Blaming someone for a wrong isn't a new phenonmen, in fact it's become an accepted part of our culture - thanks in large part to the media. Often one piece of a very complicated puzzle is singled out - one person solely to blame for a particular result. The tape gets replayed over and over again for years to come - Remember "this" person caused "this" to happen. Eventually the mistake overshadows every other decision in their life.
It's easy to see why - it makes a complicated situation easy to understand - it's not hard to get people to rally behind blaming just one person. When we place the blame squarely on someone else's shoulder it explains the unexplainable - the failure - the loss - relieving us of our own culpability. We mistakenly hold on to the belief that if that ONE thing had been different the whole outcome would have been different. It's a fallacy because failure never comes from just one thing.
Last week I was watching the ESPN special "Catching Hell." The host examines some of the most infamous baseball games in our history - a team expected to win a crucial game, but loses it instead. Even though a number of errors were made from various players throughout the game the entire blame for the loss gets attributed to one player only. As I'm watching, three different experiences come together - All three involve Blame and Step Moms.
My Ex Husband leaving a voicemail implying blame for his current relationship with Elle rests with the Step Mom - his soon to be ex wife - Malus. Granted Malus is far from a dream Step Mom, but she isn't solely to blame for what happened to Elle's other family.
I stumble upon Jessica Gottlieb's blog postings on "Shiny New Step Moms." Jessica considers herself an expert on Step Moms's because of her family tree - she has a Step Mom of her very own - several of her divorced friends deal with Step Moms to their kids. It's clear she doesn't care for Step Moms and that Mom's are, well..........perfect. Jessica feeds the very stereotypes we as Step Mom's desperately try to change with blog titles such as "Even Walt Disney Knows There's No Such Thing As A Good Step Mom."
Last but not least a Huffington Post article dissecting LeAnn Rimes blog post about her blended family. She's a child from a blended family and is a now a Step Mom of one. The author of the article and the majority of the comments are eager to place blame for a failed marriage squarely on LeAnn's shoulders.
I'm not condoning what happened between LeAnn and Eddie, but truthfully I never knew who Eddie and his first wife were until LeAnn came into the picture. I don't have any idea who Eddie and his then wife Brandi were as a couple or how they functioned as a family. How do the author and the people commenting know?
Just like the baseball player singled out as the person solely to blame for a heartbreaking game loss when others contributed to the outcome so does the Step Mom in many scenarios. Only the outcome is much more important and significant than a baseball game.
When we tacitly agree with a Step Mom taking the entire blame for a mistake, a choice or decision we open the door for people like Jessica Gottlieb to paint all Step Moms with the Evil Step Mother brush.
I don't have to agree with a fellow Step Mom's choices when I say there's plenty of blame to go around not just in situations I know nothing about, but one a little closer to home, my own daughter's loss of a family. I can't defend Malus' choices and decisions, but I can say that we all share in the blame for the current situation. I include myself in that statement because I made a series in missteps along the way in protecting my daughter.
I've personally chosen not to stay in the blame mode for long because at the end of the day blaming someone doesn't change the outcome it just prolongs the pain. Replaying the tape over and over again of situation gone wrong stops us from learning - growing - moving on from a mistake. When we choose to destroy the tape - we move on - hopefully a little stronger and wiser.