Stop Blaming Your Spouse Always blaming your spouse when things go wrong. It might be time to take a look in the mirror. BY DR. NEIL FIORE
Think twice before you blame your spouse for something.
Why do I blame my spouse when something goes wrong?
If you misplace your keys, lose an important file on your computer or if your car runs out of gas, do you blame yourself or your spouse? If you're like many others you feel your spouse is to blame for anything that goes wrong in your life. However, you could change this tendency in a few steps. Letís first start with some scenarios that might be familiar.
1. Your spouse, like your mother, is supposed to be the source of all pleasure and pain. Your spouse is supposed to fix your life and make it all better. When things go wrong and you donít get what you want, you feel justified in blaming your mother, the government, your spouse and, eventually, God. Many of us think of ourselves as innocent, entitled victims of others who should be taking better care of our needs and giving us unconditional love.
2. We tell ourselves, "If I were single and independent, none of these mistakes would happen. Iíd do things myself and not have to depend on him or her to follow through. If you want something done right, youíve got to do it yourself. My life was a lot easier before I got into this relationship."
3. If you took responsibility for losing things, for wrong decisions, for avoidable accidents, youíd have to work on it yourself. But youíve tried and havenít been successful. Youíre tired of trying to improve yourself and repeatedly failing. Itís simply easier and faster to blame your spouse.
While most of us do some blaming of others, there are many who, remarkably, almost always blame themselves for negative events. Some are so committed to the belief that they are powerful and in control that theyíd rather blame themselves than contemplate the idea they and the world are out of control and unpredictable.
Quick tips on how you can reverse these patterns:
* Accept the sad fact that no one but you can fix your life. Your spouse and your parents are not responsible for your life now. Catch your knee-jerk reaction to blame your spouse and shift to wondering how you might solve the issue yourself and accept yourself even when things donít go the way you think they should. Maybe you donít need to blame anyone.
* Accept the fact that, after the age of one or two, unconditional love will only come from a puppy or yourself. You will not find unconditional love from drugs, achievements or even your spouse. Mourn the loss of that brief period of unconditional love and paradise and begin building a state of unconditional acceptance within yourself. Maybe you can accept that you are no longer the King or Queen of the world and that life happens without feeling a need to consult you about its plans. Remember the joke, "How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans."
* Choose the perspective and belief system that makes you more effective, joyful and successful. If three people are hit by rocks, one person might conclude: "I must have done something wrong to make these people angry at me." Another might get angry with those trouble makers who are unfairly throwing rocks at an innocent bystander. And the third might say, "I donít like being hit by rocks. Iím getting out of here." Each has a different point of view of who is to blame and how to react to an unpleasant event. Which will you choose?
Things donít always go your way, even when you follow the rules. Instead of blaming your spouse, communicate and commiserate with your spouse.
Dr. Neil Fiore is a psychologist practicing in Berkeley, CA, a coach, a speaker, and author of Awaken Your Strongest Self: Break Free of Stress, Inner Conflict, and Self-Sabotage [McGraw-Hill, 2006]. His bestselling guide to overcoming procrastination, The Now Habit [Putnam, 2007], is revised and available at iTunes under "Audio books," and at www.audible.com. You can find Dr. Fiore's "Free Articles & Tips" at www.neilfiore.com. and a copy of Regardless Affirmations at neilfiore.blogspot.com.