It’s all my fault. The words rang through my head unceasingly.
When something goes wrong, a spouse walks out, a child gets hurt, a job is lost and a home is gone, the pain can be unfathomable, and the temptation to tell yourself that it’s all your fault is almost overwhelming, but negative self talk does not accomplish anything good. In fact, it further harms fragile self-esteem and can cause severe damage to the precious confidence building so desperately needed at this point in your life.
When my husband left me suddenly, there were many excuses, and, over the next several months and years, I would hear things I never would have thought possible, things I had supposedly done, crimes I had supposedly committed, countless ways I was deemed crazy or angry or whatever adjective worked at the time.
And, as far fetched as the stories were, as much as I knew (most of) those stories to be either completely false or incredibly exaggerated or taken out of context, a part of me still wondered…
Was it possible?
Could I really have been so bad?
Am I such a horrible person?
What is wrong with me?
While I was hearing my many faults, I was also hearing my husband heartlessly singing the praises of the – other woman. She had great stories, led an exciting life, traveled, had nothing to slow her down, a high-paying, exciting job…
…blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…
But hearing the things he said about me and the things he said about her put together
was nothing compared to the negative things I was saying about myself.
I was so completely heartbroken, devastated, shaken to the core of my existence:
lost, alone, dull, boring, lame, horrible, fat, ugly, stupid…
There are no words to describe the experience, and it is not one I would wish on anyone.
I looked in the mirror and told myself repeatedly, “It is all my fault. If only I…”
~ lost weight (but I was 5 months pregnant when he left!)
~ cooked better meals (but his mom warned him about my cooking before we got married.)
~ worked more outside the home (Another story the court system has to get a clue about)
~ had better hair (No really. This one is true. I’ve ALWAYS questioned God’s judgment on the curly mop thing I’ve got going!)
~ kept a cleaner house (4 boys and a 5th on the way. ‘Nuf Said!)
if only, if only, if only…
My if onlys were part of the It’s All My Fault Game I played with myself, destroying any feeble attempts at confidence building that I could muster when I needed it most.
The biggest problems with the It’s My Fault Game are threefold.
- It lets the guilty party off the hook.
- It destroys confidence building needed for healing and recovery.
- It does not provide an honest look at what really could have been done differently or help to prepare you for a future relationship.
If you are beating yourself up with the It’s All My Fault theme running through your head,
you need to just stop.
I know this can be difficult; I still have moments where I slide into that It’s All My Fault trap, but choosing to let go and be free, to let God judge both you and your spouse while you ask for forgiveness, to stop blaming and start living is a choice you can consciously make.
Take an honest look at your life. Nobody’s perfect but very few deserted spouses and certainly far fewer (could there be ANY???) children deserve to experience the devastation of spousal abandonment and the death of the marriage.
Instead of blaming yourself, find something else to do. Do not waste your precious time and energy. I will put together a list of things you can do to prevent sliding into the trap and post it later this week
As in all areas of life – if you have done everything you could have, then learn from the mistakes you’ve made (We ALL make mistakes) and make the changes needed in yourself.
You are not perfect; no one is. Know and BELIEVE It is Not ALL Your Fault.