How to effectively respond to blame and enhance your marriage.
Blame in any relationship is challenging to deal with, even more so in marriage. Your natural instinct may be to blame back. All this does is create more tension. Husbands and wife’s that blame each other for their unhappiness, actions, and inactions find that they get stuck in a spiral of resentment, where they start building a case against each other. I don’t want this for you. If your being blamed for everything in your relationship or you are both trapped blaming one another – this article will hopefully help you put an end to this.
The first thing when looking to rid your relationship from blame is recognizing what purpose blame may serve to an individual. Some people revert to blaming others because it protects their self-esteem by diverting attention away from themselves. Others revert to blame because they have learned early on in life that it is painful to be wrong or in the wrong. Some people blame because it is easier than facing the truth. Then there are some of us who were raised by parents who never took responsibility for their actions.
When you are able to take a look at what blame is doing for your spouse and have compassion you will be on the path towards a blame-free marriage. I will share a few stories (names changed ) and what has worked with couples who joined my empowered love online program.
First, let’s explore whether the blame is happening in your marriage
Signs of blame in marriage – what statements are true for you?
My partner often blames me for our marriage problems.
My partner often blames me for his/her unhappiness.
We are both fed up with certain aspects of our marriage
My partner refuses to acknowledge their contribution to the problems
My partner blames me for their behavior
Whenever I try to discuss our relationship my partner I end up being blamed
My partner refuses to talk about certain issues
I refuse to acknowledge my contribution to the problems
I shut down when I am blamed or retaliate
The more of these signs of blame that exist in your relationship the bigger blame is impacting your marriage happiness.
A common question I often get asked is “Nicola what can I do / should I do when my husband/ wife blames me for the marriage problems.
Here are some reasons why your husband or wife may blame you
Why Your Spouse Blames You
1. Protect Self-Esteem
When we blame something or someone else for our behavior we take away the responsibility and focus away from us.
Claire and Roberto were fighting over Claire’s sex drive. She was not in the mood for sex after the birth of their second child. She becomes less and less interested and more and more frustrated with her husband’s advances. She was tired of doing everything single-handedly in the home, whilst Roberto worked and went out more and more, she felt more and more resentful and isolated. He blamed her for the marriage problems stating that her with-holding sex made him stressed and needing to go out and let off steam. He felt it was her problem to fix her low libido.
Claire blamed Roberto, that if he was a more helpful, cheerful and supportive husband, she would find him more attractive and want to be intimate with him. They were stuck in this vicious cycle of blame and neither felt loved or heard. Both were refusing to look at their own behavior as it was far easier to blame than look within and be willing to make changes. Both secretly felt “I don’t want to have to change, they are the one that needs to change.”
When we blame others for what we say, think and do; we give away our power. It also damages the relationship because we stop acknowledging and addressing the real problems.
Ignored issues only get bigger.
The often unconscious thought process for those who blame their spouse is “if I blame myself I will feel inadequate. If I blame my spouse I may get what I want.” It never works but thinking this way may make them continue to find reassurance in blaming.
Mike was having a stressful time in the office and instead of blaming work, he was blaming his wife for his stress because she didn’t make the home as tidy and as quiet as he liked.
For such men and women, their spouse is playing the role of the scapegoat. It protects the self-esteem but it harms the marriage.
The more a person is insecure the more they will resort to blaming. This is where compassion can come in recognizing that blaming is often not personal, just a way of coping with insecurities.
2. Blaming is Habitual
Sometimes people blame because that is what they have learned to do throughout their life, where blaming has become a habit. Often a person will pick this up from a parent or influential figure growing up. People that do this may not know how to deal with conflict or relationship problems in a healthy way. I have someone like this in my close family, it still amazes me how they are never at fault. To the point where even if they did something, they will blame it on someone else for not telling them to or not to. They will even blame the TV or radio show for their actions! It took me some time to realize that these people can’t tolerate responsibility for their actions. I used to get angry but now I really feel for them, they don’t have another way to deal with problems or the courage to look within or accept they may have made a mistake.