As a separated parent, playing the ‘blame game’ may seem fairly satisfying in the short term but over time it surreptitiously undermines your parenting, negating and eroding the other parent in the process. Sadly, this is a typical behaviour observed during separation as the need to blame is very much a part of the initial stages of grief and fury. It can feel good to blame the other parent, absolving ourselves of guilt. And there are only so many painful emotions one can cope with when separation and divorce can feel so dramatic and awful.
But by continually playing the ‘blame game’ we maintain our fixed position and remain ‘stuck’ in avoiding vital and necessary change. “It’s all his/her fault” we keep telling ourselves and feel justified in adopting this ‘easier’ stance where no shift or compromise (or healthy self-analysis!) can take place. But if we’re unable to be truly honest about assessing our own roles, examining our own behaviour and looking within ourselves, how can we determine how to change and learn from past incidents? We risk the situation becoming even more ‘inflamed’ to a point that will disable us, like a type of paralysis. Deeply entrenched and stuck in a ‘blaming’ rut, no progress can ever truly be made.
Parents who get caught up in continually blaming each other are actually negating their own individual parenting prowess, robbing themselves of their strengths and qualities as parents. By spending so much energy focusing on one another’s mistakes, an impasse is quickly reached. At this point your children will probably feel hopelessly lost or overlooked. The net result is two negated parents creating a severe emotional deficit for their children at a time when they need to observe their parents being calm and resilient. Both parents need to conserve all their individual energy so they can focus on bringing up their children – an even more difficult task than usual!
Taking stock of oneself and learning to regulate our actions and reactions is far more rewarding and the results far more tangible. One can see the progress from within. Negative profiling the other parent; viewing them with an ever-critical eye; plotting their demise and obsessing over what they are doing with ‘your child’ ultimately only detracts from you as a parent.
The time and effort wasted obsessing and generating negative energy and blame results in loss of time spent enjoying your child. It’s only in building on the foundations of their childhood that we can continue creating lovely moments and memories for them.
It takes time to recover from the separation experience (especially if entrenched in litigation and court proceedings) so if you continue to find yourself on this negative trajectory it’s time to explore alternative options and seek specialist support. Try to have more fun with your children. Stop looking at those court papers or taking note of all the times the other parent slips up. Stop spending so much energy negatively profiling the other parent and trying to build a case about ‘what an awful parent they are’. Take the time to enjoy yourself and your children, to take a healthy control and reap the rewards of your decisive actions to move forward in seeking a fruitful co-parenting future.