We’re up to commandment 5 in the Coping With and Moving On After a Break Up Series and today I’m focusing on accountability.
I used to chalk up all of my dodgy dating experiences to ‘bad luck’ and even laughed them off, but as time passed it occurred to me that I cannot lay all of the blame for my relationship failures at their doors. They were and probably are still assclowns but I was the only recurring character in each relationship.
Accountability in relationships is key and if you ever want to move on in a healthy way after a break up and grow from the experience, you must remember: Thou shalt be accountable.
Now there is a difference between ‘accountability’ and ‘blame’:
Accountability is about looking at the situation with clearer, more distanced eyes and being able to evaluate what has happened, and why, and being objective enough to recognise what your part in the relationship was.
It takes two people to tango. It takes two people for the relationship to work and if we hang around in a relationship where there are very clear red flags and issues, something about it has been working for you, which means that there is something that you are contributing into the situation.
Blame is about looking at the situation and either placing yourself as the eye of the storm and deciding that everything is your fault, or blaming the other person and refusing to recognise your part in things.
Accountability is positive. Blame…is very negative.
One of the biggest issues that Baggage Reclaim readers have is being totally unable to recognise the difference between accountability and blame.
Because of the types of relationship we engage in, it seems very easy to take the blame for things that we shouldn’t and not be accountable for the things that we should.
So for instance, when the break up happens, time and time again, a reader will believe that the reason why the break up happened is because they told him his behaviour was unacceptable or they weren’t jumping when he said jump.
Being accountable is about looking at the bigger picture.
When you are blaming yourself for the break up, it is likely to focus on something that may be the straw that broke the donkeys back, but it’s not actually the bale.
A relationship is the sum of two people. The break-up can be kickstarted by one. Very occasionally break up’s are ‘out of the blue’ and this is where it appears that there were absolutely zero warning signs and then bam!, he finishes it. Aside from being a deceitful, cowardly f*ckwit, it’s very likely with these ‘out of the blue’ break ups that there were little signs of what was to come, but they went unnoticed.
But for the atypical break up, there are signs and there are reasons and it comes down to whether you want to acknowledge them and be accountable.
Again, choosing not to acknowledge the true reasons for the end of your relationship is an avoidance tactic, a defence mechanism, and a sure sign that you’d rather bury your head in the la la land of your imaginings rather than confront the reality.
Accountability is about acknowledgement of what really happened and why.
Acknowledgement means that you’re out of the denial stage, you’re in the real world, and you can now start to heal from the break up and learn from it.
If you won’t acknowledge why you broke up, how are you going to move on? How are you ever going to heal? How are you going to be able to prevent yourself from ending up with Just Another Guy Like All The One’s Before if you won’t face the truth?
Instead of focusing on the little, inconsequential things such as a phonecall that you didn’t answer and blaming yourself, you need to look at the bigger picture and ask yourself:
What are the real reasons why we broke up?
I make a point of saying ‘real reasons’ because much like when people argue and say that it’s about one particular thing, this tends to be the surface reason,
So for example, the you that is in the blaming mode might be saying “We broke up because I was angry with him for letting me down and not turning up. Maybe if I hadn’t been so upset, we’d still be together. “
The trouble with blaming yourself for why your relationship broke up is that you can often end up missing the point.
When you move into accountability mode, the same woman might say:
“We did break up when I told him how upset I was about him failing to turn up and letting me down, but it was in the end, a culmination of repeated poor behaviour in the relationship. I am now realising that if I am willing to be with a man who doesn’t seem like he’s really finished with his wife, is inconsistent, disappears for periods of time, tells me not to be needy, and continuously devalues me with his behaviour, I am contributing to this by setting the status quo and accepting this behaviour. If I am willing to accept this behaviour, I need to look at those reasons and the first thing I recognise is that I end up in relationships like this because I don’t believe I’m good enough.”
That ladies, is acknowledgement and accountability.
Every time you go into blame mode you need to take that reason (you could even write it down) and rationally turn it on it’s head.
Isolate the incident that you are blaming yourself for. Did you have a part to play in that?
Put the incident in the context of the bigger picture. Can you acknowledge what the bigger picture of the issues in the relationship were?
Be accountable for what that means about you and your behaviour. What does the bigger picture mean to your contribution and choices?
The great thing is that in being accountable which makes you acknowledge the issues, you can do something with this knowledge and grow from the experience. This is a positive use for the energy spent thinking about these guys because at the end of the day, sitting there blaming yourself and imagining different relationship scenarios achieves nothing.
If you know why you’re here, you can shape where you’ll go.
Check out Commandment 1: Thou shalt cut off this ‘Let’s be friends’ mallarky
Check out Commandment 2: Thou shalt not obsess
Check out Commandment 3: Thou shalt stop fearing the pain of breaking up and confront it.
Check out Commandment 4: Thou shalt stop doubting yourself and get angry.
Check out Commandment 5: Thou shalt be accountable
Check out Commandment 6: Thou shalt understand WHY and do something with the knowledge
Check out Commandment 7: Thou shalt forgive…but not forget…but don’t cling.
Check out Commandment 8: Thou need to get a life!
Check out Commandment 9: Thou mustn’t give up on love.
Check out Commandment 10: Thou must close the door and move forward