Keeping your cool can keep the conflict from escalating.

How to Live With a Partner Who Blames You for Everything That Goes Wrong in Your Relationship

by Elise Wile

If your partner is blaming you for everything -- from the too-small apartment you share to his poor credit rating, you're probably fed up. Not to mention that you're tired of trying to defend yourself while you wonder how you're going to live with a guy who seems incapable of seeing his own role in the conflict you both have. Take a step away from the situation to gain perspective and the coping skills that will help you.

1. Disengage From Conflict

It's a familiar scenario: You and your boyfriend disagree on where to go for dinner, so you don't go out at all. Then, your partner says, "You always argue and mess up our plans," even though you were under the impression you were both having a discussion. At this point, fire may be about to come out of your ears, but it's best to take a deep breath and say, "I'm sorry we couldn't agree. I love you," and find a good book to read. Once an argument goes down the blaming path, it is almost impossible to resolve, says psychologist Lisa Firestone in the "Psychology Today" article, "Stop the Blame Game in Your Relationship."

2. Give Him Space to Calm Down

When an argument starts, a rush of critical thoughts enter the head "like a roaring freight train," notes Firestone. Since his blaming behavior triggers your own anger, it's best to leave the room and give him some space to cool off. That way, his aggravation over having missed the football game once again "because of your stupid meetings" will have a chance to die down. Once he's chilled out a bit, you can both sit down and discuss the issue calmly if anything remains to discuss.

3. View Him Through Compassionate Eyes

People who play the blame game have reasons for doing so. Your partner may be afraid to connect to you through true openness, says psychologist and relationship expert Margaret Paul in the "Your Tango" article, "Relationships: Why Do You Attack and Blame?" This fear of rejection can lead him to be more argumentative. The blaming behavior could also be the result of low self-esteem, anxiety or fear, says Paul. Although you needn't excuse the behavior, looking at him compassionately can make it easier to share your life with him.

4. Consider Relationship Counseling

An entrenched pattern of blaming can be difficult to change, and if he's not interested, you may grow tired of taking the brunt of the responsibility for every conflict. Consider seeking out a psychologist who specializes in relationship issues to help you both sort through the blame issues and learn how to communicate more effectively. The investment will be well worth it once the two of you have learned to resolve conflict without getting onto the hamster's wheel of blame and shame.

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