One of the most painful issues that I see, among divorcing couples, is the tendency to self-blame, to a fault. Meaning – that 1 person says something that might be innocent – or might even be a fact – and the other person hears it as SEARING criticism.
For example – “I am a teacher, so I can be with our child at 3pm. On your nights he is not with you until 6pm.”
This is a factual statement. The 6pm parent practically burst into tears, hearing it as an accusation of not being a dedicated, caring parent.
I guess we are all hypersensitive when it comes to comments of our spouses – and even more so, when the relationship has deteriorated to the point of breaking up.
I always feel – speechless – at these moments. My goal, during mediation, is to bring that dynamic to their attention.
“Wow, so it sounded to me as if you felt like M—was saying that you are a less-involved parent.”
“yes, he/she was saying that,” will reply the upset parent.
“M—were you trying to say that?”
Usually M—will respond with – ‘absolutely not, I know that you are a completely committed and involved parent, in fact a great parent to our child.’
How painful to be in a relationship where you are so often wounded by the other – whether or not the other has not been intending to wound you. Probably leading to the breakdown of the relationship.
We are all happiest in relationships where we like ourselves, we like the person we feel that we are, when with the other person – and who wants to be a person who constantly hurts our lover?