Many of us bring our old childhood habits into our relationships. They appear whenever our feelings get hurt and if we haven’t worked though these old patterns, we will use them on our partners. Like blaming them when we get hurt.
We Learn Blame From Our Parents
I grew up getting mad at the people who hurt me. I know this is not a good way to let people know they hurt you, but I was not trained to do any better. My single mother was overwhelmed trying to manage three rambunctious children and she often just got frustrated and yelled at us.
This is what I saw, so this is what I learned. When things didn’t go my way, I yelled. Of course, when I grew up, I didn’t yell that much, but when I really got my feelings hurt, I did. It took a while to figure out that I was bringing a lot of the chaos into my life by just getting angry.
But that’s another story. I used to think that people who hurt my feelings deserved to be blamed for what they did. I know this doesn’t make much sense, but I didn’t think about whether it worked or not. This was just the pattern I used growing up and it was all I knew.
Carrying Our Parents’ Blaming Habits Forward Hurts Our Relationships
So, if you are like me and you grew up with angry caretakers, well it’s likely that you too will blame whoever hurts you. I get this. When there isn’t someone to help us understand our hurt feelings as little people, we resort to telling someone about our pain, and if we have to yell, well that tells them for sure.
But when we are an adult and in a loving relationship and we blame the person we love, well that is a different experience. First off, your loved one probably does not do anything to hurt you on purpose. I know my husband never does something to deliberately hurt me.
But sometimes his tone or what he says actually do hurt. I have modified my yelling reaction, but I still feel the sting of being misunderstood inside of myself. So, I still have work to do. But this is MY work, not someone else’s.
When we blame, we are really avoiding doing our own work. Blame worked when you were young, but it doesn’t work in a relationship. Figure out what is happening inside of yourself. I bet you got hurt and you don’t know what to do about it.
Doing the Work Helps You Move From Blame to Connection
But yelling and blaming someone is a dead end. And I think you already know this. Blaming means that the ball is never in your court. You just get lost.
Blaming is a reaction to pain that we carry around inside of us. Take some time to understand yourself. If you got hurt, you got hurt. Tell your partner that what they said hurt you. They might be surprised, but I assure you if they love you, they will make amends and say, “I am sorry.”
And those simple words can make all the difference in how we evolve.
Tired of Blame in Your Relationship?
Read a Book About Relationships
Get a helping hand with reducing blame in your relationship, by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you better communicate your needs and for each of you to better take responsibility for individual contributions you make to your relationship. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.