When couples come in for counseling they generally present with a list of problems they have been having with each other. It is my job to wade through all the he said, she said and help people explore the underlying hurts and fears that are behind their actions. Most of the negative behaviors in a relationship and complaints couples have about each other are symptoms that are a result of deep underlying hurts and fears that are not being addressed or communicated.
One major symptom of a troubled relationship is blaming. Often times in a relationship where one does not feel heard, valued, or understood, it can feel like one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences don’t matter. Sometimes in the healthiest of relationships it can seem like a huge burden to have to talk with your partner about difficulties in the relationship. These feelings can lead people to suppress their emotions rather than communicating them with their partners.
I often find myself talking with clients about the human need to express emotions. We all have a deep innate need to express ourselves and be heard. When that does not happen we don’t thrive, and all kinds of mental and physical problems can arise. When we try to hold in our emotions, often times they come out in other ways. One of these ways is blaming. Blaming is commonly a symptom of resentment and resentment is the result of not communicating when you’ve been hurt by another person.
Sometimes another person deserves blame. If someone punches you in the face and chips your tooth, that person is at fault for your dental issues. But if you find yourself holding onto that blame long past the issue being resolved, or if you look for someone to blame, or quickly jump to blaming, it may be time for you to look at what you are really hurt about and think about ways to talk about those hurts. Therapy can help in these times, by helping you to express suppressed emotions and underlying hurts that have not been addressed.