Sometimes Boyfriend drives me nuts. He can be incredibly self-centered and exercises little consideration for others.
I could condemn his parents for paying too much attention to him as a child. I could blame the stars for aligning the way they did when he was born. I could fault the bully who gave him the concussion which may have altered his personality. I could complain until the cows come home.
But that wouldn’t change anything. And I love him anyway. In loving him, I remind myself on a regular basis that Boyfriend isn’t out to get me. He isn’t purposely trying to hurt me. His intentions aren’t malicious. He’s just wired differently than me. And that’s OK. It’s something I have to accept.
I’ve encountered the term “accept” (or some form of it) quite frequently when studying Buddhism. The Buddhists say that when you replace “resistance” with “acceptance”, you’re somewhat closer to enlightenment. (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it)
“Acceptance” comes easily when the conditions we face are aligned with our desires. Example: “It’s raining outside, and that’s OK because I’m planning to watch movies in my PJs all day.”
“Acceptance” is much more difficult when the conditions conflict with our desires. Example: “It’s raining outside, and that sucks because I was planning a picnic in the park. Dammit!!!”
Same rain; different attitudes toward it. Actually, this relates back to that quote “Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Shakespeare)
But back to the A-word and how it relates to the D-word… When divorcing, couples tend to rage against each other’s perceived faults. Precious energy is spent on screaming matches, furiously-typed emails and scathing text messages:
“You’re such a workaholic!”
“You talk too much!”
“You dress like bum!”
“You’re a perfectionist!”
Blame is assigned, defenses are employed, feelings get hurt, children get confused… and what does it accomplish?
A better strategy* for separating couples is to take a good look at their previous partner/co-parent (and oneself) and accept the way he/she is. Accept that we can’t change other people, we can only be responsible for our own actions. Then move forward with a game plan for navigating the territory: If he is forgetful, send him a reminder when the kids have special events. If she craves a lot of details, keep a journal about what/when the children ate/played/etc and pass it on at Transition Time. Most importantly, don’t use these quirks as “evidence” as to why one parent is superior to the other. We all have areas where we fall short of perfection. It’s a fact we need to accept. Then move forward.
*Please note: This suggested strategy is a general guideline and may not be in the best interest of individuals dealing with personality disorders or abusive situations.