When a relationship ends the post-mortem can become ugly and messy. The ending of a marriage can be particularly difficult, because so many people want to take part. A marriage is more than just the two individuals involved. There are children, relatives, family friends, and the community at large who were witnesses to the union. It seems that everyone feels they have a stake in the success or failure of the relationship.
I used to work at a chemical manufacturing plant in the human resources department. While there, I became a certified Root Cause Analysis facilitator. In a manufacturing environment, it's particularly important after an incident to discover all the steps that led up to it, in order to ensure such an accident or chemical spill never happens again. Foolishly, during the past several months, I tried to apply the same process to the break-up with my husband.
The problem is that in a factory setting, the facilitator's job is to assure that there is no blame-finding during the root cause analysis. In a marriage, not only the couple but everyone else assumes there must be a guilty party.
It's natural during the period of denial and hurt to blame the spouse. And I did. He also held me responsible for all of our difficulties. We tried to speak each other's love language. We went through counseling, both as a couple and individually. We read all the books. We listened to everyone's advice. (And believe me, everyone DOES have advice.)
Once blaming the spouse is done, you start blaming yourself. The anger towards him became guilt turned upon myself. Neither of those feelings is productive or loving.
The truth is, we are both at fault and neither of us are. People are complicated, which means the union between them doesn't have easy answers either.
Looking back at our collapse, after so many wonderful years together, is a moot point now. Rather than craning my neck to see a distorted image in the rear view mirror, I'd rather look out the windshield to see the beautiful vista before me.
The blaming is done. The guilt is gone. It's time to embrace a new picture of reality.