We are all seeking healthy, happy relationships. One large obstacle to this is blaming or deflecting blame for your actions and decisions onto others. This is where the phrase the “blame game” has come from. It feels like a game within the relationship, because when a person deflects blame off of themselves they are not accepting personal responsibility for their actions. Not accepting responsibility or blame in your relationship is one of the most frustrating and perplexing difficulties for struggling couples. Large amounts of resentment may breed and unless the feelings are worked through, they will never dissipate.
Deflecting blame is blaming our behavior on our partner or our partner’s behavior. For example:
- “I was drunk and you just kept pushing me to talk”
- “I forgot to call because you gave me so many things to do”
- “You bought the wrong bags, so now I can’t empty the garbage!”
- “I want to help you, but you always want to do everything yourself”
People who cannot accept personal responsibility for a situation or decision tends to be one who feels quite helpless and powerless in life. These are very uncomfortable feelings and projecting blame is a way to run from them. They may not be aware they projecting them because the feelings may be hidden within their unconsciousness. If you are able to accept blame or personal responsibility, then you will be much more effective within your relationship and in control of your life.
A way to take some control is for both persons to accept appropriate responsibility. Slow down when interacting and try not to react. Take your time to respond and both of you look at what your parts are in the subject at hand. In the beginning of interacting better, it would be best if you both can see how each of you has a part, so no one person feels blamed. The more positively you are able to do this, the easier it is to accept blame without feeling so much shame. Also, focus on your feelings when interacting (are you angry, resentful or frustrated regarding this issue?) and apologize if need be.