Anyone who has gone through a marriage break-up may know about the unproductive exercise I simply call “the blame game” (real original, right?). I have engaged in this “game” over the past several years with my ex but I have vowed not to continue. It is a damaging game to all parties involved, including most importantly the children.
The problem is that when facing a party who is engaging in conduct which is about assigning blame you have to find a way to keep yourself above the fray and stick to the facts and hopefully get past the nastiness that may still be lingering (or as Chubbs Peterson said in Happy Gilmore, “go to your happy place”).
Rather than give you some deep philosophical diatribe on why staying away from the back-and-forth blaming is the best course of action I would like to give you some of my quick fixes to avoid joining your former partner “in the muck” so to speak:
- Leave the past where it belongs – in the past – this seems very logical but it is not always easy. Nobody enters into a marriage thinking “I know this is only short term”. When our expectations of marriage are not met we often store things in the vault about the other party and unlock them at the appropriate time, when we need to justify our position. Empty your marital vault and divest yourself of the contents. This will help you keep an eye on the two things that are most important – namely the present and the future.
- Blow off some steam – I am sure many of us get frustrated with the process when a marriage ends. The constant conflict can make you think “how did I ever marry this person”. Simply put when you feel like you have reached the end of your proverbial rope just find a physical outlet. Hit a punching bag, go for a run, it could be anything but doing this will make you more grounded when you have to deal with the pressures of divorce.
- Find a sounding board – I have two (thanks to my brother Dave and to my best friend Clayton for listening to me vent). It is cathartic to have an outlet aside from that punching bag or home gym which actually talks back and more importantly hears you. I would guess most people are looking for validation but having a fresh perspective from someone you respect may help you see the bigger picture.
Again, at the end of the day, looking forward and not backward will help you reach a better place. Remember, your kids want two happy, well-adjusted parents. Do your best to hold up your end of the bargain and you and your children will be better off in the long run.