The Single Mom Survival Kit 8: The Blame Game
When tragedy hits and life changes it’s easy to play The Blame Game. When couples separate, emotions and tension can run very high. The Blame Game can be a game of who was the worst, who did what, and what am I going to get out of it now. If this game continues, it destroys us. It keeps us in a vicious cycle of anger and bitterness.
We all have scars and deep hurts that can make us say awful things and the same goes for the ex spouse. They may still want to play this game, but you don’t have to participate. You can refuse to play the Blame Game. Here’s how the Blame Game works and what you can do when you find yourself in the midst of it.
1. We blame ourselves. First and foremost, own your part in the marriage. Be responsible for the part you played. We are not perfect people and thus cannot have perfect marriages. As you work through ownership, confess to God and work on changes in yourself. From there, it is time to heal.
There may be lies that play in your head: “If only I had’, ‘I wasn’t good enough’, ‘If I was prettier, smarter, or thinner”. The ‘if only’ lies take time to heal. When we are constantly blaming ourselves for the total marriage breakdown, we cannot heal. Sometimes it is easier to blame yourself then to do the work of healing. Don’t be afraid. I saw a quote that said, “Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday.” That’s really good advice.
Joshua 1:9 says, “I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the Lord your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go”. To me that promise is so healing. God says stop blaming yourself. Own our part, work on change and move ahead one space. It’s much more exciting than playing the Blame Game.
2. We let others blame us. ‘It was all your fault’. Have you heard that before? Many divorcees tell me that their spouse said the same thing: “You were never what I wanted, we shouldn’t have married in the first place, you didn’t take care of yourself, we weren’t soul mates, and you were this and you were that.” I find this hard to write because it is so sad. You may even have been lied about and that is painful. Live your life with honor. I firmly believe that truth will come out.
When we let others justify their behavior on our behalf, it feels like ‘miss a turn’ in the game. We feel like we can never move ahead and heal. For me, I had to set up boundaries to stop the Blame Game. When discussions or hurtful words come up, one strategy that can help is to choose to stop and discuss things at a later date. Nothing can be gained by fighting words. Take time to process and see if those words have any validity. Then proceed.
3. We blame everyone. When we are in pain and working through the grieving process, we have to be careful what we say and how we react. I would caution you to be careful in spreading destructive talk. We know the truth in our heart, and we need to live doing what is right for us and for our children.
I hear so many women bad mouthing the ex and sharing with anyone and everyone who will listen. Despite what the ex-spouse has done, we don’t have to be nasty. At the end of the day, we will know we did what was right. That is why I firmly believe in healthy boundaries. I had some really close trusted friends that I could share my painful heart with. Their encouragement and listening ear was healing. Find someone who will do this for you. It is a treasured gift. When you feel tempted to do blame, ‘Skip a Turn’, and then get ready to move ahead.
4. Blame God. Do you find yourself blaming God for your destroyed marriage? Unfortunately we live in a world of pain, hurt, and selfishness. We cannot control other people’s choices. God has not made us robots to do exactly want He wants us to do. He has given us choices to make. Instead of blaming God, ask God to bless in this new journey. He will be there to help you. His character is never evil. He wants to give us a future with Him.
This verse gave me great assurance and comfort in my days when I wondered if God was helping me. “I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering. You will turn back to me and ask for help, and I will answer your prayers. You will worship me with all your heart, and I will be with you, and accept your worship.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13) He blessed us with His protection and care as I began to trust Him in the path I had to walk. I lost a husband and I had to go back to work but because of that I gained life skills, begin a new job career, deepened my relationship with my children, and eventually purchased my own home.
5. Kids blame themselves. Somehow with the kids in the middle of the situation they may feel they have had something to do with the break up. They may react negatively and start getting in trouble, or they may try and be perfect. I talked to my girls often and reminded them that it was not their fault, but it broke my heart when I read a school assignment about how one of them felt they had contributed to this break up. Keep telling your kids that this conflict was between the parents. Try and keep the visits as positive as possible. Your children don’t need to hear negative talk about their other parent. In their own time, they will be able to process and ask questions that need to be truthfully answered.
Instead of the Blame Game play God’s Game of Life. He has the best rules, knows how the pieces will be played out, and will get you to the finish in a victorious way. Throw the Blame Game away. It will help you heal, help your kids, and help you move ahead in positive ways.
“I patiently waited, Lord, for you to hear my prayer. You listened and pulled me from a lonely pit full of mud and mire. You let me stand on a rock with my feet firm and you gave me a new song, a song of praise to you.” (Psalm 40: 1-3)
There is HELP, there is HOPE, there is HEALING!
Don’t miss the rest of the Single Mom Survival Kit:
Part 1: A box of resources
Part 2: How to set boundaries
Part 3: The monster called FEAR
Part 4: Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3
Part 5: Making memories
Part 6: Good grief
Part 7: Life as it is
Part 8: The blame game
Part 9: Bucket full of dreams
Part 10: Looking back on it now
Now that you’ve stopped blaming yourself and others, it’s time to restore your sense of self:
How to rebuild your self esteem
And don’t forget the kids: 4 Ways to build confidence in children