My friend was angry with him but also, and perhaps more, upset with herself. I couldn't see where she could find fault in herself. He had known so much about her and had been a trusted friend for so long that anyone might have made the same choices in her position.
I've noticed that women are more apt than men to take on more of their fair share of blame. It’s sometimes why we stay in emotionally, physically or financially abusive relationships far longer than we should. It’s sometimes why we accept less than we deserve at our jobs and in our families. It’s why women account for most of the self-help book purchases.
“When a woman has a problem, she immediately blames herself” said BJ Gallagher, an author and genders studies expert, in a Forbes’ article.
I do this all the time. There’s a continuous nagging voice lecturing me. “well if you’d only done this better“, or if you had just thought to do that“, or the old standby, “it’s all your fault”.
I’m so fed up with this constant self-flagellation, it’s exhausting and emotionally draining to be constantly turning blame back on myself.
I finally asked myself, what would I tell my daughters if one of them were in my shoes? I would never read to them the script that goes through my own head. If they were in the exact same position as I, I would never assign nearly the same amount of blame to them that I do to myself.
If we women could see ourselves as precious and as wonderful as some of the children we love the most (it doesn't have to be your own daughter) we could free up so much anguish and pain.
So, to my cyber friends, I promise I’ll try to give myself a break if you will too. The next time we start our self-blaming script let’s remember that we are as worthy as our daughters.
Cay Smith writes the blog MyMilitaryMom.com
She is one bad mama-jama Army wife who tells it like it is.
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