August 31st: Looking at My Part

Sometimes, when we begin to look at our part in things, we can get caught up in blame.

I wanted to take a “fearless” look at my part in the break-up of my marriage, I wanted to learn from my mistakes and move forward, but I saw so many things that I wished I had done differently that all I did was blame myself.

I felt like such a horrible person.

How could I have done that?

Why didn’t I see what I had been doing to our relationship?

Why hadn’t I thought about apologizing or changing before our marriage had gone bad?

It was hard to accept that it was too late to take back any of my prior actions and change the outcome of the situation.

I knew divorce was inevitable.

The only way I could use this trying situation to my emotional and spiritual advantage, was to look at my part in the situation and assess what had worked in the marriage and what hadn’t.

What would I do differently the next time I was in a relationship?

What had caused me to take these actions to begin with?

How could I be more loving and kind, more present, in all of my future relationships?

I had to get past my own blame, and truly look at my part.

I had to remember that I had done the best I could at the time, and that I had never intentionally tried to cause problems in my marriage.

I had to be kind to myself and admit, that like every other human being in the world, I was capable of making errors in judgement and terrible mistakes.

If I could do this, I would be able to learn and grow from my experience.

If I just stepped back, looked at my part, and learned from the situation, I would be a better person for it.

“Dear God, help me to look at my part in the situation without blame. Help me to know that I did the best I could, with the skills I had, at the time.”

9 thoughts on “August 31st: Looking at My Part

  1. I’ve wondered a great deal about “blame” as I keep doing a rewind of what transpired the past few years that seems to have led to my confronting my soon to be ex about his cheating, that he thought was so undetectable.
    While we worked through the past several months to file and also sell the house, I tried hard to talk, express feelings, understand what to do or not do — I asked “what has really happened here? ” what did I do wrong?” I wanted to hear the good, bad, ugly, whatever it would be. The only answer I got continuously was ” none of this is your fault , you’re a wonderful person, it’s me.” I just can’t be married to anyone anymore. Which I didn’t buy…
    Granted I gave more than hints of feeling bad, hurt, trapped over the past few years, but not in the sense of giving up. He just basically ” chucked it in” and looked for someone else rather than talking. Maybe I should have pressed more but the dialogues were rough enough. Sometimes blame is just not the solution. In our case the marriage was already over when the trust was broken.

  2. Yes… what I have found over time… is that I never really had to look at my part because my ex was always the “bad guy” in the relationship… meaning… that if something went wrong… 99 percent of friends or family blamed him due to his addiction issues…. Once he was gone… and I had healed… I realized that I never really had to look at my part… or apologize for my behavior… because of his actions… if that makes sense… Then… in my new relationships… I started seeing what WAS my part… what I had done in my marriage that wasn’t working with my new “love interests” either. It helped to bring me to a path of spiritual growth where I could really call myself out on some old character defects and get past them. 🙂

  3. That’s almost exactly what I’m seeing in my situation right now due to very similar issues. He’s been given the blame, and even took on the blame in some instances based on how he “represented” himself as we went through our separation.
    Our friends and families tend to worry more that I’m the one that’s going to be okay.
    Which I will be.
    Based upon the emotional games he played and the horrible things I did, I would find it hard to apologize for my part either,
    Your comment about what happens from here makes perfect sense and I didn’t “see” it!
    There are many things I can do/should do differently or better, as I meet new people and rebuild my daily life.
    The end of this relationship is turning into one of the larger lessons and learning experiences of my entire life.
    Hopefully I will find love and passion again, as I go father down the road of mental,and physical healing.
    I hope to grow, and be an even better friend or partner when I have that opportunity.

  4. Had a hard time expressing myself on that last entry- I meant the horrible things he did… Not me.
    In some ways I was probably too accommodating and nice but I was just trying to “get through it”. I could take blame for that too I suppose!

