Engagement Coach: Don't blame your partner - KMSP-TV

Engagement Coach: Don't blame your partner

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Do you find yourself always blaming your partner when something goes wrong?  Do you blame him/her when your keys get lost, you gain weight, the house is a disaster, etc.?  Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of The Engagement Coach, shares important information on why we blame our partners and tips for reversing your blaming tendencies.

Why We Blame Our Partner

  • It's easier to blame your partner than it is to look at your own behavior, and how it may be inappropriate, wrong, unproductive or negative.  If there's someone else to hold accountable, you can let yourself off the hook.  Then YOU don't have to really be responsible for what goes on in your relationship and YOU don't have to change anything. 
  • Blaming is a common defense mechanism because it absolves the blamer of having to face difficult issues such as fear, guilt, failure or embarrassment.  Example:  You're trying to lose weight but it's not going well.  Rather than looking at yourself and taking accountability for your shortcomings and self-failure, it's easier to blame your partner for not having the right food in the house, not encouraging you to exercise, bringing home fast food, etc.
  • Blaming your partner can feel like a solution to the problem. 

How Blaming Your Partner Hurts Your Relationship

  • If you've been blaming your partner for a long time, your brain will learn to see your partner in only those negative terms.  What you're doing is cheating both of you out of love, acceptance and a healthy, honest relationship.
  • The partner who is constantly being blamed will likely feel confused, angry and maybe even depressed, like they can't do anything right.  This will undoubtedly cause resentment over the years and counseling will likely be necessary to stop the blaming cycle.
  • The blamer keeps themselves at a distant, without really having to be vulnerable or present in the relationship.  It's hard to have an authentic relationship when you're not taking accountability for your role and dysfunction.  Putting all of relationship's mistakes in your partner's lap is incredibly unfair and just not legitimate.

What You Can Do To Stop The Blaming Cycle

  • Be aware of the negative conclusions/labels/names, etc. you've attached to your partner.  Try letting go of that negativity and replacing it with something positive.  Even if you don't believe it 100%, it's important to try.  By hanging on to those negative conclusions, you're keeping yourself in blaming territory, which keeps you from being a better partner.  Try this as an experiment for just one day.  (i.e. If you're used to thinking your partner is lazy and unproductive throughout the day, try refocusing on what your partner actually does during the day that helps your life be easier.)
  • Find one thing you truly love or appreciate about your partner and focus on it.  The more you can see your partner in a positive light, the more likely you'll be to exhibit loving behavior toward him/her.  Remember that your Thoughts determine your Feelings which determine your Behavior.  Change needs to start with your Thoughts!
  • Ask yourself. . . "How am I contributing to this problem?"  "What have I done to make this problem worse, instead of better?"  Make a list of 3-5 things you're doing in that moment that are contributing to the problem and then pick one to try to work on moving forward.  It's important to remember that you can't ever control someone else's behavior, but you can control your own thoughts, feelings and behavior.


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