Blame and Infidelity

Coping with the pain of infidelity can trap us in a cycle of blame and judgment. Blame blocks our healing from infidelity and creates more pain in us.

I blamed others for my pain.

I have written a lot about working through my pain, The Hag, and the ways my husband let me down by cheating. In this post, I want to share how I blamed others for my pain and held them responsible for how I felt. When I take the time to sit still with myself and be honest, I discover how much more healing and growing I still need to do. The life lesson I want to share today is a painful one. I was using blame to avoid recovering from my husband's infidelity! Ouch!

To heal, I had to learn how to take responsibility for my power to heal and not give it away to other people. In truth, my expectations of them let me down, not them personally. I just gave them that power over my life when I sat in blame and judgment. Double ouch!! Is blame holding back your healing from your husband's infidelity too?

Blame after infidelity stole my personal power

For me, blame wasn't being used on purpose or as a willful act of self-sabotage. Blame came to me unconsciously as I attempted to understand what I was suffering and stop that suffering. Because I was in pain and filled with fear, I tried to protect myself by taking what was happening internally and pushing it outside of myself onto others. You and I both know that discovering infidelity was agony. So I blamed and blamed and blamed my partner and The Hag for that agony. But blaming didn't stop the pain; it made it worse.

Blame kept me trapped in a pain cycle.

Much of my suffering, as I discovered, came from myself and the stories I had made up to keep myself safe. My self-talk was me endeavoring to understand my world and what was happening. However, blame stopped me from maturely interpreting the facts. It kept me trapped in a pain cycle of painful stories, stories that all pointed back to my husband's infidelity.

My blaming was as if I had placed my feelings into a washing machine stuck on agitate. It was constantly swishing and swirling and rubbing and banging around like an annoying background noise in my life. Occasionally, I would lift the lid, look at it, and complain that it wasn't done yet. Blame was an ineffective coping strategy, yet I was using it here. Subtly, blame stole my power to heal or even navigate life successfully. It had me negating my responsibility when a given situation triggered me.

Blame over the infidelity stopped me from feeling the challenging emotions life was bringing to me, feelings that I needed to work through to heal. Blame jumped to my defense and overruled my thinking rather than recognizing and dealing with feelings of shame, guilt, hurt, disappointment, sadness, inadequacy, or powerlessness. I was stuck!

"Blame is a way of feeling better without changing."  

-Brene Brown

My blame was emotional avoidance.

Blame deceived me into believing I needed to preserve my self-esteem (ego) and forced me to disown my true feelings at the moment. My husband's infidelity had hurt my sense of self, leaving me in so much pain that I was disorientated. Disowning my feelings about being cheated on meant that blame was a form of emotional avoidance. It was like a numbing cream. I was avoiding my infidelity grief by filling my mind with blame repeatedly.

It also turned my need to be right or justified into an empowerment issue. By hiding my pain behind blame, my husband was always made wrong by me. I cut him off even before he spoke because blame loaded me up like a machine gun! And I could spew out my blame and justifications at blaming him in rapid-fire. It gave me a false sense of power. Yet my need to be right said everything about me and very little about the person I blamed. Forcing my infidelity pain onto my husband to feel powerful in the moment didn't heal me; it hurt me.

The more I blamed, the more I cemented the habit of blaming into my life. And worst, the more I dehumanized those who I blamed. When I got caught up in the emotion of blame, I admit I failed to take full ownership of myself or my actions. Sometimes I didn't act with dignity or speak to my partner with respect while in the same breath, demanding that he show me respect! Blame was blocking me from being who I wanted to be and how I wanted to show up in my life.

It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you place the blame.

-Oscar Wilde

When I blamed, I handed over my autonomy.

Blame created emotional neglect inside of me. When I blamed my partner for how I felt, it was as if I handed over all my autonomy to my situation. I placed the solution for my healing, safety, or the success of our relationship into my partner's hands while positioning myself to become the poor innocent victim. Having a victim mentality was incredibly wounding to myself and my partner. (Please note, I am not justifying my husband's previous actions of infidelity here, what they did was WRONG. We both agree on this fact!)

By positioning myself from a blame mindset, I also reduced intimacy in our relationship. It's challenging to get close to someone with an arm outstretched and accusing finger-pointing. By ongoingly putting responsibility onto my husband for how I felt killed my ability to feel close to him or see his attempts to connect. Blame put a blinder on me and disempowered my partner.

Blame put a blinder on me after infidelity

Compassion is the antidote to blame.

Ultimately, I am responsible for cultivating the antidote to my habit of blaming others. This antidote started with me showing myself compassion and the space to heal. I needed to accept my human flaws, accept the humanity and imperfections in others, and show compassion. No one is perfect. Focusing on their mistakes stopped me from healing. My healing is where I need to focus, not the flaws of others.

Compassion brought me back to taking care of my own needs first. Self-care helps me acknowledge and accept my thoughts and feelings with curiosity rather than deflecting them by blaming others. It supports my capacity to respond to my pain so I can heal and grow.

Self-care after infidelity gave me the space to stop the blame and heal

Blame pits us against each other.

Blame, on the other hand, sets arguments into action. It pits us against the one we are blaming. Our attempts to offload negative feelings onto another forces them to defend themselves from our blaming boundaryless behavior. Negative coping behaviors such as blame set a destructive cycle where no one wins. When we drop a blame bomb in the room, everyone gets burned, not just the one we blame. Conversely, when we practice self-care and face our pain first, it gives us the scope to stay connected with our partner or others rather than pushing them away with blame.

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”

-Bob Moawad

Deactivate the blame bomb and replace it with self-care. When we deactivate blame, we ignite healing in our lives, and maybe even the life of the one we previously blamed. We can heal our infidelity pain with self-care, and letting go of blame supports that healing.

Learn more about using self-care to heal your pain and your need to blame. If you need support or want to talk to someone who understands the unique pain infidelity brings, please take advantage of a free call with me

Much love

Yours on the Journey

About the Author

I'm the Betrayed Wife, mother of adult children, former teacher, and now a certified life coach and relationship facilitator.

The betrayed wife's personal experiences, her highly attuned ear, and deep insights are what her clients love most about working with her. She lives on a farm with her husband and spends her days gardening and tending to her flock. More about  the betrayed wife's personal infidelity story...

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