Handling their hurtful behavior: stop the self-blame!
Are you one of those who blames yourself every time something goes wrong in a relationship?
The sad truth is that many of us do. When they do something wrong or when we sense like something awful is going to happen we immediately put ourselves in the center of a stage and assume the blame.
Think about how crazy it actually is: here we have a human being, totally independent of us busy doing their own thing and somehow we assume that every step they make, every thought they have, anything they do or do not do relates to us. Let me rephrase it differently: out of sense of self-importance we assume that their behavior is all about us.
I know it sounds off base and rather ridiculous BUT this is what we do when something goes wrong – we immediately take blame forgetting that it takes 2 to tango. Are you saying that he does not play any role in this at all? Are you saying that when something goes downhill he is the innocent party and it is all on you?
~ He never responded to my text message. I wonder what I said to turn him off?
~ He pulled away from the relationship and I am totally freaked out. What did I do wrong??
So basically what you’re doing here is blaming yourself for someone else’s actions. You may even think that ‘If only I should have said this and that or should have done this and that the outcome would be different’. It is like their behavior is a direct result of your own actions or like they are… your puppet.
But are they??
Of course they are not and you know it.
They are not a puppet on strings which means they do contribute to what happens in your relationship. As an example, them being stressed at work will affect your relationship. They may pull away and stop being attentive. As this happens we suddenly feel less loved and less valuable.
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This would not be happening had we had a better sense of who we are and what we represent to this world. We should not fall into depression, feel suddenly worthless and unloved because of some stressed out and busy man. It does not make any sense and it is totally ridiculous. Do you agree with me on this one?
Sitting and blaming ourselves over their bad behavior makes it all look like we have no other choice. We may also be tempted to do ‘damage control’ hoping that if we say or do something different this time they will be back or things will suddenly change. Again, the same mistake here – we assume that their behavior is all about us and what we do.
Have you ever tried to do damage control before? How did it go? Did any of those rehearsed monologues have any effect on them? Did they suddenly make a 180 degree U-turn? Did they even get an idea what you were trying to do? Were you on the same page during the process? Were you surprised to learn that there were more moving parts to the issue than you previously thought? Upon finding it out did you feel like a fool?
Blaming yourself for their bad deeds AND feeling worthless as a result of their behavior is a way of saying that they matter more than you do and that they are more powerful than you are. It is like they are your precious validating tool and oh so needed source of well-being and self-esteem.
In essence, blaming yourself for their hurtful behavior and feeling devalued, unloved, and worthless is an excuse to do nothing. Our sense of self-worth cannot be derived from hurtful behavior of other people. We should have other sources and means to derive that sense and they should be coming from US.
Blaming yourself for what they do means:
~ losing yourself in the process
~ having a wrong perspective of things
~ suffering needlessly and unnecessarily
Blame is an unproductive feeling. It oozes with a sense of doom and a sense of being stuck. Toxic cold rays, that it emits, penetrate through every area of your life affecting its quality. One would only wonder: should I put my sense of well-being on the line every time they pull a stunt? Does it make sense to take it personally without knowing the whole picture? Don’t I have anything better to do than obsessing over their behavior?
How about MY behavior? Does my attitude and perception of things contribute to my sour mood? Am I the one who makes it toxic for ME? MY thoughts, MY believes, MY assumptions, MY paranoia, MY anxiety, MY self-blame – do all of these play a role in how I feel right now?
Ask yourself these questions. Seriously – ask. Ask them especially when they do something hurtful. Do not be too quick to blame yourself for what they do, but rather take responsibility of your own thought process. Find some other means to feel valuable and important because their behavior – good or bad – is not and never will be a reflection of who you are.