I really don’t like the blame game, which I think intends to absolve oneself and pin responsibility on the other, like treading water by pushing it away from one’s own body. My first wife was a blamer. My second wife is not, and I watch trying not to as well.
And yet I am not sure I like the philosophy of it’s-all-your-own-fault, because you are in control of your life, through your own decisions. People start their lives, and live them with various adversities thrust onto them by their circumstances. It’s hardly fair, though I’m not sure fairness exists, to blame people for not overcoming things you can’t overcome. Like those pictures of Nazi soldiers shooting kneeling Jews in the back – should we blame the victim for submitting at the end? In the end, Jung argued the opposite of justice (fairness?) was mercy. I think mercy is a lot more important than justice. You can never achieve the latter, but you can freely give the former, as did the father to his prodigal son. You can give it to yourself, maybe, as well as another. Or maybe God can give it to you, if you let Him.
I kind of like the twin ideas of “God’s will” and the Protestant “God helps those who help themselves.” For me, it’s the idea that I am responsible to try, even if I can’t be expected to succeed. I am on this earth to hope to try to become a better person than I am. There will be some purpose for this, at some point, both before and after the marker we call death.
All that said, there’s only so much suffering any individual person can stand. I may try not to blame, but that doesn’t mean I forgive. I may try to forgive, and may succeed (though sincere forgiveness is hard to get, or to really know if you did given the threats of repression and projection). I may forgive, but that doesn’t mean I want to be with that person. That’s a whole different question, hard to answer.
When my first wife and I were finally divorced, I found myself forgetting the former instances of my grievances against her. I remembered the positives a lot easier. At one point, we had lunch and, her grievances still fresh for her, she started to accuse me of being the sole author of our divorce. I asked if she wanted me to recall my side of this now futile dispute. I said I wanted to remember the good in our 15 year marriage.
It took me a lot longer to own up to my own guilts, than to acknowledge hers. Later, years later, I phoned her and accepted my share, though not all, by any means. There is one thing I have never been willing to admit to her, though I have been all through it with God, and I hope that’s OK with Him.
Now we have little to do with each other, she in Ottawa and me in Vancouver.
Maybe that’s a mistake?
Maybe we should have had a unified strategy in regard to our now 30 year old daughter?
But then again, we never did.