When You Realize You are More to Blame for That Breakup Than You Thought

You were too busy playing victim during the break up to see this. You were enjoying the attention everyone was giving you as you told your version of the story. You were pointing the finger so much that you forgot the four that were pointing back at you.

Now… looking back, you realize it wasn’t all their fault. In fact, you are more to blame than you thought. You contributed to the breakup more than you thought.

What do you do? How do you think through this? Well, here are a few things that are sure to help you on your journey of growth

1)Be honest and specific about HOW:

In other words, as you begin to realize the role you played in the breakup, don’t just say “Yea my attitude was bad”. You need to be more specific than that. It should sound more like “I was impatient, and disrespectful in my tone. I also was emotionally selfish and spent to much time being upset about how my emotional needs were not met, and not spending enough time being intentional about meeting the other person’s emotional needs”

2)Be honest and specific about WHY:

Don’t just say for example ” I was that way because I was immature and young”. That does absolutely nothing for you. You need to ask deeper questions like:

“What were the belief systems I had going into and during that relationship, that worked against the relationship?”

“What were the life experiences that led to those beliefs?

3) Don’t allow your self-assessment to destroy your self-esteem:

Be honest with yourself but protect yourself. You are not trying to crucify yourself …you are simply trying to learn. The resulting emotion should not be “I am a terrible person and will probably fail again in my next relationship…if I ever get a good one”

It should be more like:

“I was not my best self and I now know how and why. I need to work on those things NOW. I now realize that I am always part responsible for the outcomes of my relationship. Remembering this, and working on myself will actually prove highly useful in my next relationship”



a)This is not for situations where someone abused you physically or even emotionally and you are taking the blame.
b) This is not necessarily an attempt to get back with someone because:
b.1) Just simply RECOGNIZING that you dropped the ball, does not HEAL you of the REASONS you dropped the ball. So they could happen again
b.2) If you contact your Ex lamenting about all your faults in an attempt to get back together (without your Ex also acknowledging the role THEY played in the breakup), you will put yourself in a position where if you get back together, you will be vulnerable to emotional bullying, them having emotional superiority complex and reminding you how things are your fault.

c) This is more for you than for them. It is not for making them like you again or anything like that. It is to help you in your healing and self-development process.

d) This is not a step everybody should take. This is not for the breakup that happened because you just didn’t see eye to eye or “it just didn’t work out”. This is for if you realize that you caused specific deep pain for someone by how you treated them or acted during the relationship

What I mean in this context is that if you know that you caused someone pain, it’s the right thing to do to say “I am sorry”. Now…don’t just pick up the phone and tell this person you are sorry for EVERYTHING….as though you are shouldering ALL the responsibility for the breakup. No. This is for situations where you realize deep down inside not only that For this, you need to employ #1 from above: (Be honest and specific about HOW)

That sounds like “I was not my best self. I was **** and ****. I also could have been more ****.

-Also, when apologizing, give context. Tell that person why they are even getting this call/email/text from you so there is no ambiguity in how they interpret the message.

Let me take this further and give you a skeleton to build upon. This is a sample of what that sounds like –

“First of all, I wanted to let you know right away that you don’t really have to do anything with this message and I fully respect that we have both moved on. I am writing/calling/texting mainly because through some important self-reflection/thought/evaluation (whatever), I have realized that I was not my best when we were together and I am just taking the time to acknowledge the areas of my life I should improve on. Specifically, in our relationship, I am sorry for cheating/ embarrassing you/emotionally bullying you/ being disrespectful /(or whatever). Again, there is no obligation whatsoever with this message. I just needed to do this as part of my development as a person and to ensure that I own my inadequacies and work on them. Thanks”

Use wisdom.
If you are going to do this, re-read the beginning of this point.

5) Celebrate the wins:

I was having a coaching call with one of my clients some time ago and he talked about trying to step on to a train in New York and someone bumped him. He said he turned to the person and said: “Are you ok?” He said the person had a look of shock on their face because they were probably expecting a different retaliatory response. He went on to say that in his earlier life, it most certainly would have been that. He would have swung around and bumped right back. So I stopped him right there to congratulate him and help him enjoy that change. You must do this for yourself. When you start to work on these issues and start to see improvements, celebrate the wins. They help to seal the change in.

6) Ask for Gods grace:

(What in the world is this doing on this list? lol) But it’s true. You know why? because:

No matter how motivated we are to change, the truth is that the motivation to change is not enough because the causes of our behaviors are often too deep and too unconscious.

Just deciding to be less selfish or more respectful….or less insecure often doesn’t just translate into modified behavior immediately. So as you try, ask for grace. Ask for Gods help. Remember that even Paul in the Bible acknowledged the internal conflict he faced between what he wanted to do and what he constantly found himself doing. This is what he said in Romans 7:15-20 (Message Bible Version) …and you might be able to relate:

“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.”

You need Gods grace. We all do.

Hope this helps.
Your brother,


  • Sherie

    Hmmm… This is helpful. No 3 is oh, so important, the disclaimer & ‘use wisdom’ comment on No 4, cannot be over emphasized but does this (No 4) still apply to one, who already already realized that they dropped the ball and apologized, trying to save the relationship but things still went under?

    • Hi Sherie! Great question. If you already went through this process during the relationship and the relationship (you were specific about HOW and WHY and you apologized and tried to change etc) and the relationship still ended, then LET.IT.GO. I know that may not have been what you wanted to hear but it is important that you are in a relationship where it does not feel as though the person was merely doing you a favor by staying with you.
      You also have to remember that even if you come to that point of deep self-evaluation, it may take time for that person’s pain to heal. So simply because you decided to change, doesn’t instantly mean that person will be healed from all that. They too will need the grace of God of that relationship is meant to be.
      That said, you also have to be open to the fact that your development may be for someone else to recognize and appreciate. If you have truly learned and grown from all this, good for you. you are better all around for it.

      • Sherie

        Thank you sir. 🙂