  5. Remember what I said in the post “I had to get past blame and look at my part.” That was the key for me… I had to stop being hard on myself and I had to stop focusing on what my husband had done wrong and move forward to my future by asking myself… what was my part in our falling outs… in our misunderstandings… and how could I learn and grow from admitting that I had played a part… and when I was ready…. that is when I started asking myself these questions:

    What would I do differently the next time I was in a relationship?

    What had caused me to take these actions to begin with?

    How could I be more loving and kind, more present, in all of my future relationships?

    My post today is really relevant to what you and I have been talking about…

    There is a great scene in the film “It’s Complicated” where the character Jane says to her ex-husband Jake that she apologizes now but she didn’t have to apologize “then” because back then all of the bad things he had done made it so that she didn’t have to apologize.

    It took me several years to realize that I did have a part in things… and not to be hard on myself regarding what I struggled with… I had a hard time setting boundaries in my marriage… I allowed my people pleasing to get in the way of my own needs… and my fear of being abandoned to dictate my choices and I liked being the “good one” the one “beyond reproach” but unfortunately… I never let my husband forget that! It doesn’t mean he didn’t do some horrific things… because he did… but I know today… I would not choose that type of partner for a serious relationship today… 🙂 D.

  6. I’m “with you” as I reviewed our dialogue from last year.
    I was vocal during our marriage; I was honest and clear about feelings . But I didn’t sit down to look at communicating better , seeing if there were solutions.
    His solution / course of action was probably the best he could do because his life long MO is to escape when faced with too much pressure when it’s not what he doesn’t want to do.
    I would apologize for my focus on my depressed and work / pay the bills state of mind rather than being more sympathic toward him.
    I forgive both us.
    Now I can be a better friend and partner to those close to me as I move forward 🙂

    • Hello Patricia and W563, I have read the article and followed the thread of your comments. I assume you are both talking about either infidelity, abuse or addictive behaviour on the part of exes. Whilst I agree that it is important to always remember we had done ‘the best we could at the time’; I do not agree that we do have to accept our supposed part in the break-down. I did that for a long time because all the self-help books said that I must. However, now I do not agree with that. The ‘I should have set boundaries’ or that I had ‘chosen the wrong sort of person in the first place’ or that I been too ‘pleasing’ rings to me similar to victim blaming. “If only I had acted differently, then none of this would have happened.” What I mean by that is that no-one tells someone who has been robbed that they should have put signs on their stolen goods ‘do not steal’. No-one, whose car has been vandalized in a parking lot, is told that they should not have parked their car there. Yet when it comes to a marriage collapse, even though as individuals we may have done everything we possible could have to make it a good marriage, suddenly it has to be half our fault that it did not work. There has to be blame and we have to take our half. I no longer buy into that anymore. After three years post my split I have come to three conclusions that differ from much advice.

      The first is that I believe it takes two to make a marriage work, but one person can end it all on their own and if that is the situation there is nothing you can do about it.

      The second is that focussing on ‘blame’ one way or the other (either blame on him or blame on you) delays healing. Blame makes you feel bad about yourself. If you blame him you feel like an unforgiving person. If you blame yourself, you feel terrible and remorseful. It focuses on the ending of the marriage and ‘what went wrong’ and this ‘terrible’ event rather than focussing on all the good and being the best person you can be going forward. If you cut yourself, it does not help sitting there working out how the cut happened. You need to focus your attention on how to stop the bleeding and mend the cut.

      The third thing is that we are supposed to look at what we did wrong and change, such as how we were too intent on ‘pleasing’. I do not see how changing our kind compassionate side is beneficial for us going forward. I now feel that I do not need to change the good parts of me just because someone else took advantage of that good-natured side of me.

      Thanks for this post. It helped me put my thoughts into words.

  7. Marriage is obviously a bond between two people, and we all play some part, but I don’t think beating yourself up about the past is important. Hopefully these experiences make us grow somehow.

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