Does your husband or wife blame you for everything?
Listen closely: you are not to blame.
At least, blame is not the right way to describe it.
Naturally, there may be some things that are partly your responsibility. Some actions you took (or didn’t take), some words you spoke, some treatment of your spouse.
You are human after all.
But blame and responsibility are two very different things.
If your partner blames you for all things, all of the time, that’s a very inaccurate picture of the situation.
Let’s explore why they may try to pin the blame on you every time, and then discuss what you can do about it.
First, they may blame you because…
1. They are stressed.
Life is stressful in many ways: work, relationships, family, health, and financial to name but a few.
If your partner has been experiencing a lot of stress recently, or they simply get stressed easily, they may look for a way to express their anxiety and frustration.
That expression could take the form of blame.
They may see things that are going wrong or challenges that seem too hard to face, and they may blame you for them.
Related article: 12 Tips For Dealing With A Stressed Partner And Helping Them Relax
2. They have low self-esteem.
A person with low self-esteem doesn’t particularly like themselves.
Unfortunately, this dislike can often permeate into their relationships.
They may be struggling with their emotions and with life in general, but they feel unable to ask for help.
Instead, they point the finger of blame at anyone who is present. As their spouse, that means you much of the time.
As with stress, you become an outlet for their difficult thoughts and feelings.
Related article: 6 Signs Your Man Has Low Self-Esteem (+ 5 Ways You Can Help Him)
3. They don’t want to change.
Accepting responsibility for their actions means facing up to the possibility that they need to change.
And change is scary for many people, especially when that change involves your own behavior.
It is far easier not to change. So to justify not addressing their own shortcomings, they shift them onto you.
Suddenly, since everything is your fault, they are no longer required to put in the hard work – and it is hard work – to change how they are and who they are.
4. They are a narcissist.
Some estimates put the number of people who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder at 6.2% of the population.
And narcissists find it almost impossible to accept any kind of responsibility for things that go wrong.
They cannot admit they are wrong because it would shatter the fragile view they hold of themselves as perfect beings.
Narcissists will always seek to blame someone else for anything they do wrong or anything that goes wrong.
If you are married to one, that person will be you most of the time.
5. They are a controlling perfectionist.
Some people have a very exact view on how things should be done.
They are perfectionists who can’t tolerate when something is done differently to how they would like.
And so they often become controlling in their behavior, expecting others around them to bend to their will.
Only, it’s impossible to live up to their standards.
The result: blame.
They blame you for not being the perfect person they wish you to be. The perfect person that they are.
Every time you deviate from their expectation of perfection, you get blamed.
6. They are unhappy in the marriage.
If blame is something that has slowly crept into your relationship and that has now reached a peak, it might be that your spouse isn’t happy in the marriage.
And they may see you as the principle reason why they are unhappy.
And so they begin to blame you for everything. You become the focus of their discontent.
Rather than try to talk to you and work through the problems in your marriage, they look for the easy way out.
They pile on the blame in the hope that it pushes you away and ends the marriage.
That way, if you end up getting divorced, it’s your fault, not theirs.
7. They resent you for something.
A separate part of being unhappy in a relationship is a feeling of resentment toward your partner.
They believe you did something that has made their life or your relationship worse.
Even if you both agreed on it, they see you as the primary instigator of whatever that thing was.
Perhaps it was moving to a new city, having children, or even getting married in the first place.
If they feel these changes have not worked out in their favor, or if they are struggling to cope with their new situation, they might blame you for it.
And they don’t just blame you for the big change that occurred, but for everything else that came with it – including their unhappiness.
8. They learned to blame from their parents.
Children are like sponges – they soak up everything they see and hear.
In the case of unhealthy relationship patterns, a child might grow up believing that these are the norm.
If all they ever saw was one parent blaming the other – or both parents blaming each other – they might replicate this behavior in their own relationships.
It starts out as an instinct based upon their childhood, and it quickly develops into a habit that they do without really thinking.
9. They regret something they did.
Sometimes, when a person does something they are not proud of or regret in some way, they project those feelings onto others.
In other words, rather than face up to the regret or guilt, they make it seem like someone else has reason to feel regret or guilt in their place.
This manifests as blame.
Rather than take the blame for something they did, they find a way to blame you for something you did.
These things might be related, or they might not.
10. They feel burdened with responsibility.
Some people may feel like they are taking on a lot of responsibility – more than their fair share in a relationship.
This may or may not be an accurate reflection of the situation. It doesn’t really matter; they see it is as being the case.
So, when something goes wrong – and things do go wrong in life – they feel like they didn’t have enough support and that’s why it went wrong.
Your partner may blame you for their mistakes because you “should have” stopped them from making them.
You should have helped them make a better decision or to carry the burden of a task.
Of course, it doesn’t matter if you already take on much of the responsibility, they still expect you to help them.
This is quite common in people who are emotionally immature and/or who can’t look after themselves as an adult.
