“It’s not you, it’s me… wait, maybe it is you.”

“It’s not you, it’s me.” Oftentimes at the end of a relationship, we try to avoid conflict or spare the other person’s feelings by offering this platitude. We might actually believe it at the time ourselves, but here is the harsh reality, sometimes it is you. If you find yourself experiencing the same types of interactions over and over again, you are definitely contributing to these dynamics.

Let me give you an example. I had a friend (who shall remain nameless) who really wanted to be in a relationship. She was frustrated that all of us were married except her despite the fact she was pretty, fun, smart and an overall amazing person. The downside? She was attracted to total douche bags (pardon my French). The more of a commitment-phobe he was – the more she was into him. If he was likely to lie and cheat, it was love. The strange thing was, each time, the guy would tell her at the end of the relationship it wasn’t her fault. He would take the blame for being unable to commit or for lying or for cheating. She kept being told it wasn’t her fault. BUT IT WAS! Not that they cheated and lied, but because she kept picking the exact same guy, just in a different body. Do you see why it was her fault?

Here is another way to look at it. I know this woman who struggles in her interactions with others. She is quick to be offended, has strong opinions and does not allow much room for the different opinions of others. She repeatedly experienced friendships ending, but was always told it was not her fault – they were too busy or too far away or a bad friend. “It’s not you, it’s me.” But in this case, it was (at least partially) her fault. She drove people away with her stridence, with her judgment and with her intolerance. These “friends” were not doing her any favors by taking all of the responsibility, rather they allowed her to continue with the same behaviors that had driven them out of her life, not knowing she was likely to keep doing so to others.

So… the moral of this story is this – you are not doing anyone any favors by taking all of the blame when there is plenty to go around. The conversation might be uncomfortable, but people are unable to change without being aware that there needs to be a change at all. If you keep hearing, “It’s not you, it’s me” in your own life, take a moment and look for patterns. Are you having similar experiences over and over again? If so, maybe it is (just a little bit) you.

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