Oh, bewitching blame!
Self-responsibility is so empowering and liberating in love and marriage. And yet we are so bewitched by blame. Our brains, left to run on autopilot, love to blame others --especially our significant others -- for things going wrong, for making us feel bad. (If this sounds familiar, it is not your fault --it’s reinforced both by our brains default wiring and by how we are taught to see things from society.) There’s something so enticing about laying the blame on others--you know? Making our man the bad guy, the one at fault for whatever the thing is in the moment, allows us to feel like we are the good guy. It keeps us from feeling shame and self-doubt, and allows us to instead feel superiority, disdain, righteous indignation...Which feels kinda powerful. But it's a totally false sense of power. And it’s only temporary relief from feeling bad about ourselves or complicit in any wrongdoing! The only real power that blame actually has is to bring us anger, to get us on the defensive, to build a wall that keeps the other person at a distance. This can work fine for people we actually don’t want in our lives (although personally I’d still most often prefer to feel love or compassion than disdain).
But it does NOT work for someone we want to feel connected with. When we absolve ourselves of responsibility like that, we are laying the blame on the person we most want to love ....so it doesn’t actually free us up to have what we want, which is a loving relationship!
Now, the temptation of blame is hard to resist sometimes--even when we see it’s terribly ineffective. I still get entranced at moments thinking it’s my husband's fault, and he is doing something to make me feel bad, sad, not loved. When I don’t recognize it instantly, I feel the flare of anger that protects my vulnerable heart underneath. And I’ll do things that push him away or say something in a tone that leads to instant defensiveness in him. If I let it get that far--then my own tone of voice, or his -- is the fire alarm that gets me paying attention, that reminds me to take back my power. These things can be the signal for you, too, to take back your own power over your own experience. Because, if you’re anything like me, if you stay dug into blaming him, in the end you’ll feel like a sad little bird in a cage that keeps you from flying with your flock. Embittered and alone. So, what if nobody needs to be the bad guy? What if there’s no blame to lay? What if we instead, we just take responsibility to:
Get curious to understand with compassion exactly where our feelings and sense of division is coming from in the specific situation
While knowing that it’s coming from us---something going on in our own human brain….? (i.e. our own perceptions, our own thinking, our own interpretations of his actions are what's really creating our experience. Listen to this podcast episode for more on this.)
Guide ourselves out of that hardened divisive place, back to feeling comforted, like a team again, with love flowing between us.
In other words: Decide that really, there’s no one to blame, but there is power to harness by learning to take charge over how you think, feel, how and act--and therefore the results that you get in your marriage. This is not easy work. It’s not for the weak-hearted (that’s not you, anyways). But this is work that makes you ever more strong-hearted. This willingness to look at your own self, to guide your own thinking, to hold your feelings with love and tenderness, and to choose to love in the way that you want to be loved back ...this is the fierce-hearted high-integrity path. As hard as that shift can be to make, it frees me up and allows me to drop the grudge —to raze the wall… So that I can feel my husband's heart again. So that I can bring us back to the connection I so deeply cherish. The cherry on top is he appreciates it wildly. And I appreciate myself wildly for it, too. You can do the same. It starts by stopping the blame game, and choosing instead to take responsibility for the most powerful thing: your very own self. You are, at your core, fierce-hearted, my sensitive friend! YOU have it in you to free that fierce heart to love deeply (even when your partner’s being the faulty human he is), and invite him on board to have the most authentic deeply loving high-integrity human marriage possible.
That’s what I will help you do when you come coach with me. Schedule your consult today to hop on my coaching waitlist. (The sooner the better, as the waitlist is growing fast!)