You may also like (article continues below):
- 5 Reasons Why People Blame Others (+ How To Stop It)
- Why Some People Never Apologize Or Admit They Are Wrong (And How To Deal With Them)
- 25 No Bullsh*t Signs Your Husband Just Doesn’t Love You Anymore
- 16 Ways To Get Your Marriage Back On Track
- If You’re Married And Lonely, Here’s What You Need To Do
How To Deal With A Spouse Who Blames You For Everything
Whilst it can be helpful to identify the core reasons why your partner blames you for things, what you are really looking for is some advice on how to handle the situation.
Let’s look at some of the steps you will have to take.
1. Be patient.
Even if your goal is to reach a point where your spouse doesn’t blame you all the time, you can’t expect to get there quickly.
Understand that, for them, blame is a tool that they use to deal with the challenges they face both in your relationship and in a wider context.
It has become a coping mechanism – no matter how unhealthy.
If you try to get them to go cold turkey on blame, you take away a method that they use to self-soothe.
As a result, they may turn to other tools such as anger or withdrawal which are potentially even more damaging.
Take things slowly, one day at a time, and focus on the improvements they make, even if they sometimes seem to take two steps forwards, one step back.
2. Don’t fight blame with blame.
When you truly believe that something you’re being blamed for isn’t your fault, it can feel right to turn the blame back on the other person.
But escalation of this sort is rarely a good move.
Your spouse is not going to suddenly stop and say, “Actually, you are right, I am to blame.”
Instead, they will get defensive and angry.
They will accuse you of trying to wriggle out of it, to shirk responsibility – even if that’s exactly what they are doing in the first place.
3. Use neutral language upon being blamed.
Instead of blaming your partner back, focus only on how their accusations make you feel.
And avoid saying “you” in any sentence.
Instead, use “I” statements that reflect on their actions without specifically mentioning them.
“I feel hurt and upset by that,” is one example of how you might phrase things.
And as much as you may wish to argue your case, it’s often better to leave it at that.
This isn’t an admission of fault. It’s simply a way for you to express yourself without leading to pointless conflict.
Oh, and don’t apologize for things that aren’t your fault. You don’t need to accept the blame by saying sorry when there really isn’t anything to feel sorry about.
4. Approach marriage counselling carefully.
When a marriage hit the rocks, it might seem natural to turn to counselling as a couple.
But you must be careful about how you go about it.
Firstly, when suggesting counselling, talk about how you wish to rebuild your relationship and the positives that might come of it.
Mention how you would like to learn better ways to communicate and find out if there is anything else you can do to make the marriage work better.
Be humble, admit that you have flaws, and say that you want to address them.
Don’t pitch counselling as a way to apportion blame – this implies that they are to blame for some of the problems you face.
They will not take kindly to this and will probably resist counselling altogether.
Secondly, during counselling, you must continue to be tactful in how you express yourself.
Even if you believe that their actions are a large part of the problem, it’s better to maintain your “I” not “you” approach.
“I feel a lot of pressure to get things right.”
“I feel overwhelmed by all the things on my plate.”
“I’m not sure of the best ways to help him/her with the stress in his/her life.”
“I don’t feel able to live up to the expectations placed upon me.”
“I would like to learn how to better manage conflict.”
By being willing to show vulnerability and fallibility, you will hopefully encourage your partner to drop their guard slightly too.
A good counselor can then carefully and calmly explore the issues – not just the blame – and help you work on them.
5. Consider separate counselling too.
If it is feasible, it might be worth looking into individual counselling to help you both come to terms with the relationship and your own issues.
Your spouse might feel more able to explore their tendency to blame others (i.e. you) with a mental health professional than with you or a couples therapist.
And you might also benefit from some form of therapy in terms of your assertiveness, boundary setting, self-confidence, or anything else.
It might certainly help persuade them to seek help if you are doing the same. They won’t feel like it is only they who needs to make changes – thus avoiding inferring that they are to blame.
6. Show them respect and regain their respect.
Respect is essential in any relationship, and by blaming you for everything, your partner is failing to show you any.
But that’s no reason to stop respecting them in return. That sort of tit-for-tat mindset only leads to greater conflict and ill-feeling.
By continuing to treat your spouse with respect, you are showing them the type of person you are. You are not stooping to their level.
And, in fact, being respectful toward them can earn you their respect in return.
It’s one of several ways in which you can win back the respect you once had from them.
To learn some more ways, read our article: How To Get People To Respect You: 7 No Bullsh*t Tips That Actually Work
7. Recognize the signs of emotional abuse.
Persistent blaming of a partner is one sign of emotional abuse, but it’s far from the most harmful.
It is worth looking for the other potential signs that indicate a more serious case of abuse.
Rather than list them here, we recommend you read this article on Medical News Today which discusses all of the major indicators.
Where emotional abuse is present in its many different forms, you have to be honest with yourself about whether this marriage is worth fighting for.
As seriously as you may take your wedding vows, there are circumstances in which separation and then divorce are justified and reasonable.