The worst game to play in relationships is the Blame Game. Taking ownership of our individual roles and experiences is vital for relationship success. When we own our parts, of the dynamics, good and bad, it demonstrates a level of authenticity and vulnerability that gives room for your partner to be more open and honest with you.
It’s important to name the major difference in taking ownership versus accepting misplaced blame. Those are in no way the same thing. Taking responsibility doesn’t mean shouldering all of the blame for things that are not your fault. On one hand, some people may constantly project blame in hopes of hearing their partner say “it’s my fault”. On the flip side, there are some people who frequently take responsibility for things that aren’t their fault as a way to cope with the uneasiness of being in conflict. It’s helpful to know where you fall, because either way, making excuses for your or your partner’s behavior is not always healthy.
Taking ownership requires practice. Below are some tips to help and may make your relationship stronger.
- Be Honest with yourself. Being honest with yourself begins with a strong level of self-reflection and self-awareness. Acknowledging that what you say and do impacts your partner is key to self-awareness. Relationships are never one-sided. Every action elicits a certain reaction, and that awareness is very helpful.
- Be Active, not Reactive. Oftentimes when people are held accountable for their behaviors, they react and more than likely it’s defensively. It can be hard to think from your partner’s perspective in the moment. Pausing to take some deep breaths or even counting to ten can be very helpful. Slowing it down helps you process the situation with clarity and awareness, allowing space to act on the situation and not just react.
- Recognize the disconnect in Communication. When communication breaks down, hard can move into impossibly difficult. Recognize the disconnect in communication and be proactive about reconnecting. Be transparent about how you’re feeling and your actions. Ask sincere questions to genuinely understand each other’s perspectives. Taking responsibility requires honest and open communication.
- Be willing to Forgive. View the practice of taking ownership as an opportunity to be forgiving towards yourself and your partner. This helps with moving past challenges and will make your relationship stronger. Forgiveness builds trust and accountability, helps to limit resentment, and stops the “blame game” from being played.
Taking ownership and accepting responsibilities in a relationship enhances trust and dependability.It helps to be able to control what you are responsible for and have the scope to handle. It also helps to ensure you learn compassion and empathy towards your partner.
Sabrina Roc, MS, LGMFT provides individual, couple, and family therapy in our downtown Bethesda, MD office and virtually to those located in Maryland. Call or email today to set up your first appointment or a complimentary consultation with Sabrina!