame is seductive because it lets you temporarily escape painful feelings and shortcomings: grief, emptiness, fear, your lack of self-confidence, etc.
Blaming your ex keeps you from facing things about yourself that you don’t want to face. But if you don’t take 100% responsibility for your part in your relationship with your ex before, during, and after divorce, you will miss the opportunity for personal growth. And you will likely recreate the same dysfunctional relationship with your next partner.
How To Get Unhooked From Blame
The next time you catch yourself blaming your ex, turn the strobe lights on yourself: what was and is your part in creating your current situation?
- Did you overlook your ex’s glaring red flags when you met because he or she told you all the things you wanted to hear?
- Do you feel exploited and disrespected by your ex because you’re not comfortable setting and keep boundaries?
- Did you let your ex handle all the money so you never developed financial management skills and now you’re in debt?
- Did you abdicate the “dirty work” of parenting to your ex so you’re now overwhelmed with the daily reality of raising small children?
- Do you believe you’re entitled to anger outbursts because your ex makes you mad?
- Could your acrimonious co-parenting relationship have anything to do with the way you speak or write to your ex?
Now that you realize what you did — and continue to do — to make your life feel unmanageable, you can choose to do things differently. For instance:
- When dating, listen to your intuition. Or, as Maya Angelou said, “when people tell you who are the first time, believe them.”
- Be vigilant about setting and keeping your boundaries.
- Accept your financial and lifestyle reality as it is today, and live within your means. Focus on ways to make and save more money.
- Step up your co-parenting game: get to know your kids’ teachers, stay on top of dental and doctor appointments, set up reasonable expectations and consequences.
- When communicating with your ex, stick to facts and logistics. Leave your opinions and feelings about your ex and his or her parenting out of it.
- Speak with a counselor or divorce therapist to help you work through your feelings and build new coping skills.
When You Let Go Of Blame, Life Feels Better
Initially, letting go of blame is painful. You have to sit with feelings that seem intolerable. You feel alone. Scared. Overwhelmed.
Doing what needs to be done to fix your life now may not be convenient, cheap, or easy. But the more you do the next right thing, the less power your ex will have over you. Instead of squandering your energy on blame, you will refocus that energy on creating a post-divorce life that is authentic and meaningful.
Your peace of mind matters. For legal support in your divorce, our caring and trusted Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group attorneys can help. Schedule your free consultation by calling us at 888-888-0919 or by clicking the button below.