Did you ever wonder why we blame other people for things that happen in our own lives? Did you ever wonder why it seems so effortless to blame our partner for our own unhappiness?
Did you know that understanding the roots of blaming is the key to healing your relationship? Behind every blaming statement there is an unmet need that you have. If your partner is blaming you for something, he or she has an unmet need wanting to be heard.
For instance Carrie was furious with David because he was always online and never seemed to be engaged with her in the evenings. She blamed him for their lack of closeness. Even though there was an element of truth in her complaint, her anger drove him further and further away. Her unmet need was for safety because of her deep fear of abandonment. Through counseling she learned to be aware and acknowledge her deep need for connection and the way she was blaming David out of her fear. Expressing this need to him in a loving and non blaming way brought them closer. This “softening” allows them to begin to heal and repair their interactions. It also allowed David to admit to his fear of her anger and his need to protect himself by distancing from her.
These are two very basic strategies that couples use to deal with the fear that arises when there is not a safe connection in relationship. The first is to be caught in fear of abandonment and demand responsiveness by blaming. As with Carrie and David this often backfires and pushes the other away. The second tactic is to numb out feelings and needs and to avoid engagement with the other by withdrawing.
It takes real courage to turn to your partner and ask for what you need. This takes incredible strength. As noted marriage researcher, Sue Johnson says, You ask for the emotional support and reassurance you need. Each time you can do this and your partner can respond you are building a safe haven relationship that no amount of outside stress can destroy. We know that when partners can do this they are stronger and more confident as individuals and they create stronger more loving bonds