Subtle and subversive blame

I was chatting with one of my FB friends. We will call her Ainsley. She is going through a similar thing with her husband. Her hubby cheated a while back and treated her like shit. Now, she wants out and her husband is being super nice and saying he’s changed.

She messaged me this morning and what she hit on was so profound that I had to write about it.

Direct Blame

Any of you who’ve been through having an unfaithful spouse knows the direct blame game that they play. They make a lot of “you” statements and I wrote about blame here and here.  In a nutshell, the person who was faithful will often come out blaming themselves for the marital difficulties and even the affairs. Often, the faithful spouse will think, “I could have met their needs better. I could have been a better husband or wife. I could have done better.” That is all complete bullshit. And I wrote about not blaming yourself here.

“You” Statements are a form of direct blame.

  • You weren’t meeting my needs
  • You were distant
  • You never paid me attention

There are hundreds more. But they all mean the same thing. “You’re responsible for my actions.”  And that shit don’t play.  It’s too bad that we will take on that responsibility on ourselves. I did with Allie’s first affair.

Here’s where Ainsley’s messages to me today were so profound. I had a light bulb go off in my head reading through what she was saying.

Indirect – Subtle Blame

Ainsley said this to me today.

This is the bargaining tool my husband keeps using too. He has “changed”….they chose to do things that cannot be taken back knowing exactly what the consequences are of that action. So as much as my husband is trying to guilt me by saying he has changed and she [Allie]  is trying to do the same. It is not our fault.

For the past several months, Allie has been seemingly remorseful and repentant. She keeps telling me how much she has changed and how her eyes are open to what she did.

Here’s the subtle blame though and the profound part of Ainsley’s message. Basically because the cheater has “changed” they throw a lot of guilt your way because you haven’t accepted that change. You can’t see the “work” they’ve put in to be a better person. Here are some direct quotes from Allie to me via text. See if you can spot the subtle blame in each of these messages:

  • Meanwhile I’m loving you and praying for you
  • I am faithful and honest
  • I’m sorry for the things you’ve said to me (personal favorite)
  • Don’t you understand how sad I am over you and me?
  • I would do anything to take it back
  • I’m asking for you to be a safe place
  • I’m trying to be a strong person
  • I gave you my body as much as you wanted
  • I want to strive for wholeness with you
  • I was trying so hard to love you
  • How can you be so cruel. You bring up those things in relationships I have renounced and asked forgiveness for?
  • I have done everything I can to show you how sad I am over this
  • I have poured myself into this marriage
  • Everything I say gets used against me
  • I chose to trust you with heart broken feelings I have
  • All I have done is work on fixing me

Keep in mind, I think that Allie believes the things she is saying. But the underlying tone to each of these is quite intentional. They are blaming me for not accepting her back. Heck, she’s apologized. So, what more does she need to do?

She’s loved me and been strong and prayed for me. She’s poured herself out to me and renounced the multiple external relationships with other men. How in the world is it that I can’t accept that and just get over it?

That’s the blame. That the subversive, ugly part of this. Let me break it down to very simple terms:

She cheats and blames me. Then she says she’s sorry and blames me for not being willing to move on like it never happened.

Thank you Ainsley. Your messages over the past couple days are completely eye opening.

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