Some couples who have an unhealthy marriage or an invisible divorce blame each other for their marital problems. Yet other couples avoid the problems entirely, choosing to believe there is nothing wrong despite the signs that their marriage is showing unhealthy patterns. A third type of couple, has one spouse blaming all of their marital problems on the other spouse.
When one spouse feels blamed for everything, it can be a very frustrating, isolating and disheartening experience. It can also be very painful and hurtful to know that your partner is blaming you entirely without taking some responsibility. Below are the most common reasons for why one partner in a relationship blames all of the problems on their spouse:
Low self-esteem: People with low self-esteem have a very difficult time accepting their faults and flaws. Whenever they are asked to identify their responsibility in a problematic situation, whether it be in a marriage or at work, people with low self-esteem are more likely to turn the blame on others to protect themselves. (Read more about low self-esteem.)
Resentful: Resentment may have built up in the relationship over time due to unhealthy relationship patterns or wounds from hurtful arguments that have not healed. People can also be generally resentful of the world based on life experiences and the false belief that they are owed something for difficulties they have gone through. The presence of resentment in a relationship can be permanently damaging and people who experience resentment on a regular basis are likely to blame others for their problems. (Read more about resentment.)
Feels guilty or shameful about something: Guilt is when a person feels bad about something that they have done wrong. Shame is when a person feels like they are a bad person. When a person feels either of these things, especially in conjunction with having low self-esteem, admitting faults feels too painful. In order to avoid that pain, the person is more likely to blame their partner for their marital issues. (Read more about guilt and shame.)
Low self-awareness: In order to recognize your role in a problematic relationship, it involves self-reflection. Some people were never taught how to do this or for numerous reasons such as the ones listed above, do not wish to increase self-awareness. This results in false beliefs about the self when the actions are markedly different. For example, a person may think that they are very friendly but do not realize that in large groups their body language and demeanor is unapproachable. This can make it difficult in a marriage where the spouse experiences the person entirely differently than the person believes they come across. (Read more about self-awareness.)
Poor role models for marriage: We learn how to behave in our marriages by watching our parents. We learn the the rules of what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior by what we grow up with. Thus, if the person grew up in a family where one spouse was blamed for all marital problems, they may believe that this is normal and healthy problem solving behavior in a relationship. (Read more about what we learn from our families of origin.)
Relationships of any kind, intimate, friendships or professional partnerships, rarely have problems solely because of one person. Since relationships comprise of two individuals, both people play some role in causing and perpetuating the problems that are plaguing their relationship. If you find yourself in a situation where you are blamed for all of the relationship’s problems, couples counseling is advised to help both partners accept responsibility for the marital issues and learn how to have a healthier marriage.
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