Are you playing the “blame game” after a break up – and you hate yourself for what happened? These tips on how to stop blaming yourself will help you accept the end of your relationship. I wrote this for a reader whose relationship ended in an unexpected break up. She can’t stop blaming herself, she can’t accept that her relationship is over.
In Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha, Tara Brach teaches the wisdom of radical acceptance. Accepting yourself – and whatever role you played in the break up – does not mean self-indulgence or passivity. Instead, it empowers genuine change: healing fear and shame and helping to build loving, authentic relationships. When we stop being at war with ourselves, we are free to live fully every precious moment of our lives.
In this article, I share four ways to stop blaming yourself after a break up. There are no easy answers, and I am 100% sure these tips won’t work for everyone! But you may find something here – a little seed of hope, support, or strength.
At the very least, you’ll see that you’re not alone.
On How to Let Go of Someone You Love, a reader said: I met a wonderful man a year ago, and from the start it was like I found my other half. But a few months back when all things were going perfect, he said something was missing. He gave me my key and left. He says he loves me but needs to be alone. I am having so much trouble letting go. With him I was so open and free. He asked me to wait for him to get his head together, but has limited his interactions with me and my kids who looked at him as a father. I need to move on but my heart is so broken I just want to cry. My kids need me to bounce back, to be an example for them with their own break ups in the future. How do I let go? How do I stop blaming myself for the break up?
4 Ways to Stop Blaming Yourself
Figure out what you did wrong. I can’t tell from the reader’s comment what she did “wrong” – and I don’t think she destroyed her relationship. She was there for her boyfriend, she did everything she could to keep the relationship open and healthy. If you blame yourself for the break up, can you identify what you did to end the relationship? If not, I don’t understand why you’re blaming yourself. Why are you carrying a burden that isn’t even yours?
If you did something morally, ethically, or legally wrong, then you have some work to do. Read How to Forgive Yourself for Having an Affair – the tips on self-forgiveness will help you stop blaming yourself if you caused the break up.
Accept that your ex is dealing with his own issues. When my sister stopped talking to me, I blamed myself. I didn’t know what I did wrong, but I was sure I must’ve been a bad sister somehow. I was selfish, rude, inconsiderate, thoughtless, unsupportive, unloving….right? Wrong. My sister cut me out of her life because of her issues, not because of anything I did wrong. It’s actually quite selfish and egotistical of me to think that everything that happens is because of my actions and choices! Sometimes other people make choices because of their own problems, which have nothing to do with us. This tip on how to stop blaming yourself for the break up is about releasing control and letting go of your ego.
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Surrender. “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu. I think I’ll include surrender and acceptance in every tip I write in my articles on love and relationships, because surrender and acceptance brings freedom and peace. Don’t you want freedom and peace? Of course you do. And you can have it, but you have to do the work of surrendering. Acceptance takes a surprising amount of work…until it doesn’t. It gets easy.
Find something meaningful in your life – other than your relationship. You want to set a good example for your kids? Don’t make your relationship the focus of your life. Set your life up to revolve around something bigger, more meaningful, and more fulfilling than a man. Me, I choose God. My spiritual life is what sustained me through infertility, a schizophrenic mother, a sister who can’t be with me, and various other disappointments and losses. I don’t blame myself for my sister “breaking up” with me anymore, and I accept her for who she is.
If you can’t see past the break up, read How to Emotionally Detach From Someone You Care About.
My prayer for you as you learn how to stop blaming yourself for the break up is that you find peace and acceptance. May you connect with God, and find a meaningful presence in your life that doesn’t involve man. May you find a source of joy and passion that enhances your relationships, but allows you to remain strong, peaceful, and happy even when you lose a loved one. May you become spiritually and emotionally happy, so you can accept whatever life brings. And, may you trust God that your life is unfolding exactly the way it should.
Can you stop blaming yourself for the break up – do you even want to? Sometimes we play the blame game after a relationship ends as a way of staying attached. We don’t want to let go, so we hold on to the one thing we think we have control over.
I welcome your thoughts on how to stop blaming yourself for the break up.