You stubbed your toe on your way out the door, and your dog escaped while you were frantically trying to get your shoe on. Now you’re late for work.
How do you react to situations like this? Do you accept responsibility for the things you can control, or do you immediately try to place the blame on someone or something else?
Not everyone will play the blame game, but the ones that do are typically on either extreme side of the spectrum. On one hand, you have the person who blames everything else.
- It’s your partner’s fault that the table was in your way. She moved it last night, and now you’ve stubbed your toe.
- It’s your neighbor’s fault that the dog got out. He was out walking his dog, which caught your dog’s attention.
- It’s the shoemaker’s fault for making your shoe’s such a chore to put on.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who blame themselves for everything. They whole-heartedly believe that they are the cause for everything that goes wrong.
The Blame Game in Divorce
When it comes to divorce, the blame game is almost always played – even by those who don’t normally play. Why?
- Blame is a defense mechanism. Whether it’s denial or feelings of hurt, blame helps us maintain our self-esteem by sweeping our own failings or flaws under the rug.
- Blame is an offensive tool. Some people use blame as a way to hurt their partners.
- Blame is the easy way out. It’s much easier to put the blame on someone else than to take responsibility for our own actions. Taking responsibility would mean having to make changes, which is not appealing to many people.
Divorce can be an emotional rollercoaster, and for most couples, there’s a lot at stake. Both parties may be reluctant to accept the fact that they both played a role in the destruction of their relationship.
The Psychological Effects of Blaming Your Partner
Whether you’re the one doing the blaming or the victim, the psychological effects of the blame game can be serious.
- Emotional Abuse: Constantly blaming your partner for things he or she did not do is no different than verbal abuse.
- Guilt and Self-Blame: Eventually, the blamee will start believing that she’s responsible for things that are out of her control, which leads to feelings of self-blame and guilt.
- Lower Self-Esteem: The guilt and self-blaming eventually lead to lower self-esteem. In turn, the blamee lowers her standards and tolerates unacceptable or unhealthy behavior.
When we play the blame game, we never win. We simply wind up hurting the people we care about most and fail to take responsibility for the things we have control over. The psychological effects of playing this dangerous game can be devastating.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. Brad has a special expertise in working with high asset divorce. You can read more on this topic by visiting our divorce blog. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.