In the classic ethical work, Orchos Tzadikim (ch.21), we find stated, "If two people quarreled and afterward made peace, neither should later say to the other, ‘The reason I behaved as I did is because you did this and that to me.' Even if the person saying this does not intend to resume the quarrel, such a remark is apt to rekindle the dispute, since the other person will probably retort, ‘No, it was really your fault.'"
It's often true that after a dispute both people blame the other not only for what the other person said, but even for what they themselves have said.
"I'm not usually the type of person who speaks or acts this way. And since I did speak and act this negatively when interacting with you, it's your fault that I did so. I wouldn't have spoken this way or acted this way if it hadn't been for you."
The need to justify ourselves is strong. Even if no one else is present, we want the other person to know that he is at fault and we weren't. But we need to overcome this pattern in order to prevent the continuation of a quarrel that has already subsided.
(from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's book: Harmony with Others, p.88, www.artscroll.com)
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