Is your marriage caught in the blame game?

Do you feel that you are being unfairly blamed for the things that go wrong in your relationship or are you the partner who finds it difficult to take responsibility for your actions blaming your spouse for the things that go wrong? It is never easy to be on the receiving end of accusations. In many marriages, the partners blame one another for the things that go wrong, for their actions or lack thereof. This becomes a vicious circle from which they cannot escape.

If your marriage is in such a situation you have to work on fixing the problem. The first step to resolving the problem is understanding the underlying cause. So, why is your partner blaming you instead of accepting responsibility? Some people have learnt this behaviour through the actions of parents who refused to take responsibility. Others find it painful to accept that they can make mistakes and still others have self-esteem problems and find it very difficult to accept responsibility.

By understanding the foundation of your partner’s actions, you can empathise and start to find a path to improving your relationship, and halt the destructive behaviour.

Are one or both of us guilty of blaming the other?

To determine whether blame is present in your marriage, ask yourself the following questions;

  • My partner holds me responsible for his/her unhappiness.
  • He/she blames me for all or most of the problems in our marriage.
  • He/she refuses to take any responsibility for the problems which we experience.
  • We are both unhappy in our partnership.
  • My partner won’t talk to me about the problems that we are experiencing, and when I try to bring the subject up I get blamed.
  • My partner holds me responsible for his/her behaviour.
  • I am the partner who behaves in such a fashion.

If these behaviours are present in your marriage you need to take action to curb the problem before it is too late.

Understanding the basis of the problem

Preservation of self-esteem

People who are insecure may find it difficult to accept responsibility and seek to protect themselves by blaming their partner. The problem is that this sort of behaviour causes harm to the relationship. The blame game is not a personal attack but is rather about your partner’s protection of his/her own self-esteem. If you recognize this as a problem and can empathise with your partner you may be able to assist in restoring his/ her self-esteem.

When we refuse to take responsibility, we cannot get to the root of the problem. This means that the problems will not be resolved and will continue and, in all likelihood, will grow.

An example of such behaviour occurred in David and Carol’s marriage. Carol had two small children at home and she worked all day. At the end of the day, she was exhausted. David took to stopping at the pub on the way home from work. Carol got more and more resentful. When she asked David to curb the visits to the pub, he blamed her and said that since she wasn’t more accommodating in bed he was frustrated and needed to vent his frustrations by going out and enjoying himself. Carol, on the other hand, blamed him since she felt that with a little more assistance and support she might find him more attractive. Neither one of them would take responsibility and neither was willing to take corrective action. It doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to see where this marriage is likely to end up.

Pointing out a problem

While you may not realize it, accusation is better than just keeping quiet. At least your partner is acknowledging that there is a problem in your relationship. denial of a problem or refusal to express any frustrations can be even more damaging to a marriage than blame. The fact that your partner is complaining is a good indication that they do care about you and your relationship and would like it to improve. When your partner stops complaining you may have a much more serious problem, as they may just have conceded defeat.

It could just be a habit

Some people have grown up with parents who blamed one another, so they have not learned how to take responsibility and resolve problems at source. They may have been blaming others for their actions their entire lives. This is not a happy place to be in and we should feel empathy for such people.

Blame will destroy the relationship

Blame destroys relationships and hurts intimacy in the relationship. It is self-destructive and disempowering and will lead to increasing resentment in the marriage. Traditional marriage counselling often perpetuates the blame game and partners can feel as if their accusatory stance has been justified.

A good counsellor will work on growing the relationship rather than allowing the partners to continue with the blame game. He will help them to find the path to what had first attracted them to one another, to find one another and to love and respect each other again.

Saving your marriage from blame

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