So, here’s the truth about divorce: very few people walk away gushing praises and compliments about their ex. Sure, we read about celebrities who claim to split “mutually and lovingly” and “look forward to continuing (their) cherished friendship.” But unless you have a PR person this is probably not the message you’re sending. More typically bitterness, hurt and blame are what we broadcast loud and clear.
After all, we got divorced for a reason. However, there is a point when it’s time to shift the rhetoric away from blame and anger and into a refrain that is (at least) neutral. Why? Because staying rooted in these fiery emotions only hurts you and the innocent bystanders (your kids). Think about it: do you feel peaceful and content when you harbor and rehearse thoughts like “It’s all his fault,” “He always knows how to push my buttons,” “He’s the reason my kids are failing school, having outburst at school, won’t leave their room…”
And the paradox is that while blaming may masquerade as feeling powerful, it’s actually the opposite. As long we blame someone else for how we feel, we are keeping ourselves victims. Inherent in blame is the assumption of powerlessness: we can do nothing to change how we react because the other person is creating the problem. But, this isn’t true. We can learn to choose how to feel regardless of what our ex is doing or not doing. It starts with truly understanding and committing to the concept that it’s ALWAYS our thoughts that determine how we feel. We can think empowering or disempowering thoughts about anything. I can hear some of my clients arguing with me: “But he’s a narcissist,” “He’s neurotic,” “He doesn’t care for our kids properly,” ” He’s abusive.” This is their evidence that of course they are going to hate him, feel disgusted or afraid. BUT do these feelings influence your behavior in a productive way? How can you act from strength, confidence, peace to guide your kids, make sound choices, create the new life you want, while being mired in the quicksand of blame?
Our emotional brain is trained to perceive danger and to spur us into fight (blame, argue) or flight (fear, worry, anxiety). And typically when go into fight mode, so does our ex. Blame begets blame. So, it takes practice to engage our reasoning brain to choose a new path defined by new thoughts. You may be skeptical, but just for today, try it. Drop the blame game and discover a taste of freedom.