How many times have I seen a group of individuals rally to the side of a “victim,” as he/she bemoans the cruel breakup of a love affair? More times than I care to count.

This is a classic scene, one replayed endlessly. The script is the same each time, as the wounded man or woman berates and attacks their errant partner, while professing their sad state of affairs. Through extension, they work their way into the general ideology that “women/men are no good,” stirring the pot with bitterness and anger.

Yet, on second look, there may be one present in that group of witnesses, who will voice another perspective—

“You were done there, and you knew it. You told me you were bored and wanted out, so you created the scenario. You are no victim. This was your choice.”

As I spoke those words, there was a sudden hush. It was an unanticipated transition. Not knowing the response, I sat in uneasy silence after offering this point of view. It was an otherwise typical Sex in the City scenario, but now hung upon an observation from a very different perspective.

As I waited upon the heavy moment with three other friends that evening, I wondered if my words would be interpreted as “for, or against” the wailing woman in question. Silence. Then, the slow building of knowing laughter.

I was trying to reveal what I assumed everyone there, knew already.

My friend had been complaining for months that she was bored and losing interest. Yet, when her lover made the first move to counter her icy withdrawal, she felt like the victim. All he did, was act on what was obvious to them both.

We set ourselves up. It’s easy to slip into the victim role if we look through a tiny lens. We forget that we too, were there. We, too, had a part in all that occurred. Even when we feel we were completely blameless, and a cruel event took place far beyond our wildest imagination… we made the decision to “choose” that partner.

Bad things do occur, and partners can unexpectedly change course and betray the agreements we hold sacred. It does happen. But, more times than not, we see there is a larger picture at hand. One perhaps we’d like to ignore, but when seeing it— will allow for our liberation from unnecessary pain.

The pain of a relationship ending is enough to manage, let alone convincing ourselves we are the victim in all of this.